View images of Jefferson, Monticello, and the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1846) was the third president of the United States of America, and served two terms between the years 1801-1809. He was a founding father of the country, and author of the Declaration of Independence. The son of a Virginia planter, Jefferson was educated at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. As president, he created the military academy at West Point; he expanded the size of the country with the Louisiana Purchase, and commissioned Lewis & Clark to explore the western United States.