United States fifty-dollar bill
The United States fifty-dollar bill is a denomination of United States currency. The 18th U. S. President, Ulysses S. Grant, is featured on the obverse, while the U. S. Capitol is featured on the reverse. All current-issue $50 bills are Federal Reserve Notes; as of December 2013, the average life of a $50 bill in circulation is 8.5 years, or 102 months, before it is replaced due to wear. 6% of all notes printed in 2009 were $50 bills. They are delivered by Federal Reserve Banks in brown straps. 1861: Three-year $50 Interest Bearing Notes were issued that paid a cent of interest per day, thus 7.3% annually — the so-called seven-thirties. These notes were not designed to circulate and were payable to the original purchaser of the dollar bill; the obverse of the note featured a bald eagle. 1862: The first circulating $50 bill was issued. 1863: Both one and two-year Interest Bearing Notes were issued that paid 5% interest. The one-year Interest Bearing Notes featured a vignette of Alexander Hamilton to the left and an allegorical figure representing loyalty to the right.
The two-year notes featured allegorical figures of justice. 1864: Compound Interest Treasury Notes were issued, intended to circulate for three years and paying 6% interest compounded semi-annually. The obverse is similar to the Series of 1863 one-year Interest Bearing Note. 1865: Three-year Interest Bearing Notes were issued again with a different bald eagle and border design on the obverse. 1869: A new $50 United States Note was issued with a portrait of Henry Clay on the right and an allegorical figure holding a laurel branch on the left of the obverse. 1870: $50 National Gold Bank Notes were issued for payment in gold coin by 2 national gold banks. The obverse featured vignettes of George Washington crossing the Delaware River and at Valley Forge. S. gold coins. 1874: Another new $50 United States Note was issued with a portrait of Benjamin Franklin on the left and allegorical figure of Lady Liberty on the right of the obverse. 1878: The first $50 silver certificate was issued with a portrait of Edward Everett.
The reverse was printed in black ink. 1880: The Series of 1878 Silver Certificate was revised. 1882: The first $50 Gold Certificate with a portrait of Silas Wright was issued. The reverse was featured a bald eagle perched atop an American flag. 1891: The obverse of the $50 Silver Certificate was revised and the reverse was changed. 1891: The $50 Treasury or "Coin Note" was issued and given for government purchases of silver bullion from the silver mining industry. The note featured a portrait of William H. Seward. 1913: A new $50 Gold Certificate with a portrait of Ulysses Grant was issued. The style of the area below Grant's portrait was used on small-sized notes. 1914: The first $50 Federal Reserve Note was issued with a portrait of Ulysses Grant on the obverse and an allegorical figure of Panama between a merchant and battle ship on the reverse. 1918: Federal Reserve Bank Notes were issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis. The obverse was similar to the 1914 Federal Reserve Notes, except for large wording in the middle of the bill and a portrait with no border on the left side of the bill.
The note could only be redeemed there. 1929: Under the Series of 1928, all U. S. currency was changed to its current size. All variations of the $50 bill would carry the same portrait of Ulysses S. Grant, same border design on the obverse, the same reverse with a vignette of the U. S. Capitol showing the east front; the $50 bill was issued as a Federal Reserve Note with a green seal and serial numbers and as a Gold Certificate with a golden seal and serial numbers. 1933: As an emergency response to the Great Depression, additional money was pumped into the American economy through Federal Reserve Bank Notes issued under Series of 1929. This was the only small-sized $50 bill; the serial numbers and seal on it were brown. 1934: The redeemable in gold clause was removed from Federal Reserve Notes due to the U. S. withdrawing from the gold standard. 1950: Many minor aspects on the obverse of the $50 Federal Reserve Note were changed. Most noticeably, the treasury seal, gray word FIFTY, the Federal Reserve Seal were made smaller.
