Thomas Jefferson - Wikipedia
The American philosopher and statesman Thomas Jefferson was the first secretary . His relations with Congress weakened as Republicans quarreled among. Thomas Jefferson facts: American philosopher and statesman Thomas Jefferson His relations with Congress degenerated as Republicans quarreled among. Thomas Jefferson (), the third president of the United States, After drafting the Declaration, Jefferson waited as Congress poured over . reference to his controversial relationship with slave Sally Hemings) and.
During his service, he prepared various influential committee papers, including a report of March 22,calling for prohibition of slavery in the western territory after the year The report also declared illegal any western regional secession. Although Congress did not adopt the report as presented, Jefferson's language subsequently influenced the drafting of the Northwest Ordinance with its highly significant slavery restrictions.
Diplomacy and the Cabinet Jefferson prepared a report in December on the procedure for negotiating commercial treaties. His recommendations became general practice, and in May Congress appointed him to assist Benjamin Franklin in arranging commercial agreements with France. Within a year he succeeded Franklin as minister to that country. While Jefferson would later make light of his accomplishments during his ministerial tenure, he proved to be a talented diplomat.
Following his own pro-French leanings, and his belief that France could serve to counter Britain's threat to American interests, Jefferson worked hard for improved relations. On returning home in DecemberJefferson accepted President George Washington's appointment to be the nation's first secretary of state.
Progressively harsher disputes with Treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton troubled his tenure in that office. Their differences extended from financial policy to foreign affairs and grew out of fundamentally conflicting interpretations of the Constitution and the scope of federal power.
The rise of two rudimentary political groupings during the early s reflected Hamilton's and Jefferson's differing philosophical views. Formed generally along sectional lines, these early parties were known as Federalists with strong support in the North and East and Republicans with a southern base. In later years the Republicans would come to be called "Democrats," but in the s, that term carried a negative connotation associated with mob rule.
In MayPennsylvania senator William Maclay, with his customarily acerbic pen, recorded the following physical description of the secretary of state: When I came to the Hall Jefferson and the rest of the Committee were there. Jefferson is a slender Man [and] has rather the Air of Stiffness in his Manner.
His cloaths seem too small for him. He sits in a lounging Manner on One hip, commonly, and with one of his shoulders elevated much above the other. His face has a scrany aspect. His Whole figure has a loose shackling Air.
I looked for gravity, but a laxity of Manner, seemed shed about him. He spoke almost without ceasing, but even his discourse partook of his personal demeanor. Worn out from his battles with Hamilton, Jefferson resigned as secretary of state at the end of and handed leadership of the emerging Republican Party to his fellow Virginian James Madison. For the next three years, Madison worked to strengthen the party in Congress, transforming it from a reactive faction to a positive political force with its own distinctive programs and, by Aprila congressional party caucus to establish legislative priorities.
The Election When President Washington announced in September that he would not run for a third term, a caucus of Federalists in Congress selected Vice President Adams as their presidential candidate. Congressional Republicans turned to Jefferson as the only person capable of defeating Adams, who enjoyed a strong following in New England and was closely associated with the success of the American Revolution. Jefferson had told friends in that his "retirement from office had meant from all office, high or low, without exception.
Jefferson confided to Madison that he hoped he would receive either the second- or third-largest number of electoral votes.
A third-place finish would allow him to remain home the entire year, while a second-place result—making him the vice president—would permit him to stay home two-thirds of the year.
Jefferson made no effort to influence the outcome. He believed that Madison, as an active party leader, would have been a more suitable candidate. But even though Jefferson had left the political stage more than two years earlier, he remained the symbol of Republican values—in no small part due to Hamilton's unremitting attacks. In devising the constitutional system that obligated each presidential elector to cast two ballots, the framers intended to produce a winning candidate for president who enjoyed a broad national consensus and, in second place, a vice president with at least strong regional support.
