Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The American President: #3 Thomas Jefferson

Please feel free to add anything you want about Thomas Jefferson

I have to note here that there is so much that could be discussed during this time period in our history that I wouldn't know where to start, so I am just picking out a few random things... This really is an amazing time in our history.

3rd President of the USA; Born April 13, 1743 at Shadwell in Virginia; Died July 4th, 1826 at Montincello in Virginia

- Two-term President: March 4, 1801 - March 4, 1809
- First term Vice-President (Aaron Burr); Second term Vice-President (George Clinton)
- Vice-President ot John Adams (1797-1801)
- Secretary of State 1790-1793

- Nicknames: Father of the Declaration of Independence; Man of the People
- Military experience: Colonel, Virginia Militia 1770-1779 (not in active service)
- Religion: Deist
- Profession: Lawyer; Farmer
- Higher Education: College of William and Mary; 1762
- Democratic-Republican

- Jefferson is on the nickel and the $2 bill

- Election of 1800: Electoral vote tied at 73 with Aaron Burr - after dozens and dozens of recounts Jefferson selected by House of Representatives with Burr beating out John Adams in his re-election bid; no popular vote
-Election of 1804: Electoral vote 162-14 over Charles C. Pinckney; no popular vote

Random thought #1: The world population reached 1 billion in 1802

Random thought #2: James Callender is perhaps one of the earliest publishers to be considered a 'National Enquirer' or 'Tmz' type person... He threatened and followed through on promises to report on findings about Jefferson including his belief that Jefferson was having sex with at least one of his black slaves. In modern times it was famously reported that DNA testing linked black ancestors to Jefferson, though it was not conclusive if it was Thomas Jefferson as multiple Jefferson were known to reside in the same place.

Random thought #3: in 1803 the Louisiana purchase was completed which amounted to $15 million dollars, or 3 cents per acre, for basically all the land going west... This effectively doubled the size of the United States/ It was actually James Monroe who played the major part of being in France to solidify the deal. Once purchased Jefferson eagerly sent out the team of Lewis and Clark to map out and report on findings in 1804.

Random thought #4: Before winning second term election, Aaron Burr decided to jump ship from Jefferson feeling the Vice Presidency was a stale political post. He wanted the post of Governor of New York, which Alexander Hamilton was not too excited to allow. Hamilton admitted, after being confronted by Burr, that he had indeed slandered him in an effort to thwart his chances at winning. Burr challenged him to what is now an historic duel, in which Burr shot and killed Hamilton. This basically killed his political life as well.

Burr then went on work towards a plan to seize a large portion of the newly owned Louisiana territory (for reasons that would take too long) and eventually was tried for treason in court - he was acquitted when the trial judge and many of those involved found great fault with Jefferson for already voicing his opinion that Burr was in fact guilty.

Random thought #5: Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence because his peers deemed him the best writer of all, and he took tremendous pride in his work. Late in life he made sure that his tombstone would read his three proudest achievements in life:

"Here was buried
Thomas Jefferson
Author of the Declaration of Independence
of the Statute of Virginia for
religious freedom and Father
of the University of Virginia"

Jefferson believed strongly in allowing states to govern themselves as much as possible and that the central government play a more minimal role in the overall day to day activities of the union. He had a troubled personal life with the death of many infant children and an untimely death of his wife. If it weren't for these tragedies, however, it is very likely he would not have achieved much of what he did, for he quite often 'retired' to his home and gardens and writings and would have been content had it not been for th edeath of his wife, which ultimately brought him back to politics.

Thoughts on his inaugural addresses:

My main thought is that I was bored reading his inaugural addresses. In his first he spends quite a bit of time appeasing opposing factions who supported Aarron Burr, keenly aware that he was given the post by the slimmest of margins and not wanting upset 50% of those around him. In his second address he does bring up one very important issue with our political system - the separation of church and state - which is something that, although he greatly felt was necessary, he was unable to fully have passed during his time. I also freely admit to not delving into these two speeches too much because I really just wasn't feeling them, even after a second skimming.

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