1966: WILL PAY TO THE BEARER ON DEMAND was removed from the obverse and IN GOD WE TRUST was added to the reverse of the $50 Federal Reserve Note beginning with Series 1963A. The obligation was shortened to its current wording, THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS PUBLIC AND PRIVATE. 1969: The $50 bill began using the new treasury seal with wording in English instead of Latin. 1991: The first new-age anti-counterfeiting measures were introduced under Series 1990 with microscopic printing around Grant's portrait and a plastic security strip on the left side of the bill. Though the bills read Series 1990, the first bills were printed in November 1991. October 27, 1997: Major design changes were implemented under Series 1996 to further deter counterfeiters. Included were an enlarged and off-center portrait, an enlarged and updated view of the U. S. Capitol now showing the west front on the reverse, a security thread which glows yellow under ultraviolet light, a numeric 50 which shifts color from black to green when tilted, a watermark of Grant.
For those with vision limitations, a large dark 50 was added to the bottom left corner of the reverse. The Federal Reserve seal was changed to
A gold certificate in general is a certificate of ownership that gold owners hold instead of storing the actual gold. It has both a historic meaning as a U. S. paper currency and a current meaning as a way to invest in gold. Banks may issue gold certificates for gold, allocated or unallocated. Unallocated gold certificates are a form of fractional-reserve banking and do not guarantee an equal exchange for metal in the event of a run on the issuing bank's gold on deposit. Allocated gold certificates should be correlated with specific numbered bars, although it is difficult to determine whether a bank is improperly allocating a single bar to more than one party; the gold certificate was used from 1863 to 1933 in the United States as a form of paper currency. Each certificate gave its holder title to a corresponding amount of gold coin at the statutory rate of $20.67 per troy ounce established by the Coinage Act of 1834. Therefore, this type of paper currency was intended to represent actual gold coinage.
In 1933 the practice of redeeming these notes for gold coins was ended by the U. S. government and until 1964 it was illegal to possess these notes. After the gold recall in 1933, gold certificates were withdrawn from circulation; as noted above, it was illegal to own them. That fact, public fear that the notes would be devalued and made obsolete, resulted in the majority of circulating notes being retired. In general, the notes are scarce and valuable examples in "new" condition; the early history of United States gold certificates is somewhat hazy. They were authorized under the Act of 3 March 1863, but unlike the United States Notes authorized, they were not printed until 1865, they did not have a series date, were hand-dated upon issue. "Issue" meant that the government took in the equivalent value in gold, the first several series of gold certificates promised to pay the amount only to the depositor, explicitly identified on the certificate itself. The first issue featured a vignette of an eagle uniformly across all denominations.
Several issues featured various portraits of historical figures. The reverse sides featured abstract designs; the only exception was the $20 of 1865. From 1862 to 1879, United States Notes were legal tender and the dominant paper currency but were not convertible at face value into gold and traded at a discount; however some transactions, such as customs duties and interest on the federal debt, were required to be made in gold. Thus the early gold certificates were acceptable in some transactions where United States Notes were not, but were not used in general circulation due to their premium value. After 1879, the government was willing to redeem United States Notes at face value in gold, bringing the United States Notes into parity with gold certificates, making the latter a candidate for general circulation; the Series of 1882 was the first series, payable to the bearer. This was the case with all gold certificate series from that point on, with the exception of 1888, 1900, 1934; the series of 1888 and 1900 were issued to specific depositors, as before.
The series of 1882 had the same portraits as the series of 1875, but a different back design, featuring a series of eagles, as well as complex border work. Gold certificates, along with all other U. S. currency, were made in two sizes—a larger size from 1865 to 1928, a smaller size from 1928 to 1934. The backs of all large-sized notes and the small-sized notes of the Series of 1934 were orange, resulting in the nickname "goldbacks"; the backs of the Series of 1928 bills were green, identical to the corresponding denomination of the more familiar Federal Reserve Notes, including the usual buildings on the $10 through $100 designs and the less-known abstract designs of denominations $500 and up. With the 1934 issue, the promise to pay was amended with the phrase "as authorized by law", as redemption was now restricted to only certain entities; the phrase "in gold coin" was changed to "in gold" as the physical amount of gold represented would vary with changes in the government price. Both large and small size gold certificates feature a gold treasury seal on the obverse, just as U.
