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Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson had destroyed political traditions. From his contradictions and defecting his priciples, Jefferson destroyed the political precedent and is a exemplatory hypocrite, which can be seen throughout his administration. Jefferson was an admired statesman who was grappling unsuccessfully with the moral issue of slavery. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, opposed slavery his whole life, yet he never freed his own slaves. He championed Enlightenment principles, yet never freed himself of the prejudices of his soceity. Jefferson was extremely hypocritical n the issue of slavery.

Jefferson was a plantation owner early in his life, and had slaves working for him throughout his life. Jefferson had tolerated while he didn’t accept others who owned slaves. Jefferson denounced the slave owners, while he was owning and using slaves. Although Jefferson was supposedly a good slave owner, his hypocritical nature made him accuse others not to own slaves while he, himself was owning slaves. Another part of the hypocrisy was that Jefferson believed that the slaves were dependent upon the white man, while he, himself was dependent upon the slaves.

Jefferson also was hypocritcal in his acquisition of the Loisiana territory. In Jeffersonian principles, large expansive governments were bad, and small was good. This was a antithesis of that principle. Jefferson knew that the acquisition of the Loisiana territory was beneficial to the welfare of the U. S. According to the constitution, nowhere in the constitution is the acquisition of land a right of the government, Jeffersons’ predisposition was to strictly go by the constitution (as seen with the national bank controversy), this is another contradiction during his administration.

Since the appropriation of the Lousiana territory was important for the expansion of the united states, he temporarily dismissed his principles, therefore destroying political traditions. Another hypocritical event during Jeffersons’ administrationwas his acceptance of the National Bank. Early in Jefferson’s political career, Jefferson had debated with Hamilton on whether to have the National Bank. “When this government was first established, it was possible to have kept it going on true principles, but the contracted, English, half-lettured ideas of Hamilton destroyed that hope in the bud, We can pay off his debts in 15 years.

Early in Jefferson’s Administration, Jefferson had denounced the National Bank. At the end of his administration, Jefferson realized that the National Bank was important and this is hypocritical by disregarding his principles. The Burr conspiracy depicted Jefferson as a ruthless, and a individual who will do anything inorder to achieve his goal. Jefferson championed civil liberties and unalienable rights. Yet, Jefferson violated civil liberties by coercing witnesses, arrested with out habeus corpus and prosecuting in a “court” of his own.

Jefferson and Jeffersonians are hypocrites from the start and they destroyed political tradition as seen during Jeffersons’ administration. Jeffersonians show an immense amount of hypocritism in their policies. For example, Federalists had supported high tarriffs, inorder to protect national manufacturers and american industry. The tarriffs were a vital determinent, which kept the economy of the United States viable. The Jeffersonians, not the Federalists began the American system of protecting american industry which initially was a major constituent of the federalist platform.

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Home » Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson is remembered in history
not only for the offices he held, but also for his belief in the natural
rights of man as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and his faith
in the people’s ability to govern themselves. He left an impact on his
times equaled by few others in American history.

Born on April 13, 1743, Jefferson was the
third child in the family and grew up with six sisters and one brother.

Though he opposed slavery, his family had owned slaves. From his father
and his environment he developed an interest in botany, geology, cartography,
and North American exploration, and from his childhood teacher developed
a love for Greek and Latin. In 1760, at the age of 16, Jefferson entered
the College of William and Mary and studied under William Small and George

Wythe. Through Small, he got his first views of the expansion of science
and of the system of things in which we are placed. Through Small and Wythe,

Jefferson became acquainted with Governor Francis Fauquier.

After finishing college in 1762, Jefferson
studied law with Wythe and noticed growing tension between America and

Great Britain. Jefferson was admitted to the bar in 1767. He successfully
practiced law until public service occupied most of his time. At his home
in Shadwell, he designed and supervised the building of his home, Monticello,
on a nearby hill. He was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in

1769. Jefferson met Martha Wayles Skelton, a wealthy widow of 23, in 1770
and married her in 1772. They settled in Monticello and had one son and
five daughters. Only two of his children, Martha and Mary, survived until
maturity. Mrs. Martha Jefferson died in 1782, leaving Thomas to take care
of his two remaining children.

