Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States. He was also the second Vice President.
Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, founded what came to be the Democratic Party, and established the University of Virginia. He played a major part in shaping the theory and practice of government of the new nation. As President, Jefferson was a strong and generally effective leader. During his two terms, he more than doubled the size of the country, through the Louisiana Purchase, and kept the nation from involvement in the Napoleonic Wars despite both British and French violations of America’s neutrality (Cunningham, 2001).
Thesis Statement: The purpose of this study is scrutinize the pre-presidential life of Thomas Jefferson and how he became president; thus, finding out his accomplishments while he was a president and how effective he was as president.Thomas Jefferson was born in April 13, 1783, at Shadwell, a plantation in Goochland (now Albemarle) County, Virginia. At five, Thomas was sent to a private school near Richmond. He later studied under private tutors and in 1760 entered the College of William & Mary.
There he developed a zeal for higher mathematics and the natural sciences and impressed many with his brilliant mind (Johnston, 2005). He also became an accomplished violinist and horseman. Moreover, Jefferson was a justice of the peace and a church vestryman before he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1769. In 1779, Jefferson was elected governor of Virginia and reelected in 1780.
He was not equal to the task of governing during wartime, partly because he refused to take emergency action of doubtful legality. Jefferson served in the national Congress for five months during 1783(Malone, 2002). In 1797 up to 1801, he became the Vice President and in the 1800 election, Jefferson was again the Republican Presidential candidate. In 1801, Jefferson was the first President to be inaugurated in Washington D.
C. Although the federalists believed he would take reprisals for their heated campaigns; Jefferson used great restraint in removing officeholders for purely political considerations. His policies of moderation and tolerance and his pragmatism in office allowed a smooth transition from Federalist to republican administration (Peterson, 2000).Thomas Jefferson was:1.
a courageous president because it was in his time that Louisiana Purchase been made in 1803 to double the area of the United States. To authorize this acquisition, Jefferson had to go against his own principles by giving a broad interpretation of the Constitution, but he felt the purchase was necessary to control the vital Mississippi River (Peterson, 2000).2. a brave leader.
Continued trouble with Barbary pirates who preyed upon United States shipping caused Jefferson to blockade the port of Tripoli in 1801. For a similar reason, he later threatened the sultan of Morocco with naval action (Cunningham, 2001).3. an unwise president because during his second term, Jefferson was increasingly preoccupied with foreign affairs.
During the time when France and Great Britain had resumed fighting in 1803, the British-American relations soon became strained because of British attempts to blockade France and to seize deserters from American ships. Due to this, Jefferson refused to yield to the calls for war, and instead decided to rely upon diplomatic and economic pressure (Cunningham, 2001). The resulting Embargo Act restrained all United States ships from sailing to foreign ports. This caused great hardships to American commerce and industry.
4. a failure president because during his second term he wanted to add East and West Florida to the United States however it required a $2 million payment to France and a threatening posture against Spain by the United States however some Republicans strenuously opposed what they considered unprincipled conduct by the United States and the Florida question remained unresolved during Jefferson’s term of office (Malone, 2002).As a conclusion, Jefferson refused to run for a third term. He was almost penniless, and the estate was in a run-down condition.
Poverty compelled him to sell his fine library of 6, 400 volumes to Congress. His last 17 years, however, were happy and busy ones. Jefferson experimented in his garden and fields, and carried on a voluminous correspondence with James Madison, James Monroe, and others, including John Adams, a former foe who became a good friend (Johnston, 2005).One of Jefferson’s crowning achievements was to win authorization in 1818 for the founding of the University of Virginia.
It was chartered the following year and instruction began in 1825. Reference: Cunningham, N.E. The Process of Government under Jefferson (Princeton University, 2001) Johnston, R.
M. Jefferson and the Presidency: Leadership in the Young Republic (Cornell University, 2005) Malone, Dumas. Jefferson and His time (6 volumes Little, Brown, 2002) Peterson, M.D.
Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation: a Biography (Oxford University, 2000)