S. Notes feature a red seal, silver certificates a blue seal, Federal Reserve Notes a green seal. Another interesting note is the Series of 1900. Along with the $5,000 and $10,000 of the Series of 1888, all 1900 bills have been redeemed, no longer have legal tender status. Most were destroyed, with the exception of a number of 1900 $10,000 bills that were in a box in a post office near the U. S. Treasury in Washington, D. C. There was a fire on 13 December 1935, employees threw burning boxes out into the street; the box of canceled high-denomination currency burst open. Much to everyone's dismay, they were worthless. There are several hundred outstanding, their ownership is technically illegal, as they are stolen property. However, due to their lack of intrinsic value, the government has not prosecuted any owners, citing more important concerns, they carry a collector value in the numismatic market and, as noted in Bowers and Sundermans' The 100 Greatest American Currency Notes, the only United States notes that can be purchased for less than their face value.
This is the only example of "circulating" U. S. cu
Executive Order 6102
Executive Order 6102 is a United States presidential executive order signed on April 5, 1933, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt "forbidding the Hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, gold certificates within the continental United States"; the order was made under the authority of the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, as amended by the Emergency Banking Act the previous month. The limitation on gold ownership in the U. S. was repealed after President Gerald Ford signed a bill legalizing private ownership of gold coins and certificates by an act of Congress codified in Pub. L. 93–373 which went into effect December 31, 1974. The stated reason for the order was that hard times had caused "hoarding" of gold, stalling economic growth and making the depression worse; the New York Times, on April 6, 1933, p. 16, wrote under the headline "Hoarding of Gold", "The Executive Order issued by the President yesterday amplifies and particularizes his earlier warnings against hoarding. On March 6, taking advantage of a wartime statute that had not been repealed, he issued Presidential Proclamation 2039 that forbade the hoarding'of gold or silver coin or bullion or currency', under penalty of $10,000 and/or up to five to ten years imprisonment."The main rationale behind the order was to remove the constraint on the Federal Reserve which prevented it from increasing the money supply during the depression.
By the late 1920s, the Federal Reserve had hit the limit of allowable credit that could be backed by the gold in its possession. Executive Order 6102 required all persons to deliver on or before May 1, 1933, all but a small amount of gold coin, gold bullion, gold certificates owned by them to the Federal Reserve, in exchange for $20.67 per troy ounce. Under the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, as amended by the passed Emergency Banking Act of March 9, 1933, violation of the order was punishable by fine up to $10,000 or up to ten years in prison, or both. Order 6102 exempted "customary use in industry, profession or art", a provision that covered artists, jewelers and sign makers among others; the order further permitted any person to own up to $100 in gold coins. The same paragraph exempted "gold coins having recognized special value to collectors of rare and unusual coins"; that protected recognized gold coin collections from legal seizure and melting. The price of gold from the Treasury for international transactions was raised by the Gold Reserve Act to $35 an ounce.
The resulting profit that the government realized funded the Exchange Stabilization Fund established by the Gold Reserve Act in 1934. The regulations prescribed within Executive Order 6102 were modified by Executive Order 6111 of April 20, 1933, both of which were revoked and superseded by Executive Orders 6260 and 6261 of August 28 and 29, 1933, respectively. Executive Order 6102 led to the extreme rarity of the 1933 Double Eagle gold coin; the order caused all gold coin production to cease and all 1933 minted coins to be destroyed. About 20 illegal coins were stolen, leading to a standing United States Secret Service warrant for arrest and confiscation of the coin. A legalized surviving coin sold for over $7.5 million in 2002, making it one of the most valuable coins in the world. Numerous individuals and companies were prosecuted related to President Roosevelt's Executive Order 6102; the prosecutions took place under subsequent Executive Orders 6111, 6260, 6261 and the Gold Reserve Act of 1934.
