Jefferson’s widowed mother deeds him a dozen enslaved workers and their children in payment for her debts to him.
In this section, we feature a small selection of documents from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, sorted by historical themes and subjects. Each document links to the transcription and annotations from our volumes, publicly available for free on Founders Online.
Accurate transcriptions and clear annotation help a reader to make sense of a document and to understand it in its historical context. For common abbreviations and repository symbols used, see the summary of our editorial method.
Editor Julian P. Boyd noted the "transcendent importance of this charter of national liberties," the most famous document drafted by Jefferson.
A newly widowed Jefferson grapples with grief.
Jefferson’s sister reports about her travels, education plans for Peter Carr, reports on Jefferson’s daughters, and announces she has become a grandmother.
Jefferson’s sister-in-law relays the tragic news to Jefferson in Paris of the death of his daughter Lucy.
Jefferson comments on his Notes on the State of Virginia and expresses views on Native Americans and Blacks.
Jefferson declares that “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing” but stresses the importance of maintaining a unity of interests between the eastern and western parts of the United States.
Jefferson in Paris reacts to news of Shays Rebellion in Massachusetts by declaring “I like a little rebellion now and then.”
Jefferson’s description and sketch of a macaroni press.
Writing to James Madison from Paris, Jefferson presents a detailed argument that “the earth belongs always to the living generation.”