Jefferson Essay, Research Paper
Thomas Jefferson, a highly educated Virginian lawyer in the late eighteenth century, is known most notably as the author of the Declaration of Independence. However, Jefferson affected events during that time in many more ways. Jefferson was an exceedingly brilliant man, and very politically motivated. He helped found our country, nursing it along in its youthful, turbulent beginnings, and he strove to improve upon it in many ways. He was our third president, and he even played a part in developing the political parties we see today. Jefferson affected his time in many ways, some he is well known for, and some he is not.
Jefferson received his first taste of politics when he was elected to the House of Burgesses, at that time under British rule in America. During his time there, he brought several pieces of legislature to the House dealing with the abolition of slavery, even though he knew it to be a hopeless cause at the time, and he himself owned slaves. Instead of the complete abolition of slavery, Jefferson then concentrated on the limiting of it. He worked to reduce the number of slaves in the population, believing that all men are created equal and no man had the right to take another as his property. These ideas were unheard of, and while Jefferson put forth a valiant effort in this fight, no legislation was passed to limit slavery in any way, for it was a necessary part of the Southern economy.
When Jefferson journeyed to take a place at the Constitutional Congress, he met many great minds of the day. These included such men as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and many more men who Jefferson respected and admired. Fast becoming known for his skills with the written word, the young Jefferson was given the responsibility of putting pen to paper for the Congress. In this capacity, Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. During the war, Jefferson was a member of the Congress, and he also wrote its declarations to be read aloud to the people by others. For while Jefferson was very talented with the pen, he had trouble speaking in front of an assembly. In this way Jefferson contributed to the founding of our country.
Jefferson also had many political duties after the Revolutionary War. In 1784, Jefferson was sent as an ambassador to France. During this time he witnessed the French Revolution, and he supported it, believing even that the United States should help the cause. When Jefferson returned home, he was appointed the Secretary of State by George Washington. While serving in this capacity, Jefferson clashed with Alexander Hamilton on many issues. These two men’s battles over different issues seperated others, and because of this the Democrat and Republican parties were formed, which still exist today and play a large part in our modern politics. In the second Presidential race, Jefferson ran against Adams but lost. Because of the voting system set up at the time, Jefferson was appointed the Vice President. However, Jefferson became our third president in the next race he entered. As President, Jefferson’s most famous act was the Louisiana Purchase, in which he bought a large piece of land from France, effectively doubling the size of America.
Jefferson believed that government’s main purpose was to provide for the people’s protection and well being. He worked hard to limit slavery, and he campaigned for the seperation of the state and church. Jefferson followed Washington’s example and limited himself to two terms as president. When he retired to his beloved Monticello, one of his last projects was establishing the University of Virginia, which he himself had designed as a place of higher learning. Jefferson died 50 years to the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He is remembered as a brilliant mind with an eloquent, flowing pen, a passion for the pursuit of freedom, and a love of mankind. He was a patriot who worked tirelessly for his country and his people. He helped form the political policies and parties that we can still see today. Since his death, few man can be said to affect their respective eras as much as Thomas Jefferson.