Image via Unsplash.com- David Trinks

How Thomas Jefferson Permanently Injured Himself Trying To Impress A Woman

The 3rd U.S. President suffered a grotesque injury while trying to look good in front of a lady he was infatuated with

Andrew Martin
5 min readAug 16, 2023

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Third U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson, remains an iconic, if controversial figure in American history. He is still viewed as an all-time great intellectual, who was prolific in many arenas — all which helped him establish American democracy. However, he was also human, and like most of us, not immune to horribly embarrassing himself under the right circumstances. This includes the time when serving overseas as a diplomat that he permanently injured himself just before becoming President while attempting to impress a woman that he had a crush on.

Born in 1743 on his family’s Virginia plantation, Jefferson received a substantial education as a youth; much more than most of his peers. He also traveled extensively, allowing him to build a wealth of experience that helped thrust him into politics at a later age. In addition to being a “Founding Father,” who played a crucial role in the Declaration of Independence, he served in the Continental Congress. Later, he was also Governor of Virginia; Secretary of State; the second Vice President, Minister to France; and finally the third President.

Jefferson’s curiosity and diplomatic duties took him all over the globe, and sometimes got him into trouble. After his wife, Martha, died in 1782, he seems to have ramped up his travels and work — perhaps taking his mind off things at home a bit.

In 1785, he assumed the very important role of acting as the fledgling country’s Minister to France after Benjamin Franklin stepped down. The time and the access to a whole country of new culture and experiences allowed him to let his hair down like he had never done before. Accompanied by his daughter Patsy, he went all in with having a grand old time abroad.

American painter John Trumbull introduced his friend Jefferson to a beautiful 27-year-old married woman named Maria Cosway in August,1786 (her husband was painter Richard Cosway). She was educated and a talented painter herself, but her husband dictated that her portraits be only of landscapes and family members, thus…

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Andrew Martin

Dabbler in history, investing & writing. Master’s degree in baseball history. Passionate about history, diversity, culture, sports, investing and crypto.