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The Presidency Of Thomas Jefferson

This paper seeks to illustrate the underlying reasons that have led to the description of the 1801 to 1809 Thomas Jefferson presidency as the Revolution of 1800. This paper will address the Consumer Revolution, the American Revolution, the American Constitution and the Revolution of the 1800. INTRODUCTION. Thomas Jefferson is remembered for several achievements in his life, but the most prominent of his achievements was that he was the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809.

Throughout the United States history, no other individual has demonstrated commitment to the pursuit of political and spiritual independence (The American Revolution, 2004). In the midst of the 1800 party conflict, Thomas Jefferson wrote that “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man” (White House, 2008). True to his word, he was nothing short of the epitome of liberty. PERSONAL LIFE. Thomas Jefferson was born in Albemarle County, Virginia on the 13th of April, 1743.

His father, Peter Jefferson was prominent surveyor and successful planter. Jane Randolph Jefferson, his pedigree mother, came from among the royal families of Virginia and it was because of this that Thomas Jefferson was exposed to prominent persons. Thomas Jefferson was not only born into a good family but he was also well educated with firm grounding in classics. In completed his courses at the College of William and Mary in 1762. During his stay at the college, Dr. William Small himself tutored him in mathematics and science.

He was later taught law between 1762 and 1767 by the greatest teacher of law in Virginia, George Wythe. It was obvious that Thomas Jefferson was exceptionally talented in Law and was therefore admitted to the bar in 1767. He served as a magistrate and as the Albemarle County lieutenant, and it was probably from these two positions that his commitment to local government grew. It was only as a result of the closure of the courts by the 1774 American Revolution that he stopped practicing law (The American Revolution, 2004). On the 1st, January, 1772, Thomas Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton.

He also inherited his father’s impressive estate. Unfortunately, a huge debt was placed in him by his father in law’s estate. None the less, his bad luck changed as by the age of 25, he had been elected to the House of Burgesses where he served from 1769 to 1774. Although he was a poor spokesman, he was an extremely talents draftsman and a highly effective committee member. In 1776, Thomas Jefferson together with Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingstone and John Adams, were chosen to draft the Declaration of Independence.

He took it upon himself to write the document and Franklin and Adams amended it. Thomas Jefferson was nothing short of a revolutionary legislator. Together with his law teacher, Wythe, George Mason and James Madison, they strove to liberalize the laws of Virginia. Although may of the proposed bills were shot down, such as the proposal to enact a free tax maintained elementary education, the abolition to entail was successfully pass into law in 1776. He proudly stated that the laws would lay the “ax to the foot of pseudo-aristocracy.

” Thomas Jefferson played key role in the revision of the United States Criminal Code. However, his most controversial bill was in 1779 and it touched on the Virginia religious freedom, sparking chaos in Virginia for 8 years. This bill’s significance was largely pegged on the fact that no other state, or nation at that, accommodated absolute religious freedom. The bill stated that “that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions on matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

” The Christian fraternity in Virginia opposed this bill as they took it as an attack against their faith. Although his wife died in 1782, Thomas Jefferson did not stop at his quest to contribute positively to America. Following his 1784 submission that America should adopt a decimal system for the coinage and the establishment of a monetary unit, the nation adopted the use of its own currency, the dollar, in 1792. This was said to be the most progressive policy from any colony through out modern history. This was a demonstration of the foresight and the liberal nature of Jefferson.

The proposed ordinance of the year 1784 was a reflection of the Jefferson belief that not only should western territories be self regulating but also that once a given level of growth and progress was attained, the Western territories should be admitted as full partners to the Union of the 13 original states. It was also in his proposal that as of 1800, slavery should be omitted from the western territories of America. This was rather hypocritical as he was a renowned slave owner himself. In a turn of event, slavery was banned from the North-Western territories following the Ordinance of 1787.

Thomas Jefferson had significant he direction of the Consumer Revolution in America. During the period between 1784 and 1789, Thomas Jefferson served as the America’s commissioner and later as the ambassador to France, where he successfully steered several commercial treaties, as this was his mission. He established that the European nations were “indifferent to American economic overtures. ” According to Jefferson, the Europeans were immensely arrogant of American commerce. However, Jefferson managed to secure commercial concessions with France. In 1788, he led a crucial consular convention.

Following the drafting of a sample treaty by Jefferson, a deal was sealed with Persia. During this period, Jefferson established that France was a genuine American ally and that at that point in time, Britain was a rival. Thomas Jefferson did not participate in the drafting or the ratification if the American Constitution because he was in Europe. On learning about it, he raised objections primarily because the Constitution failed to safeguard the rights of individuals. It also had allowed for presidents to have unrestricted eligibility for reelection, essentially, putting him up for monarchy.

The president in question was George Washington. On learning that there would be a provision of bill of rights, his fears were allayed In general, the political climate of the 1790s was highly polarized, and the political fabric was in a delicate state. When he was elected to serve as the Secretary of State in 1790, the disapproval of a republican government could not have been stronger. THE REVOLUTIONARY ERA. It is without a doubt that when Thomas Jefferson came into power in 1801, he laid the ground work for the quarter century “Virginia Dynasty” rule that lasted till 1825.

This includes the Jeffersonian reigns James Madison (1809 to 1817) and that of James Monroe (1817 to 1825). With the Southward shift of the political center as a result of the ascent of the Republican forces, the Federalists emerged as the most effective opposition party. Matters were not smooth in the Republicans boat as they had fantasized; there was friction between the “strict constructionists ‘old Republicans’ and the ‘National Republicans’ who advocated for an activist conception of federal power” (Miller Center, 2008).

