Thomas Jefferson Not only was he one of our founding fathers, he was also the third president of the U.S. and the chairman of the Declaration of Independence committee. Thomas Jefferson was born at Shadwell in Albemarle County, Va. on the thirteenth of April in 1743. His father, Peter Jefferson, was a wealthy land owner, but not really high up. He married Jane Randolph Jefferson who was from one of the first families in Virginia.
Thomas Jefferson had a house named Monticello, which was built on his fathers land,in which he put a great deal of time. In 1772 he brought Martha Unyles Skelton, his wife, there. He had only two children who lived through infancy, but he had six altogether. When his wife died after ten years of marriage he went to Paris to get away from it all. Some say that in Paris he fell in love with another women and thats why he always supported the French, even through the bloody revolution. Jefferson was elected President in a very close match with Aaron Burr.
When the votes were counted each had seventy-three votes so it had to be decided by the House of Representatives. Jefferson was obviously declared the winner. He was not a very outspoken man like his predecessors had been. In fact, he dressed rather casual, never wore a wig, and disliked public speaking which is probably why he didnt address congress in person. He loved Paris and all facets about it.
He enjoyed fine cuisine and wine. Jefferson did not believe in slavery, but did not free his slaves as had Washington. In his inaugural address, he said they were “all Republicans, all Federalists in their devotion to the union,” in an attempt to bury the differences between his opponents and him. Jefferson, in his inaugural address, promised: 1.
“equal and exact justice to all men” of every shade of political and religious opinion; 2. friendship with all nations, but no alliances; 3. respect for the rights of all states while still presenting the”constitutional vigor” of the national government; 4. encouragement of agriculture and commerce; 2 5. freedom of speech, press, and elections 6. economy and honesty in the management of the countrys finances.
Jefferson was not a dumb man, he knew he had to have a bigger support base. In order to do this, he followed a moderate course of action to win some Federalists over to the Republicans side. He wanted to reduce the national debt by reducing the army and navy. He hand picked only the most brilliant people for his cabinet. His cabinet included: 1. Secretary of State: The architect of the constitution, James Madison and; 2.
Secretary of the Treasury: A financier from Pennsylvania, Swiss-born Albert Gallatin. Gallatin, following Jeffersons ideas, came up with a budget that made about seventy percent go to paying off the debt which meant that defense money was cut in half. He also came up with a new five year naturalization act. The Alien and Sedition Acts and the excise tax, which had started the Whiskey Rebellion, were repealed.
The Bank and tariff were allowed to continue, though. While Jefferson was in office he was hassled by the Barbary pirates like every other country. He decided to do something about it. The Barbary pirates were asking for more and more “presents,” so Jefferson sent some warships to tell the pirates off.
They got the message, but at a lower rate. The problem wasnt really solved until the French captured Algiers in 1830. Jefferson also saw the Mississippi was a very, very important river. He thought that he would have to deal with Spain, but Napoleon, from France, bought the Louisiana Territory for his own plans. When Jefferson heard about this, he sent Monroe and Livingston to just buy the area around the mouth of the Mississippi, but, when they got there, Napoleons plans for invading Haiti were foiled so he was willing to sell 3 the WHOLE Louisiana area!! Monroe and Livingston snatched up the deal for $15 million before Napoleon could change his mind.
They could only hope they were supported when they got back. Jefferson asked Congress to approve the money and showed the strength to go against everything hes preached and went for “broad” construction instead of his usual “strict” construction. Congress approved the money and, since they were already planning an expedition behind Spains back, they sent an expedition to go exploring. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were chosen for this.
They started out in 1804 with about 40 men and hired a guide and interpreter. They made it to the Pacific and then claimed the land. Pike was also exploring around this time. When Jefferson came to office he found some commissions for new judges which Adams had literally signed the night before he left office. Jefferson refused to give them out and a man named Mar bury, who was one of the appointees, took them to court.
When the supreme court came back with its decision, it set a precedent that was followed ever since. The supreme court decided that the law that says that a govt official has to hand out the commissions was unconstitutional. The constitution said nowhere in it that the supreme court could call something unconstitutional, but Jefferson was happy he didnt have to appoint them so he shut his mouth. So, as you can see Jefferson did a lot of great things as President of the United States.
His popularity didnt start there though. He was on the committee of the Declaration of Independence. He wrote several essays on the constitution. So as you can see, Jefferson was a great man.