There was a need to strengthen Executive Order 6102, as the one prosecution under the order was ruled invalid by federal judge John M. Woolsey, on the grounds that the order was signed by the President, not the Secretary of the Treasury as required; the circumstances of the case were that a New York attorney named Frederick Barber Campbell had one deposit at Chase National Bank of over 5,000 troy ounces of gold. When Campbell attempted to withdraw the gold, Chase refused, Campbell sued Chase. A federal prosecutor indicted Campbell on the following day for failing to surrender his gold; the prosecution of Campbell failed, but the authority of the federal government to seize gold was upheld, Campbell's gold was confiscated. The case was cause for the Roosevelt administration to issue a new order under the signature of the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr. Executive Orders 6260, 6261, related to the seizure of gold and the prosecution of gold hoarders. A few months Congress passed the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 which ratified President Roosevelt's orders.
A new set of Treasury regulations was issued providing civil penalties of confiscation of all gold and imposition of fines equal to double the value of the gold seized. Prosecutions of U. S. citizens and non-citizens followed the new orders, with a few notable cases: Gus Farber, a diamond and jewelry merchant from San Francisco, was prosecuted for the sale of thirteen $20 gold coins without a license. Secret Service agents discovered the sale with the help of the buyer. Farber, his father, 12 others were arrested in four American cities after a sting operation conducted by the United States Secret Service; the arrests took place in New York and three California cities, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland. Morris Anolik was arrested in New York with $5,000 in U. S. and foreign gold coins.
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is one of twelve regional Reserve Banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D. C. make up the nation's central bank. The Chicago Reserve Bank serves the Seventh Federal Reserve District, which encompasses the northern portions of Illinois and Indiana, southern Wisconsin, the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, the state of Iowa. In addition to participation in the formulation of monetary policy, each Reserve Bank supervises member banks and bank holding companies, provides financial services to depository institutions and the U. S. government, monitors economic conditions in its District. As one of the Reserve Banks that make up the Federal Reserve System, the Chicago Fed is responsible for: Helping to formulate national monetary policy; the Chicago Fed's CEO, Charles L. Evans, helps formulate monetary policy by taking part and voting in meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee. Providing financial services such as cash, check clearing and electronic payment processing.
Each day the Federal Reserve System processes millions of payments in the form of both paper checks and electronic transfers. These payments services are offered to institutions in the Seventh District on a fee basis; because of a nationwide reduction in the use of checking instruments, the Chicago Fed and most other Reserve Banks ceased processing paper checks on November 17, 2009 and electronic checks in 2010. Items routed to this facility are now routed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Supervising and regulating state-chartered banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System, bank holding companies, financial holding companies; these organizations are located within the Seventh Federal Reserve District. Charles L. Evans is the president of the Chicago Fed, he took office on September 1, 2007 as the ninth president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Ellen Bromagen is first chief operating officer of the Chicago Fed.
The Chicago Fed annually co-hosts in Chicago an international banking conference to examine cross-national banking and finance issues. The bank's Money Museum is free and open to the public year-round from 8:30am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, except on Bank holidays. All visitors must show a photo identification, walk through a metal detector and have their bags x-rayed before entering the Money Museum. No food or drink are allowed in the museum. A presentation lasting 45 minutes is available at 1pm on Monday through Friday, or by appointment; the rest of the Money Museum is accessible at any time during open hours. The museum includes a free kiosk, which takes a guest's picture in front of a million dollars in $100 bills. A million dollars in $1 bills and a million dollars in $20 bills are on display; the museum has been known for giving out bags of shredded money as souvenirs. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Detroit Branch is the only branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; the following people are on the board of directors as of 2016.