However, by 1819, Thomas Jefferson’s victory over the Federalists had reached mythic proportions. With the citizens’ support, Jefferson and his group managed to rise above the factions that perpetually characterize politics, redirected the course of revolution to restore America to the Republican course. Thomas Jefferson is considered a true icon because he clearly articulated the real tension in the understanding of Americans concerning the power of the people. When he was inaugurated on the 4th of March, 1801, he described America’s government as being the “strongest government on earth.

” Ironically, the irresistible people power was directly related to their ceaseless devotion to a free government that was characterized by their right. He describe America as the only government “where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern” (Miller Center, 2008). Thomas Jefferson therefore guaranteed the Americans that for as long as they were free and enlightened enough to determine their own destiny, at no point would the public and private good collide.

Thomas Jefferson took the opportunity to invite reconciliation on his election, following the fruitless stale mate with Aaron Burr. He said that indeed the political conflict that had agitated the public was a turning point in the course of America’s politics. The theme of reconciliation was close to him as he called for the unity of the warring factions for the sake of the republic. On overcoming their differences, the American government would remain the strongest on earth, with the knowledge that freedom is in deed the best hope for the world (Monticello Newsletter, 2000).

President Thomas Jefferson’s policies were highly supported and his administration was characterized by cost-cutting measures and simplicity. There were significant reductions in the internal taxes and the military budget, a lapse in the Alien and Sedition Acts were allowed and significant progress was made towards the extinction of public debt, which reduced by a third . The hallmark of his achievements was the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The Louisiana Purchase was a signed treaty within which America purchased over 2 million sq km for approximately $ 15 million.

Napoleon had been prompted to act following an urgent need for funds for military support. The period had coincided with an on going negotiation for piece of the terrain on the lower Mississippi; on receiving an offer of the entire territory, the Unites States grabbed the deal. To state that Thomas Jefferson was ecstatic would be an understatement. This was because not only would the size of America States double instantaneously but also there would be unlimited navigation of the Mississippi.

There would also be space for human settlement. At that time, the Federal government did not have the Constitutional mandate to acquire new territory through treaties, Thomas Jefferson was well aware that national benefits were much more than any constitutional consequences (Coates, 1997). Thomas Jefferson surrounded himself with highly capable people with whom he maintained excellent working relations. Undisputedly, this kind of influence and leadership was uncharacteristic of previous administration, and remain unmatched.

However, he did not have much luck with the Judiciary which was dominantly made up of Federalists individuals who had been appointed in the last days of the Adam administration. This posed a potential problem to the Jefferson administration because they could easily obstruct his moves. Although he attempted to remove the judges who were partisan, he failed. Thomas Jefferson’s political beliefs were highly complex; he favored American agriculture rather than the traditional choice of commence and business. He also advocated for the limitation of federal power thus giving rights to states, rather than the Federal government.

His second term in office was relatively low key. It was not marked by any major achievements. Several events transpired none the less; the Burr Conspiracy was uncovered. Burr was charged with treason but was acquitted. There was the embargo matter which resulted from increasing international pressure on America to cease in its neutrality over the France-Britain conflict. Although both nations had imposed on neutral rights, Britain was dubbed the greater offender due to its immense sea command. In 1807, Britain attacked Chesapeake, an American frigate and this was considered as an act of war.

However, the situation did not deteriorate into war, not because of Jefferson’s atonement of the situation, but rather, excellent negotiations. Jefferson also deemed it clever to cease commerce as a way of imposing pressure on the two factions. He saw the embargo as the most feasible alternative to submission and war. This embargo effectively expelled exports to France and Britain. This move was a violation on individual rights, a contradiction to his principles. In his defense, he said that as patriots, Americans should be ready to accept economic sacrifices.

Although temperate steps were taken instead of the embargo toward the end of his reign, the 1812 war was imminent (Coates, 1997). The 1800 revolution, according to Thomas Jefferson himself, was a turning point in the principles of the government that was effect by peaceable and rational reform instruments, rather than by the sword. His entire inclination towards republicanism was grounded on two issues; first, on the firm belief on the primacy of the sovereignty of states and secondly, upon the opposition of aristocratic and monarchial governance (Monticello Newsletter, 2000; pp 2).

CONCLUSION. Thomas Jefferson made his mark in history for his role in the Declaration of Independence. He successfully clarified America’s national creed and the universal fundaments of self governance. Although he was dogged by controversy surrounding human rights verses nation building, these conflicts have played a critical role in the definition of American history. It was under his rule that the executive branch of government was made stronger. He was a believer in the popular rule and was an advocate of the overall well being and freedom of the individual.

He encouraged and invited the freedom of speech, religion and press as central to the establishment of the republican government (Coates, 1997). It is therefore without a doubt that his presidency was indeed the revolution of the 1800 as it marked the turning point of the future of America.


Coates Robert. “The Life of Thomas Jefferson. ” 1997. Last retrieved from the World Wide Web on 13th August, 2008 from http://etext. virginia. edu/jefferson/biog/lj32. htm#Top Miller Center. “Thomas Jefferson.” 2007. Last retrieved from the World Wide Web on 13th August, 2008 from http://millercenter. org/academic/americanpresident/jefferson. Monticello Newsletter. “Thomas Jefferson and the Revolution of 1800. ” Volume 11, no. 1; Spring 2000. Last retrieved from the World Wide Web on 13th August, 2008 from http://thomasjeffersonfoundation. net/press/newsletter/2000/rev1800. pdf White House. “Presidents. ” Last retrieved from the World Wide Web on 13th August, 2008 from http://www. whitehouse. gov/history/presidents/

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