Few Americans gave as much to our nation as Thomas Jefferson. He wrote the Declaration of Independence. He served as secretary of state, vice president and president. And through the Louisiana Purchase, he added 827,000 square miles of land to the United States, making America a continental nation.

That’s an impressive resume, even for a Founder.

Jefferson was born April 13, 1743, 276 years ago this week. Centuries later, Jefferson’s influence can still be seen in American life and politics. Just ask the 13 states that were formed out of the Louisiana Territory!

Jefferson had plenty to say about friendship, hard work and behavior toward others. Jefferson also had much to say about the role of government.

In letters to friends and family, he gave advice and nuggets of wisdom that is just as relevant now as it was then:

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

“Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.”

“And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.

“When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

On Thomas Jefferson’s 276th birthday, we celebrate the man who shared his vision of liberty and self-governance!

Read more stories of liberty and inspiration from Bridge to Wellbeing.