Featured Documents

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.

To Joseph Priestley, 18 Jan. 1800

Vol. 31:319–323

Jefferson critiques changes to the College of William and Mary and solicits thoughts on a secular and modern university.

From Thomas McKean, 10 January 1801

Vol. 32:432-436

Jefferson learns of the electoral tie between him and fellow Republican candidate Aaron Burr The selection of the next president will be determined by vote in the House of Representatives.

To William Dunbar, 12 January 1801

Vol. 32:448-449

Jefferson sends to a plantation owner and naturalist in Mississippi his observations on weather and climate, rainbows, and Indian vocabularies.

Reports of Balloting in the House of Representatives, 12 February 1801

Vol. 32:578-581

Jefferson updates his friends in Virginia on the suspenseful electoral impasse after repeated balloting in the House of Representatives Not until the 36th ballot taken five days later did Jefferson know he had been selected the next president of the United States.

From Elizabeth House Trist, 1 March 1801

Vol. 33:115-116

A long-time friend freely communicates her sentiments, offers her opinions on John Adams, and congratulates Jefferson on his election as president.

First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1801

Vol. 33:134-152

Jefferson expresses his political creed in this statement of republican principles with his unifying and conciliatory exhortation, "we are all republicans: we are all federalists".

First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1801

Jefferson expresses his political creed in this statement of republican principles with his unifying and conciliatory exhortation, "we are all republicans: we are all federalists."

From Thomas Cooper, 17 May 1801

Vol. 34:128

Cooper encourages Jefferson to hire Benjamin Latrobe, an architect who will correct the current "tawdry stile" of public architecture.