Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Thomas Jefferson

He drafted the declaration, sparked a revolution and became ensnared in a sex scandal with a slave. A look at the most controversial president.

Mary Evans Picture Library / Everett

The war he had helped launch and justify raged on, the enemy's army had swept through his state capital only hours before and his successor as Virginia's Governor still hadn't been selected by the legislature, but Thomas Jefferson was going home, convinced that his work for America was done. It was the summer of 1781, five years since the July in Philadelphia when the author of the Declaration of Independence had, in two inspired weeks of writing energized by years of thought and study and practical political activity, helped create a new nation with his pen. The course this nation would...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!