Study Guide

Thomas Jefferson Monticello, University of Virginia & Death

Monticello, University of Virginia & Death

By the time he'd made it back home, Jefferson's personal life was in shambles. His fields were suffering from poor management. His finances had been destroyed by his lavish lifestyle and unpaid debts. His house was perpetually being rebuilt. And Jefferson's family was mostly dead; of the six children born him by his wife, only Patsy, his eldest daughter, survived. It could not have been an easy home to return to.

Nevertheless we know that Jefferson thrilled at returning. He finally had the opportunity to live the life he'd always wanted. And that life was a life of ideas. Ever since he had first gone off to the College of William & Mary, Jefferson thought of himself as an intellectual. He was a lover of books, an amateur naturalist, and a parlor political theorist. He loved thinking—whether about the future of the American people, the natural order of the world, or the ideal shape of government. In his rooms, he kept portraits of the "three greatest men the world has ever produced"—three thinkers, the scientist Isaac Newton, the philosopher of science Francis Bacon, and the political philosopher John Locke.blank">Monticello. His possessions, including most of his slaves, were sold at auction to pay for his debts.

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