Thomas Jefferson Report Essay, Research Paper
Man of the People
Thomas Jefferson was born, April 13, 1743, at Shadwell, in what is now Albemarle County, Virginia. His mother, Jane Randolph Jefferson, came from one of the first families of Virginia, and his father, Colonel Peter Jefferson, was a large landowner as well as a noted explorer. Jefferson was well educated privately in his early years. He studied Latin and Greek before going to the College of William and Mary at the age of 17, in 1760. He learned French early and afterwards acquired knowledge of Italian and Spanish. He then completed college in 1762, and studied law under George Wythe for five years. At the age of 24 he was admitted to the bar, and was successful as a lawyer until the American Revolution closed the courts. Even though his profession came to an end, he was chiefly supported by the income from the farms inherited from his father. His lands were doubled by the inheritance of his wife, Martha Wayles Skelton, whom he married January 1, 1772
Jefferson built a house, which he called Monticello, meaning ?Little Mountain?. He started to build this house in 1770 on the land he inherited from his father. The mansion, which he designed, took years to complete, but part of it was ready for occupancy when he married Martha. The couple had six children, two of whom survived into adulthood: Martha Washington Jefferson (1772-1836), Jane Randolph Jefferson (1774-75), an infant son (1777), Mary Jefferson (1778-1804), Lucy Elizabeth Jefferson (1780-81), Lucy Elizabeth Jefferson (1784).
Jefferson?s credentials prior to becoming president prepared him well. Jefferson served as a delegate to the Virginia House of Burgesses, he was on the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1776, where he drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776,and became delegate to the Virginia general Assembly in 1776. He also held such positions as Governor of Virginia in 1779, as well as, an American minister to France from 1784 to 1789, served as Secretary of state from 1789 to 1793, and served as Vice-President under John Adams from 1793 to 1801.
During Jefferson?s Presidency the most noted accomplishment was United States Purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803. He also launched the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark that reached the Pacific Ocean in 1805.
Jefferson was also involved in a scandal that you wouldn?t expect from a president. Jefferson was a man of high stature and many people didn?t want to believe that Jefferson had a relationship with one of his slaves, named Sally Hemings. Sally Hemings was born in 1772 and she was the illegitimate half-sister of Jefferson?s wife, Martha, the offspring of a relationship between John Wayles and Elizabeth (Betty) Hemings, also a slave. Sally became Jefferson?s property when he inherited the Wayles estate in 1774, and arrived at Monticello as a little girl in 1776. In her early Childhood, Hemings acted as a nurse to Jefferson?s daughter, Mary, a custom in slave culture. Then in 1787, Jefferson, a widower, who was then the U.S. ambassador to France, summoned his daughter Maria to live with him. Her young attendant, Sally, who was then about 13, accompanied Maria. Sally?s son Madison, who was born in 1805, said at the end of his life that his mother, became Jefferson?s concubine in Paris. When the Jefferson family returned in 1789 to Virginia, Sally was 16 or 17, and pregnant, according to Madison Jefferson. New studies say that the child that she had soon after her return was not genetically linked to Jefferson. Within the larger world the dominant response will be Jefferson is more human, to regard this as evidence of his frailties, frailties that seem more like us. The urge to regard him as an American icon will overwhelm any desire to take him off his pedestal.
Jefferson was clever and proved this through inventing many things, but his most notable inventions that we still use today, are the polygraph (copying machine) and the revolving music stand. Though his version was less complicated and could make far less copies than today?s copying machines, it was still a great invention for its time. The polygraph had two pens connected and when one pen was moved the other moved exactly in the same way. As for the music stand we have vastly improved on that today, making them adjustable for different heights, unlike Jefferson?s, which was a little box that had flaps that could hold music and also revolved. But unless you put it on a table of your height, you wouldn?t have had the same experience as today?s stands.
In the final 17 years of his life after he left office, he founded the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1819, and it was one of his major accomplishments. He conceived it, planned it, designed it, and supervised both its construction and the hiring of faculty. The University was the last of three contributions by which Jefferson wanted to be remembered and the University constituted a trilogy of interrelated causes which were; freedom from Britain, freedom of conscience, and freedom maintained through education. On July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson died at Moticello.