Class A directors are elected by member banks to represent member banks. Class B directors are elected by member banks to represent the public. Class C directors are appointed by the board of governors to represent the public. Federal Reserve Act Federal Reserve System Federal Reserve Districts Federal Reserve Branches Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Detroit Branch Structure of the Federal Reserve System Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Facebook Twitter YouTube Historical resources by and about the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, available on FRASER
Large denominations of United States currency
Large denominations of United States currency greater than $100 were circulated by the United States Treasury until 1969. Since U. S. dollar banknotes have only been issued in seven denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100. Large-denomination currency had been used in the United States since the late 18th century; the first $500 note was issued by the Province of North Carolina, authorized by legislation dated May 10, 1780. Virginia followed suit and authorized the printing of $500 and $1,000 notes on October 16, 1780 and $2,000 notes on May 7, 1781. High-denomination treasury notes were issued, for example during the War of 1812. During the American Civil War Confederate currency included $500 and $1,000 notes. During the federal banknote issuing period, the earliest high-denomination notes included three-year Interest-bearing notes of $500, $1,000, $5,000, authorized by Congress on July 17, 1861. In total, 11 different types of U. S. currency were issued in high-denomination notes across nearly 20 different series dates.
The obverse of United States banknotes depict either historical figures, allegorical figures symbolizing significant concepts, or a combination of both. The reverse designs range from abstract scroll-work with ornate denomination identifiers to reproductions of historical art works. Series 1934 gold certificates were issued after the gold standard was repealed and gold was compulsorily confiscated by order of President Franklin Roosevelt on March 9, 1933, thus the series 1934 notes were used only for intragovernmental transactions and were not issued to the public. This series was discontinued in 1940; the series 1928 gold certificate reverse was printed in green. See history of the United States dollar. Although they are still legal tender in the United States, high-denomination bills were last printed on December 27, 1945, discontinued on July 14, 1969, by the Federal Reserve System, due to'lack of use'; the $5,000 and $10,000 disappeared well before then. The Federal Reserve began taking high-denomination currency out of circulation in 1969.
As of May 30, 2009, only 336 $10,000 bills were known to exist. Due to their rarity, collectors pay more than the face value of the bills to acquire them; some are in museums in other parts of the world. For the most part, these bills were used by banks and the federal government for large financial transactions; this was true for gold certificates from 1865 to 1934. However, for the most part, the introduction of an electronic money system has made large-scale cash transactions obsolete; when combined with concerns about counterfeiting and the use of cash in unlawful activities such as the illegal drug trade and money laundering, it is unlikely that the U. S. government will reissue large-denomination currency in the near future, despite the amount of inflation that has occurred since 1969. According to the U. S. Department of Treasury website, "The present denominations of our currency in production are $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100; the purpose of the United States currency system is to serve the needs of the public and these denominations meet that goal.
Neither the Department of the Treasury nor the Federal Reserve System has any plans to change the denominations in use today." The National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution contains the Bureau of Engraving and Printing certified proofs and the Treasury Department collection of United States currency. Using a combination of proofs and issued notes, a nearly complete type set of high-denomination currency was compiled. Notably missing are several types of Compound and Interest Bearing Notes. Printed during the early to mid-1860s on thin paper, these high-denomination notes are non-existent, their issuance predates the BEP's responsibility for U. S. currency, so it is fortunate. Currency of the United States Gold certificate Fake denominations United States two thousand-dollar bill Silver certificate Silver standard Treasury Note Fricke, Pierre. Collecting Confederate Paper Money. Pierre Fricke. ISBN 978-0-9844534-9-8. Friedberg, Arthur L.. Paper Money of the United States: A Complete Illustrated Guide With Valuations.
Coin & Currency Institute. ISBN 978-0-87184-520-7. Retrieved 14 February 2014. Hessler, Gene; the Engraver's Line – An Encyclopedia of Paper Money & Postage Stamp Art. BNR Press. ISBN 0-931960-36-3. Hessler, Gene. U. S. Essay and Specimen Notes. BNR Press. ISBN 0-931960-62-2. Huntoon, Peter W.. United States Large Size National Bank Notes. Society of Paper Money Collectors, Inc. ISBN 0-9648774-1-4. Newman, Eric P.. The Early Paper Money of America. Krause Publications. ISBN 0-89689-326-X. Schwartz, John. Standard Guide to Small-Size U. S. Paper Money – 1928 to Date. Krause Publications. ISBN 978-1-4402-1703-6. Retrieved 14 February 2014. Media related to Money of the United States by face value at Wikimedia Commons Large Denominations from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing U. S. Department of the Treasury
A gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is based on a fixed quantity of gold. Three types can be distinguished: specie and exchange. In the gold specie standard the monetary unit is associated with the value of circulating gold coins, or the monetary unit has the value of a certain circulating gold coin, but other coins may be made of less valuable metal; the gold bullion standard is a system in which gold coins do not circulate, but the authorities agree to sell gold bullion on demand at a fixed price in exchange for the circulating currency. The gold exchange standard does not involve the circulation of gold coins; the main feature of the gold exchange standard is that the government guarantees a fixed exchange rate to the currency of another country that uses a gold standard, regardless of what type of notes or coins are used as a means of exchange. This creates a de facto gold standard, where the value of the means of exchange has a fixed external value in terms of gold, independent of the inherent value of the means of exchange itself.
