Jefferson elected to the Continental Congress - HISTORY
Year
1775

Jefferson elected to the Continental Congress

Future President Thomas Jefferson is elected to the second Continental Congress on this day in 1775. Jefferson, a Virginia delegate, quickly established himself in the Continental Congress with the publication of his paper entitled A Summary View of the Rights of British America. Throughout the next year, Jefferson published several more papers, most notably Drafts and Notes on the Virginia Constitution.

In June 1776, Congress put together a committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. After much discussion, the committee chose Jefferson to compose the document. At just 33 years old, Jefferson finished writing his draft of what is considered the most important document in the history of democracy in just a few days. After a few minor changes, the committee submitted the draft, titled A Declaration by the Representatives in General Congress Assembled, to Congress on June 28, 1776. After some debate, the document was formally adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776, under the new title, The Declaration of Independence.

In the following years, Jefferson drafted other historical documents including, in 1777, a bill establishing religious freedom that was formally enacted by Congress in 1786. He served as Virginia’s governor from 1779 to 1781, minister to France from 1784 to 1789 and the first U.S. secretary of state under President George Washington from 1790 to 1793.

Jefferson served as vice president under President John Adams from 1797 to 1801 and afterwards was elected the third president of the United States, a position he held for two terms from 1801 to 1809. After his presidency ended, Jefferson retired from public life to his home, Monticello, in Virginia. Jefferson died on July 4, 1826–50 years to the day after the signing of The Declaration of Independence. He was 83 years old.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Khrushchev becomes Soviet premier

On March 27, 1958, Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev replaces Nicolay Bulganin as Soviet premier, becoming the first leader since Joseph Stalin to simultaneously hold the USSR’s two top offices.Khrushchev, born into a Ukrainian peasant family in 1894, worked as a mine ...read more

Earthquake rocks Alaska

The strongest earthquake in American history, measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale, slams southern Alaska, creating a deadly tsunami. Some 125 people were killed and thousands injured.The massive earthquake had its epicenter in the Prince William Sound, about eight miles northeast ...read more

FDA approves Viagra

On this day in 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves use of the drug Viagra, an oral medication that treats impotence.Sildenafil, the chemical name for Viagra, is an artificial compound that was originally synthesized and studied to treat hypertension (high blood ...read more

Germans launch last of their V-2s

On this day, in a last-ditch effort to deploy their remaining V-2 missiles against the Allies, the Germans launch their long-range rockets from their only remaining launch site, in the Netherlands. Almost 200 civilians in England and Belgium were added to the V-2 casualty ...read more

Bombing of Cambodia to continue

The White House announces that, at the request of Cambodian President Lon Nol, the bombing of Cambodia will continue until communist forces cease military operations and agree to a cease-fire.In March 1970, Lon Nol had overthrown Prince Norodom Sihanouk in a bloodless coup. ...read more

March Madness is born

The University of Oregon defeats The Ohio State University 46–33 on this day in 1939 to win the first-ever NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The Final Four, as the tournament became known, has grown exponentially in size and popularity since 1939. By 2005, college basketball had ...read more

Mexicans execute defenders of Goliad

In a disastrous setback for the Texans resisting Santa Anna’s dictatorial regime, the Mexican army defeats and executes 417 Texas revolutionaries at Goliad.Long accustomed to enjoying considerable autonomy from their Mexican rulers, many Anglo Texan settlers reacted with alarm ...read more

Pattie Boyd and Eric Clapton are married

In early decades of the 20th century, the Viennese beauty Alma Mahler inspired groundbreaking works by a quartet of husbands and lovers drawn from nearly every creative discipline: music (Gustav Mahler); literature (Franz Werfel); art (Oskar Kokoschka); and architecture (Walter ...read more

Poet Louis Simpson born

On this day in 1923, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louis Simpson is born in Jamaica, West Indies.Simpson, of Scottish and Russian descent, was the son of a lawyer. He emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 17 and began studying at Columbia University in New York City. However, World ...read more

Marlon Brando declines Best Actor Oscar

On this day in 1973, the actor Marlon Brando declines the Academy Award for Best Actor for his career-reviving performance in The Godfather. The Native American actress Sacheen Littlefeather attended the ceremony in Brando’s place, stating that the actor “very regretfully” could ...read more

Jumbo jets collide at Canary Islands airport

On this day in 1977, two 747 jumbo jets crash into each other on the runway at an airport in the Canary Islands, killing 582 passengers and crew members.Both Boeing 747s were charter jets that were not supposed to be at the Los Rodeos Airport on Santa Cruz de Tenerife that day. ...read more

TV Marti begins broadcasting to Cuba

The U.S. government begins the operation of TV Marti, which broadcast television programs into communist Cuba. The project marked yet another failed attempt to undermine the regime of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.TV Marti was put together under the auspices of the Voice of America, ...read more

Lincoln, Sherman and Grant meet

On this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln meets with Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman at City Point, Virginia, to plot the last stages of the Civil War.Lincoln went to Virginia just as Grant was preparing to attack Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s ...read more

Toyota founder dies

Kiichiro Toyoda, founder of the Toyota Motor Corporation, which in 2008 surpassed America’s General Motors as the world’s largest automaker, dies at the age of 57 in Japan on this day 1952.Toyoda was born in Japan on June 11, 1894. His father Sakichi Toyoda was an inventor of ...read more