They assumed that electors would give one vote to a home state favorite, reserving the second for a person of national reputation, but this view failed to anticipate the development of political parties. Thus the framers apparently gave little consideration to the potential for competing slates of candidates--seen for the first time in the presidential contest.
As part of a strategy to erode Jefferson's southern support, the Federalists selected as Adams' running mate Thomas Pinckney of South Carolina, author of the popular treaty with Spain. Hamilton, Adams' bitter rival within the Federalist party, encouraged Federalist electors in the North to give both their votes to Adams and Pinckney. On the safe assumption that Pinckney would draw more votes than Adams from the other regions, and recognizing that Jefferson lacked support north and east of the Delaware River, Hamilton mistakenly concluded this tactic would assure Pinckney's election.
Adams' supporters countered Hamilton's plan by convincing a number of their party's electors to vote for someone other than Pinckney.
25 Things You Might Not Know About Thomas Jefferson | Mental Floss
As a result, Adams won the presidency with 71 of a possible electoral votes. But Jefferson with 68 votes, rather than Pinckney with 59 votes, became vice president. Aaron Burr, the Republican vice-presidential contender, received only 30 votes, while 48 other votes were scattered among nine minor candidates. This election produced the first and only mixed-party presidential team in the nation's history. Not looking forward to reentering the political fray and feeling unprepared to assume presidential responsibilities for foreign policy at a time when relations with European nations were strained, Jefferson may have been the only person in the history of American politics to celebrate the fact that he lost a presidential election.
He preferred the quietness of the vice presidency. Let those come to the helm who think they can steer clear of the difficulties. I have no confidence in myself for the undertaking. To his obvious satisfaction, he announced his own victory for the first office and that of Thomas Jefferson for the second. When the confirming news of his election reached Jefferson in Virginia, he initially hoped to avoid the trip to Philadelphia by seeking a senator who would administer the oath of office at his home.
But rumors were beginning to spread that Jefferson considered the vice presidency beneath his dignity. To quash that mistaken notion, the Virginian decided to attend the inauguration; but he requested that local officials downplay his arrival at the capital.
Despite these wishes, an artillery company and a gun salute greeted Jefferson on March 2 at the completion of his arduous day journey by horseback and stage coach. He stayed the first night with James Madison and then moved to a nearby hotel for the remainder of his week-and-a-half visit.
The Senate convened at 10 a. As the first order of business, Senate President pro tempore William Bingham administered the brief oath to the new vice president. Over six feet tall, with reddish hair and hazel eyes, and attired in a single-breasted long blue frock coat, Jefferson established a commanding presence as he in turn swore in the eight newly elected members among the 27 senators who were present that day. He then read a brief inaugural address. In that address Jefferson apologized in advance for any shortcomings members might perceive in the conduct of his duties.
Anticipating the role that would most define his vice-presidential legacy, Jefferson promised that he would approach his duties as presiding officer with "more confidence because it will depend on my will and not my capacity. The rules which are to govern the proceedings of this House, so far as they shall depend on me for their application, shall be applied with the most rigorous and inflexible impartiality, regarding neither persons, their views, nor principles, and seeing only the abstract proposition subject to my decision.
If in forming that decision, I concur with some and differ from others, as must of necessity happen, I shall rely on the liberality and candor of those from whom I differ, to believe that I do it on pure motives. Having devoted half of his less than three-minute speech to his role as presiding officer, Jefferson briefly referred to the Constitution and its defense.
But he quickly returned to his own more limited station, supposing that "these declarations [are] not pertinent to the occasion of entering into an office whose primary business is merely to preside over the forms of this House. Three potential roles awaited the new vice president in his as yet only marginally defined office. He could serve as an assistant to the president; he could concentrate on his constitutional duties as the Senate's presiding officer; or he could become an active leader of the Republican Party.
Jefferson had no interest in being an assistant to the chief executive. He told Elbridge Gerry that he considered his office "constitutionally confined to legislative functions," and he hoped those functions would not keep him away from his cherished Monticello.