Most nations abandoned the gold standard as the basis of their monetary systems at some point in the 20th century, although many hold substantial gold reserves. A 2012 survey of leading economists showed that they unanimously reject that a return to the gold standard would benefit the average American; the gold specie standard arose from the widespread acceptance of gold as currency. Various commodities have been used as money. Chemically, gold is of all major metals the one most resistant to corrosion; the use of gold as money began thousands of years ago in Asia Minor. During the early and high Middle Ages, the Byzantine gold solidus known as the bezant, was used throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. However, as the Byzantine Empire's economic influence declined, so too did the use of the bezant. In its place, European territories chose silver as their currency over gold, leading to the development of silver standards. Silver pennies based on the Roman denarius became the staple coin of Mercia in Great Britain around the time of King Offa, circa 757–796 CE.
Similar coins, including Italian denari, French deniers, Spanish dineros, circulated in Europe. Spanish explorers discovered silver deposits in Mexico in 1522 and at Potosí in Bolivia in 1545. International trade came to depend on coins such as the Spanish dollar, the Maria Theresa thaler, the United States trade dollar. In modern times, the British West Indies was one of the first regions to adopt a gold specie standard. Following Queen Anne's proclamation of 1704, the British West Indies gold standard was a de facto gold standard based on the Spanish gold doubloon. In 1717, Sir Isaac Newton, the master of the Royal Mint, established a new mint ratio between silver and gold that had the effect of driving silver out of circulation and putting Britain on a gold standard. A formal gold specie standard was first established in 1821, when Britain adopted it following the introduction of the gold sovereign by the new Royal Mint at Tower Hill in 1816; the United Province of Canada in 1854, Newfoundland in 1865, the United States and Germany in 1873 adopted gold.
The United States used the eagle as its unit, Germany introduced the new gold mark, while Canada adopted a dual system based on both the American gold eagle and the British gold sovereign. Australia and New Zealand adopted the British gold standard, as did the British West Indies, while Newfoundland was the only British Empire territory to introduce its own gold coin. Royal Mint branches were established in Sydney and Perth for the purpose of minting gold sovereigns from Australia's rich gold deposits; the gold specie standard came to an end in the United Kingdom and the rest of the British Empire with the outbreak of World War I. From 1750 to 1870, wars within Europe as well as an ongoing trade deficit with China drained silver from the economies of Western Europe and the United States. Coins were struck in smaller and smaller numbers, there was a proliferation of bank and stock notes used as money. In the 1790s, the United Kingdom suffered a silver shortage, it ceased to mint larger silver coins and instead issued "token" silver coins and overstruck foreign coins.
With the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Bank of England began the massive recoinage programme that created standard gold sovereigns, circulating crowns, half-crowns and copper farthings in 1821. The recoinage of silver after a long drought produced a burst of coins; the United Kingdom struck nearly 40 million shillings between 1816 and 1820, 17 million half crowns and 1.3 million silver crowns. The 1819 Act for the Resumption of Cash Payments set 1823 as the date for resumption of convertibility, reached by 1821. Throughout the 1820s, small notes were issued by regional banks; this was restricted in 1826. In 1833 however, Bank of England notes were made legal tender and redemption by other banks was discouraged. In 1844, the Bank Charter Act established that Bank of England notes were backed by gold and they became the legal standard. According to the strict interpretation of the gold standard, this 1844 act marked the establishment of a full gold standard for British money. In the 1780s, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Morris and Alexander Hamilton recommended to Congress the value of a decimal system.
