This book explores the life of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826): first Secretary of State, second Vice President, fifth President of the United States, and a renaissance man of early America. Perhaps best known as the author of the Declaration of Independence, he also drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and wrote Notes on the State of Virginia (1787); as President, he approved the Louisiana Purchase and organized the Lewis and Clark Expedition. he led the effort to organize the University of Virginia, and served as its first rector. But these are merely the highlights of his life. Long hailed as a visionary shaper of American history, Jefferson was a man of his time and place. This biography sets him in context, as a member of the Virginia gentry, an able and skilled lawyer, a talented politician who nonetheless shunned the political spotlight, and the finest writer of his era.