On this day 275 years ago, Thomas Jefferson, the American Founding Father, principal author of the Declaration of Independence and third U.S. President, was born. As a scientist, philosopher, farmer, self-taught architect and inventor, he was especially proud of his three years of legislative work to pass the Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia. He was conversant in French, Greek, Italian, Latin, and Spanish, and founder of the University of Virginia, unique in his time for being centered around a library rather than a church to reinforce the principle of separation of church and state. WATCH the Ken Burns documentary trailer below… (1743)
Jefferson doubled the size of the United States during his presidency, orchestrating the acquisition of the vast Louisiana Territory from France, and sent out the Lewis and Clark Expedition–and later three others–to explore the new west. Though considered the greatest US president, he did have his flaws, one being personal money management, another being slavery. As long as he lived, he expressed opposition to slavery, yet he owned hundreds of slaves to run his 5000 acre farm, and freed only a few of them. Watch longer documentaries about this extraordinary man, here.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- George Frideric Händel’s Messiah performed for the first time in Dublin (1742)
- Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom gained the right to vote and sit in Parliament with the Royal Assent of the Roman Catholic Relief Act (1829)
- The New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded (1870)
- “Let’s Stay Together” soul singer, Al Green, who now preaches as a reverend in a Memphis church, was born (1946)
- UN General Assembly condemned South Africa for apartheid (1961)
- Sidney Poitier became the first black man to win an Oscar for best actor — for Lilies of the Field— after growing up in poverty in the Bahamas and spending his first months in New York sleeping in a bus station men’s room (1964)
- The longest doubles table tennis match ended after 101 hours (1979)
- Harold Washington was elected the first African-American mayor in Chicago’s history (1983)
- Tiger Woods (the first black golfer ever to win a major) became the youngest player ever to win the US Masters Tournament at Augusta, Georgia, leaving his opponents far behind and smashing every record in the book with a margin of 12 strokes (1997)
And on this day in 1967, the spy comedy film Casino Royale hit movie theaters.
Loosely based on the first James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, the satire features Peter Sellers and David Niven both playing 007, who is forced out of retirement to investigate the deaths of international spies with a plan that has six agents pretending to be James Bond. Also starring Orson Welles and Woody Allen, the farce, co-directed by John Huston, was a financial success, grossing over $41.7 million, with a musical score by Burt Bacharach that earned him an Oscar nomination for the song “The Look of Love”. WATCH a trailer…