This system would apply to monies in the United States. The question was what type of standard: silver or both; the United States adopted a silver standard based on the Spanish milled dollar i
Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, lawyer and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801; the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation. Jefferson was of English ancestry and educated in colonial Virginia, he graduated from the College of William & Mary and practiced law, with the largest number of his cases concerning land ownership claims. During the American Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration, drafted the law for religious freedom as a Virginia legislator, served as the 2nd Governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781, during the American Revolutionary War, he became the United States Minister to France in May 1785, subsequently the nation's first secretary of state under President George Washington from 1790 to 1793.
Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the Federalist Party during the formation of the First Party System. With Madison, he anonymously wrote the controversial Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798 and 1799, which sought to strengthen states' rights by nullifying the federal Alien and Sedition Acts; as president, Jefferson pursued the nation's shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and aggressive British trade policies. He organized the Louisiana Purchase doubling the country's territory; as a result of peace negotiations with France, his administration reduced military forces. He was reelected in 1804. Jefferson's second term was beset with difficulties at home, including the trial of former vice president Aaron Burr. American foreign trade was diminished when Jefferson implemented the Embargo Act of 1807, responding to British threats to U. S. shipping. In 1803, Jefferson began a controversial process of Indian tribe removal to the newly organized Louisiana Territory, he signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807.
Jefferson, while a planter and politician, mastered many disciplines, which ranged from surveying and mathematics to horticulture and mechanics. He was an architect in the classical tradition. Jefferson's keen interest in religion and philosophy led to his presidency of the American Philosophical Society. A philologist, Jefferson knew several languages, he corresponded with many prominent people. His only full-length book is Notes on the State of Virginia, considered the most important American book published before 1800. After retiring from public office, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. Although regarded as a leading spokesman for democracy and republicanism in the era of the Enlightenment, Jefferson's historical legacy is mixed; some modern scholarship has been critical of Jefferson's private life, pointing out the contradiction between his ownership of the large numbers of slaves that worked his plantations and his famous declaration that "all men are created equal." Another point of controversy stems from the evidence that after his wife Martha died in 1782, Jefferson fathered children with Martha's half-sister, Sally Hemings, his slave.
Despite this, presidential scholars and historians praise his public achievements, including his advocacy of religious freedom and tolerance in Virginia. Jefferson continues to rank among U. S. presidents. Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, at the family home in Shadwell in the Colony of Virginia, the third of ten children, he was of English, Welsh and was born a British subject. His father Peter Jefferson was a surveyor who died when Jefferson was fourteen. Peter Jefferson moved his family to Tuckahoe Plantation in 1745 upon the death of William Randolph, the plantation's owner and Jefferson's friend, who in his will had named him guardian of his children; the Jeffersons returned to Shadwell in 1752, where Peter died in 1757. Thomas inherited 5,000 acres of land, including Monticello, he assumed full authority over his property at age 21. Jefferson began his childhood education beside the Randolph children with tutors at Tuckahoe. Thomas' father, was self-taught, regretting not having a formal education, he entered Thomas into an English school early, at age five.
In 1752, at age nine, he began attending a local school run by a Scottish Presbyterian minister and began studying the natural world, for which he grew to love. At this time he began studying Latin and French, while learning to ride horses. Thomas read books from his father's modest library, he was taught from 1758 to 1760 by Reverend James Maury near Gordonsville, where he studied history and the classics while boarding with Maury's family. During this period Jefferson came to know and befriended various American Indians, including the famous Cherokee chief, who stopped at Shadwell to visit, on their way to Williamsburg to trade. During the two years Jefferson was with the Maury family, he traveled to Williamsburg and was a guest of Colonel Dandridge, father of Martha Washington. In Williamsburg the young Jefferson met and came to admire Patrick Henry, eight ye