Though not very articulate, Jefferson proved
to be an able writer of laws and resolutions he was very concise and straight
to the point. Jefferson soon became a member in a group which opposed and
took action in the disputes between Britain and the colonies. Together
with other patriots, the group met in the Apollo Room of Williamsburg’s
famous Raleigh Tavern in 1769 and formed a nonimportation agreement against

Britain, vowing not to pay import duties imposed by the Townshend Acts.

After a period of calmness, problems faced
the colonists again, forcing Jefferson to organize another nonimportation
agreement and calling the colonies together to protest. He was chosen to
represent Albermarle County at the First Virginia Convention, where delegates
were elected to the First Continental Congress. He became ill and was unable
to attend the meeting, but forwarded a message arguing that the British

Parliament had no control over the colonies. He also mentioned the Saxons
who had settled in England hundred of years before from Germany and how

Parliament had no more right to govern the colonies than the Germans had
to govern the English. Most Virginians saw this as too extreme, though.

His views were printed in a pamphlet called A Summary of the Rights of

British America (1774). Jefferson attended the Second Virginia Convention
in 1775 and was chosen as one of the delegates to the Second Continental

Congress, but before he left for Philadelphia, he was asked by the Virginia

Assembly to reply to Lord North’s message of peace, proposing that Parliament
would not try to tax the settlers if they would tax themselves. Jefferson’s

“Reply to Lord North” was more moderate that the Summary View. Instead
of agreeing with Lord North, Jefferson insisted that a government had been
set up for the Americans and not for the British.

The Declaration of Independence was primarily
written by Jefferson in June 1776. Congress felt that the Declaration was
too strong and gave Dickinson the responsibility of redrafting the document,
but the new version included much of Jefferson’s original text and ideas.

In 1779, Jefferson became governor of Virginia,
guiding Virginians through the final years of the Revolutionary War. As
a member of the Second Continental Congress, he drafted a plan for decimal
coinage and composed an ordinance for the Northwest Territory that formed
the foundation for the Ordinance of 1787. In 1785, he became minister to

France. Appointed secretary of state in President Washington’s Cabinet
in 1790, Jefferson defended local interests against Alexander Hamilton’s
policies and led a group called the Republicans. He was elected vice-president
in 1796 and protested the enactment of the Alien and Sedition Acts by writing

The Kentucky Resolutions.

In 1800, the Republicans nominated Jefferson
for president and Aaron Burr (A Buh. hahaha) for vice-president. Federalists
had nominated John Adams for president and Charles Pinckney for vice-president.

Federalists claimed that Jefferson was a revolutionary, an anarchist, and
an unbeliever. Jefferson won the presidency by receiving 73 electoral votes
(Adams received 65). Supporters celebrated with bonfires and speeches,
only to find out that Jefferson and Burr received an equal number of electoral
votes, creating a tie and throwing the election to the House of Representatives.

After 36 ballots, the House declared Jefferson as president. As did Adams
before he, Jefferson faced opposition from his own party as well as from
the Federalists.

As mentioned earlier, Jefferson had an
interest in North American exploration. He used his presidential power
to purchase Louisiana from France and gave Meriwither Lewis and William

Clark the opportunity and the responsibility to explore this vast territory.

After their triumphant return, the hostile Aaron Burr engaged in a conspiracy
either to establish an independent republic in the Louisiana Territory
or to launch an invasion of Spanish-held Mexico. Jefferson acted promptly
to arrest Burr and brought him to trial for treason. Burr was acquitted,
however. Foreign policy during his second term was rather unsuccessful.

In an effort for the British to respect the United States’ neutrality during
the Napoleonic Wars by passing the Embargo Act, he persuaded Congress to
stop all trade with Britain, a move that failed to gain any respect from

Britain, alienated New England (who lived by foreign trade), and shattered
the nation’s economy. Fifteen months later, he repealed the Embargo Act.

In the final years of his life, Jefferson’s major accomplishment was the
founding of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. He conceived
it, planned it, designed it, and supervised both its construction and the
hiring of the workers. He also hired the first professors and came up with
its first course of study.

Jefferson wished to be remembered by three
things, which consisted of a trilogy of unrelated causes: freedom from

Britain, freedom from conscience, and freedom maintained through education.

On the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson died
in Monticello.

Though not flawless, given Jefferson’s
contributions to the shaping of American society then and how it is today,
it is nearly impossible to find him morally weak and coarse. He has truly
defined true American culture as it is today and has shaped the lives of
many Americans both of his time and our time alike.

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