Thomas Jefferson is a two-part portrait of one of the most fascinating and complicated figures ever to walk across America’s public stage – the enigmatic and brilliant third president. Thomas Jefferson embodies within his own life the most profound contradictions of American history: as the author of the Declaration of Independence, he gave voice to the fervent desire for freedom, but he also owned more than 150 human beings and never saw fit to free them.
Jefferson also made himself into a true renaissance man – a scholar, a philosopher, a diplomat, an aesthete, and an architect. As a young man, he was transformed by the fire of the Enlightenment into America’s most articulate voice for human liberty. Torn between his desire for a serene family life at Monticello and his passion for politics, Jefferson endured ceaseless, heartrending personal loss. As President, he helped create the first American political party, and with the Louisiana Purchase, more than doubled the size of the new nation. Jefferson’s last years were spent founding the University of Virginia and reestablishing his friendship, after decades of estrangement, from his onetime rival John Adams. His influence on and vision for our country reverberates to this day.