A second daughter of that name was born the following year, but she died at age three. Jefferson included his written responses in a book, Notes on the State of Virginia Jefferson included extensive data about the state's natural resources and economy, and wrote at length about slavery, miscegenationand his belief that blacks and whites could not live together as free people in one society because of justified resentments of the enslaved.
Thomas Jefferson, 2nd Vice President (1797-1801)
Peterson described it as an accomplishment for which all Americans should be grateful. He was a member of the committee setting foreign exchange rates and recommended an American currency based on the decimal system which was adopted.
Jefferson was the principal author of the Land Ordinance ofwhereby Virginia ceded to the national government the vast area that it claimed northwest of the Ohio River. He insisted that this territory should not be used as colonial territory by any of the thirteen states, but that it should be divided into sections which could become states.
- Jefferson elected to the Continental Congress
- Thomas Jefferson Biography
- Thomas Jefferson
He plotted borders for nine new states in their initial stages and wrote an ordinance banning slavery in all the nation's territories. Congress made extensive revisions, including rejection of the ban on slavery. No man can replace him. Inhe met and fell in love with Maria Coswayan accomplished—and married—Italian-English musician of They saw each other frequently over a period of six weeks.
A man of broad interests and activity, Jefferson remains an inspiration, for both his political accomplishments and his vision for America. His father had been among the earliest settlers in this wilderness country, and his position of leadership transferred to his oldest son, along with five thousand acres of land. Jefferson became one of the best-educated Americans of his time.
At the age of seventeen he entered the College of William and Mary, where he got exciting first glimpses of "the expansion of science, and of the system of things in which we are placed. Jefferson was admitted to the bar, or an association for lawyers, in and established a successful practice. When the American Revolution —83 forced him to abandon his practice inhe turned these legal skills to the rebel cause.
Jefferson's public career began inwhen he served as a representative in the Virginia House of Burgesses, the nation's first elected body of government.
About this time, he began building Monticello. Perched on a wooded summit, the lovely home would become a lifelong occupation. Monticello, like the many other buildings Jefferson designed over the years, was an original, personal creation. His philosophy Jefferson rose to fame as an effective spokesman during the American Revolution, and his political thought would become the centerpiece of liberalism, or a movement to develop freedoms, in America.
In challenging the British Empire, Americans like Jefferson came to recognize their claims to an independent nation. Jefferson's most important contribution to the revolutionary debate was "A Summary View of the Rights of British America" He argued that Americans possessed the same natural rights to govern themselves as their ancestors had exercised when they moved to England from Germany.
Writings like Jefferson's, began to stir support for a revolution. Soon there would be no way of avoiding war with Great Britain. The Congress brought together many of America's prominent political figures of the time.
It was chiefly as a legislative draftsman, or legal writer, that Jefferson would make his mark, with his great work being the Declaration of Independence. Signed by most parties on July 4,the Declaration of Independence formally announced that the American colonies were separating from Great Britain. In June Jefferson was surprised to find himself at the head of the committee to prepare this paper.
He submitted a draft to John Adams — and Benjamin Franklin —who suggested only minor changes. Although many changes were made in the end, the declaration that emerged on July 4 bore the unmistakable stamp of Thomas Jefferson.
The Declaration of Independence clearly set forth the problems with British rule and expressed a political philosophy and a national faith in only one paragraph. Here, for the first time in history, ideas were laid as the foundation of a nation.
Natural equality, the inalienable or not able to be taken away rights of man, the freedom of the people, the right of revolution—these ideas gave the American Revolution high purpose. The British decision to attack in the South would, if successful, have made Virginia the critical battleground. Jefferson struggled against huge odds to aid the southern army in defending its territory from the invading British.
Early in the British invaded Virginia from the coast, slashed through to Richmond, and put the government to flight. The Redcoats, or British soldiers, followed, and Jefferson was chased from Monticello.