176File - Thomas Jefferson
- Aug 1, 2014Thomas Jefferson, our 3rd. President was born on April 13, 1743 (New Style) in
Jefferson lost his father at 14.
Young Thomas inherited 5,000 acres of land from him.
Jefferson studied at the College of William and Mary.
He was fluent in French, Greek, and Latin.
Jefferson's occupation was the practice of law.
On New Year's Day, 1772, Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton, a young widow.
They lived in Jefferson's partly constructed home, called Monticello, in Charlottesville, VA.
"Monticello" in Italian means, "Little mountain."
Jefferson served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Second Continental Congress.
In these legeislative bodies, he used more ink than voice to the patriot cause.
As a member of the Second Continental Congress, at age 33, Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on a 5-man committee.
The other committee members were John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, and Robert R. Livingston.
The Declaration was adopted on July 4, 1776, and thus the United States was born.
Most of the members of the Congress did not sign it until August 2, 1776.
After the Declaration, he devoted much of his time to establish basic rights stated in the Declaration in Virginia.
This included the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom.
Jefferson was sent as Minister to France in 1785.
From 1789 until his resignation in 1793, Jefferson served as George Washington's Secretary of State.
Jefferson was a strong supporter of the French Revolution.
He believed in small central government and in more states' rights.
Jefferson helped form the Democratic-Republican Party, which believed in those principles.
Jefferson ran against John dams in the election of 1796, and lost by only 3 votes of the Electoral College.
At the time, the candidate with the second most number of votes became Vice-President.
Thus Jefferson became Adams's Vice President, although the two were political rivals.
In 1800, Jefferson ran against Adams again.
Republican electors attempted to elect a President and Vice President from the same party.
However, there was a tie of 73 votes between Jefferson and Aaron Burr.
The House of Representatives settled the tie by electing Jefferson.
It was then made law that there would be separate votes for President and Vice President.
As President, he cut the national budget, eliminated the whiskey tax, and paid off 1/3 of the national debt.
Normally, Jefferson was a strict constructionist.
Strict constructionists interpret the Constitution exactly as it says.
However, although nothing in the Constitution explicitly stated he could or couldn't purchase land from another nation, when Napoleon offerd the Louisiana teritory for $15 million, Jefferson accepted.
It nearly doubled the nation's size.
Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the territory in 1803.
In his second term, President Jefferson tried his hardest to keep the U.S. out of the Napoleonic Wars.
He did succeed.
When England and France violated American merchants' rights and began impressment, Jefferson issued the Embargo Act, which prevented American shipping.
This was unpopular, and wasn't very effective.
Jefferson retired to Monticello in 1809.
He died just a few hours before John Adams on July 4, 1826.
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