Jefferson, Thomas (1743–1826)

President of the United States from 1801 to 1808 and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was also a passionate intellectual, accomplished scholar, philosopher, scientist, agronomist, musician, polymath, man of letters, and geographer. In addition to his accomplishments as president, ambassador to France, and founder of the University of Virginia, Jefferson maintained an active interest in the geography of North America, particularly as it pertained to its exploration and potential settlement. Along with Jedediah Morse, he is sometimes called one of the founders of American geography.

Jefferson's interests were both intellectual and pragmatic. He was fascinated by many things geographical, including maps and the accurate measurement of Earth's surface, mountains and geomorphology, climate and weather, and agricultural land use. As president, he directed his ...

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