Thommas Jefferson Essay, Research Paper
Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States was born on April 13, 1734. His parents, Peter and Jane Randolph Jefferson, lived in central Virginia. Their house was on a farm they called Shadwell. It was about five miles east of the town of Charlottesville.
In 1760 Thomas Jefferson entered college. Thomas studied hard and quickly mastered difficult subjects such as grammar, physics, and calculus. In about two years of college he learned everything you could know on the arts and science and moral philosophies. He left the college in April of 1762. Three years later, in 1767 Thomas became a lawyer. He didn+t know it at the time but it would soon be a hazardous job. Thomas hated being a lawyer but turned out to be very successful. His work grew from sixty-eight cases his first year to more than four hundred annually just a few years later.
Thomas ran for the colonial Virginia legislature, called the House of Burgesses, and won easily in 1769. Every two years, he had to be reelected. To campaign, he just invited his neighbors to Shadwell, served them cake and rum punch, and waited for victory. It always came.
In 1770 Thomas met a girl by the name of Martha Wayles Skelton. Two years later on New Year+s Day Martha and Thomas were married. Throughout his life, Thomas hoped for the chance to live a quiet family life at Monticello. He was an expert farmer, a fine architect and builder, well liked by his workers and even his slaves, and deeply in love with his new wife. But in early 1770s, the fires of revolution were beginning to burn from colonial Virginia, quiet times at home were becoming difficult to find.
In 1770 a large force of British soldiers had fired on angry
protesters in Boston, killing five. In the fall of 1773, Jefferson helped to organize a group in the Virginia House of Burgesses. It was called the Committee of Correspondence, and was set up to help the representatives of the thirteen colonies to communicate with one another and to unite against British rule.
Each county in Virginia elected people who would attend a meeting in Williamsburg to choose Virginia+s delegates to the new congress. Among the Virginians elected were Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and George Washington.
Before leaving home to attend the meeting, Jefferson wrote an essay describing his feelings on the politics of the day. Eventually published under the title |A Summary View of the Rights of British America,X it was the future president+s first political masterpiece.
The first great meeting of all the colonies-called the First Continental Congress-met in Philadelphia in September 1774. Jefferson was still at Monticello, trying to recover from an illness. The Second Continental Congress began in May of the following year, right after the Battles of the Lexington and Concord had started the revolutionary war. Many of the delegates were familiar with Jefferson+s essay by now. His fine writing was one of the reasons he was selected to write the Declaration of Independence. So it was on July 4, 1776 that the great Declaration of Independence was signed.
In the summer of 1782 Jefferson+s wife Martha died after giving birth to their sixth child. In May of 1784 Congress asked Thomas to join John Adams and Benjamin Franklin to be a minister to Europe. He accepted. Then in 1787, Jefferson received a copy of the new American Constitution. Jefferson was worried that there was no Bill of Rights, so he urged James Madison to add a Bill of Rights. The first ten amendments to the Constitution (the Bill of Rights) were finally approved by Congress in 1791.
On March 4, 1797, fifty- three-year-old Thomas Jefferson was sworn in as the vice-president of the United States. President Adams and Vice-President Jefferson were extremely different personalities.
In the year 1800, Thomas Jefferson began his campaign for the presidency at the age of fifty-seven. He felt forced to do so. In the spring of 1800, Republican congressmen nominated Thomas Jefferson for president. For his running mate, a former senator from New York named Aaron Burr was selected. The event marked the start of one of the dirtiest presidential campaigns in the history of the Untied States. After a week of tied votes, Jefferson was finally elected president by the House of Representatives on February 17, 1801. Aaron Burr became vice president.
On March 5, 1801 the day he was sworn into office, the new president began to mend the wounds of a divided nation. |We are all Republicans-we are all Federalists,X he said in his speech. |Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.X Those were Thomas Jefferson+s actual words.
In the summer of 1800, Washington, D.C. had become the new capital of the United States. Although the President+s House and the Capitol Building had been completed in 1800, Jefferson began his presidency in a swampy new town with no real streets or sidewalks. There was just a scattering of small houses for members of the U.S. government to live in. Jefferson became the first U.S. president to begin his term in the building known as the White House.
The president began to act on a secret plan. He decided to try to buy the vast territory called Louisiana from the French. Secretly, he asked Congress to approve a $2 million fund for business matters with |foreign nationsX that were not specified. In March of 1803 he sent James Monroe to France to try to buy Louisiana from Napoleon. The emperor, in need of money to finance his wars, was more than ready to make a deal. On May 2, he sold the entire Louisiana Territory to the United States for sixty million francs, about $15 million.
The Louisiana Purchase was the largest real estate deal in history. On May 2, 1803, the size of the United States was doubled. Today, the land that Thomas Jefferson so wisely purchased includes the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Overnight, the United States became one of the largest countries in the world, larger than all the nations of western Europe combined.
In May of 1804, Lewis and Clark set off their journey. They were soon joined by a trader, Toussaint Charbonneau, and his Shoshoni Indian wife, Sacajawea, who helped them find their way through wilderness and deal with Indians along the way. The notebooks and drawings Lewis and Clark made tell of many adventures and discoveries: fierce grizzly bears, the majestic Rocky Mountains, vast prairies and forests, and new Indian tribes. Although their route to the Pacific proved too rough to be practical for trade, the expedition helped open up the Northwest to settlers and gain the Oregon territory for the United States.
By the time the next presidential election came in 1804, Jefferson was extraordinarily popular. Although a few Federalist politicians and newspaper still howled against him, most Americans were solidly behind the president and his policies. The same could not be said for Vice-President Aaron Burr.
For years, Burr and Alexander Hamilton had been feuding. Hamilton often publicly insulted the vice president. Finally, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel and killed him on July 11, 1804, in New Jersey. Soon authorities in both New York and New Jersey were preparing to arrest the vice-president of the United States for murder.
Not surprisingly, Jefferson no longer wanted Burr as his vice-president. Instead, the nomination went to George Clinton, the governor of New York State. Jefferson and Clinton easily won. Of the seventeen states then part of the U.S., fifteen went to Jefferson. The Federalists were all but destroyed. Even former President John Adams, who hated Republicans, voted for Jefferson.
By the end of 1807, President Thomas Jefferson announced that he would follow the example of George Washington and not seek a third term. The administration of one of America+s greatest presidents had come to an end.
1. Hargrove, Jim (1986). Thomas Jefferson. Chicago : Children’s Press
2. Mapp, Alf J. (1991). Thomas Jefferson Passionate Pilgrim. Maryland: Madison Books
3. Burns, Roger(1986). Thomas Jefferson. Chelsea House Publishers