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Thomas Jefferson - with Periodic Presidents 

A man of science, Jefferson loved to learn and took every opportunity to gain knowledge that could enrich his life. He was always ready to accept new discoveries and adopt new theories, even when they might contradict his own beliefs. He believed that inventions were the ultimate practical application of scientific discoveries for the good of man. After all, knowledge should have some practical application. To this end Jefferson's practical innovations or improvements on others inventions included: the swivel chair, the polygraph, letter press, pedometer, moldboard plow, folding chair, dumb-waiter, double acting doors, a seven day clock, and a wind vane on the eastern side of Monticello that allowed him to see what direction the wind was blowing even in the rain. 

One of his largest accomplishments as president was the acquisition  of the Louisiana Territory from France. Adding 828,000 square miles of land to the young country almost doubled its size. He was so interested in the west that he sent Lewis and Clark to explore the new territory. He gave them specific instructions to record and collect: fossils, specimens, Indian vocabularies, flora, fauna, mineral specimens, make topographical maps, chart waterways and observe Indian cultures. Several artifacts from this expedition are on display at his home in Monticello.

He, personally, saw himself not as Thomas Jefferson the lawyer or farmer or statesman, but as Thomas Jefferson the scientist. Either way, all of his contributions to our young nation helped to shape it into what it is today.

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