Thomas Jefferson | INFJ Forum

Thomas Jefferson


C'est la vie
Retired Staff
May 11, 2008

An INFJ? What do you think?

Thomas Jefferson was a quiet man, tall, lanky, but had very earthly good looks. He wasn't a great orator (he had a lisp, and was bitterly embarrassed of it), and only gave two public speeches as president of the United States, but what he lacked in natural charisma, he more than made up for with shrewd intelligence and a legendary writing style. Jefferson was the founder of the Democratic-Republicans, who were seen as the party of the people, who were bitterly opposed to the Federalists, who were seen as the party of the aristocracy and the big bankers. In fact it is Alexander Hamilton, not Jefferson, who was viewed as an antidemocratic aristocrat, while the perception of Jefferson was that he was a man of the farmers, firmly devoted to preventing a central bank from forming, as well as the large corporations that grew up around them. In fact, Jefferson derisively callled Hamilton and the Federalists the "Monocrats", as he saw them as advocated of a constitutional monarchy, which he saw as inimically opposed to the freedoms of the people.

Jefferson was NOT a pampered Aristocrat. He was a Virginian, a man of the land. His rival and at times best friend, John Adams, was a rich lawyer from Boston who at times was infuriated by Jefferson but never lacking in admiration for him. According to Adams, Thomas Jefferson could "calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, dance a minuet, and play the violin." He is also called the "father of archeology", because of his pioneering excavation techniques, and had a master's understanding of agriculture.

As president, it is amusing to note that he used to answer the door (of the white house) in his robe and slippers, and he, his daughters, and James Madison's wife, Dolly, were well known for turning the formal state dinners that had been cultivated under Washington and Adams (both of whom were well known aristocrats) into casual and entertaining social events.

As a person, he was a relatively quiet man, not a carefree party-animal like Benjamin Franklin, but not a ultra-formal, stone-faced gargoyle like George Washington. In his spare moments, he was a vociferous reader. "I can not live without books" he famously said. He was fluent in ancient Latin as well as ancient Greek, and he used to read the classics in their original Latin or Greek.

He was personally revolted by Tobacco, but it is also known that he and George Washington used to exchange gifts of "smoking mixtures", possibly Marijuana. George Washington's love for Indian Hemp was well documented, and Thomas Jefferson, ever the farmer, advocated that Americans plant hemp instead of tobacco, arguing that tobacco ruins the soil that it is planted on.

He was also an avid drinker of Gin, as were most Americas. Europe imported so much booze to America that a common epithet for America at the time was the "Alcohol Republic".

Thomas Jefferson's Wife was Martha Wayles Jefferson, and throughout their short marriage, they were completely and utterly devoted to her. Jefferson was said to have been a doting and loving husband. However, Martha was a very sickly woman (she is believed to have been diabetic) and later in her life, as her health failed her, Thomas was known to go through bitter and prolonged bouts of depression. When she died in 1782, Thomas mourned her death for nearly three weeks, refusing to even leave his room, only occasionally emerging to go horseback riding by himself.

Jefferson and slavery is perhaps the most troubling aspect of that man, and no one was more deeply troubled about it than Thomas Jefferson himself. Biographers point out that Jefferson spent almost his entire life in debt, which prevented him from freeing his slaves (he vowed to free his slaves once he was out of debt, which he never was). Jefferson seems to have suffered pangs and trials of conscience as a result, which was far more than virtually any other man of the time could boast. He also tried desperately to enact legislation in Virginia outlawing slaves, knowing full well that it would ruin him to loose his slaves, and throughout his political career, fought tirelessly for the emancipation of slaves. In his will, his 5 most trusted slaves were freed, but unfortunately, his estate sold the rest to pay off his debts. the duology of Jefferson's relationship with slavery is an unfortunate one, And its impact on his personality is not one to ignore, because his ownership of slaves wracked his conscious to no end.

At one point in time, it was thought that Thomas Jefferson had slept with his black slaves and they had borne him children. In fact, his political opponents accused him of keeping his black slaves as concubines, which Jefferson wrote off as vicious slander, beneath responding too. However, the tests did not link them specifically to the Jefferson, merely "a Jefferson". Modern scholars consider it far more likely that the forefather of those children was either Thomas's cousin, Peter Carr, or his brother, Randolph Jefferson.

-taken from Yahoo Answers
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I'd be surprised if he was, but that description makes it seem possible. I just can't see him being an INFJ though, but who knows - I'd have to see him in action.
It's hard to say, but I'm not inclined to say so, just because he seemed very capable at moral compromise (I think most INFJs tend to take a harder line when it comes to their personal sense of right and wrong). He was conflicted about slavery, as the article points out, and there is actually a lot of scholarship about Jefferson and his relationships with his slaves. For example, I believe he traveled a lot with Sally Hemmings, the slave who bore a child from one of the "Jeffersons".

Also, as president, he make a total 180 on his ideas of small government. He had extremely firm convictions prior to taking the presidency; once in office, he abandoned those completely. He believed that if the Constitution didn't expressly authorize something then it was out the question; yet that did not prevent him from signing the Louisiana Purchase and generally advocating the expansion of federal power.

I think it's this kind of politician-like turn around in his life, and his failure to deal with slavery, that kind of make me question any INFJ-ish qualities.

That's not to say that he may have been one at some point. People change over their lives. The MBTI is not set in stone. He very well could have been during the revolution, and then changed when he became president.
Thanks for that Satya. Certainly the most intimate and personal look at Thomas Jefferson ive read. (Its been a long time) I have to say though, that it seems more like a column in a gossip magazine than a factual account. Did the original article have references or footnotes?

At any rate he sounds like a great guy to hang with. Wish I had a time machine.
I am reading his auto biography right now not even half way thru. There is a lot to read. I find his personal letters to the people he associated with facinating. He was a shrewd buisness man atleast that is my impression of him. I think a lot of times people forget just how hard it was in his times to stand straight for what you believe in. The country was in a very delicate state and you had to be able to change your mind. People were trying to make America fail and he had to be flexible enough to over come all the obsticles that were put in his way. I think he was definatly a feeling type. And like myself it is easier to give out medicine than take it. He went against his original feelings about expanding the government. But from what I have read about him it seemed to bother him also. He was a conflicted man because he had to make comprimises to get things done. Problem is 200 years later it seems that nothing has really changed in our government. I feel that every president of the united states has done the same thing as him. Which has allowed the removal of our basic freedoms from us. And the country that he invisioned has vanished from the earth. We are but a shadow of what we could be..
INFJ? Funny, because if there were some NT's here, they would be claiming Jefferson as one of their own based on his intelligence alone.

Personally, nothing at all is known about him from my perspective. I'll have to learn more and come to a decision.
I'm an ENTP. I'm not claiming him as one because he was an INTP, therefore to claim him as one would make me wrong. I dislike being wrong.
I cannot see him as an INFJ at all. You can tell from his picture that he is a firm logical person T and the glimpse in his eyes make me think N. INTJ is about right!
Oh, there's no doubt that Thomas had strong logical skills. One doesn't have to be a T to excel at logic, though. It's entirely possible that Thomas might've just been an INFJ who spent his younger years working hard to develop his Ti, in which case there's no doubt that he would've been able to match any NT he came across on logical terms.
I could much more easily see him as an INFJ than an INTJ, but still lean towards him being an INTP. He clearly used introverted thinking, not extroverted thinking. He was a man of principle, not pragmatism.

(I'm inclined to see Alexander Hamilton as his shadow, ENTJ.)