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Thomas Jefferson

president thomas jefferson Thomas Jefferson
third president of the united states

interesting facts
Thomas Jefferson increased the territory of the US by nearly two times with the purchase of the Louisiana Territory.

"We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists"

In 1800, Thomas Jefferson won over Burr with a majority of 73 electoral votes to 65. He called his election the "Revolution of 1800". However, it can hardly be called a revolution, in the sense that he received a little more than half the votes. Jefferson claimed that the election of 1800 was a "revolution" comparable to that of 1776. In truth, the outcome was not a mass upheaval or a popular mandate from anyone for anything. A switch of some 250 votes from New York would have resulted in Burr taking the election. Thomas Jefferson's Inagural Address was a classic statement of democratic principles, Seeking to ally Federalists fears and Republican pride, Jefferson said "We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists". As for foreign affairs, he pledged "honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." Parcelling out the loaves of office, Jefferson started the "spoil system". Federalists were retained at first, though in due course a considerable number of them were replaced by Republicans.

Federalist leaders remained adamantly opposed to Jefferson, but the people approved his policies. Internal taxes were reduced; the military budget was cut; the Alien and Sedition Acts were permitted to lapse; and plans were made to extinguish the public debt. Simplicity and frugality became the hallmarks of Jefferson's administration. The LOUISIANA PURCHASE (1803) capped his achievements. Ironically, Jefferson had to overcome constitutional scruples in order to take over the vast new territory without authorization by constitutional amendment. In this instance it was his Federalist critics who became the constitutional purists. Nonetheless, the purchase was received with popular enthusiasm. In the election of 1804, Jefferson swept every state except two--Connecticut and Delaware.

Jefferson's second administration began with a minor success--the favorable settlement concluding the Tripolitan War (1801-05), in which the newly created U.S. Navy fought its first engagements. The following year the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which the president had dispatched to explore the Louisiana Territory, returned triumphantly after crossing the continent. The West was also a source of trouble, however. The disaffected Aaron Burr engaged in a conspiracy, the details of which are still obscure, either to establish an independent republic in the Louisiana Territory or to launch an invasion of Spanish-held Mexico. Jefferson acted swiftly to arrest Burr early in 1807 and bring him to trial for treason. Burr was acquitted, however.

Jefferson's main concern in his second administration was foreign affairs, in which he experienced a notable failure. In the course of the Napoleonic Wars Britain and France repeatedly violated American sovereignty in incidents such as the Chesapeake affair (1807). Jefferson attempted to avoid a policy of either appeasement or war by the use of economic pressure.

The Embargo Act (Dec. 22, 1807), which prohibited virtually all exports and most imports and was supplemented by enforcing legislation, was designed to coerce British and French recognition of American rights. Although it failed, it did rouse many northerners, who suffered economically, to a state of defiance of national authority. The Federalist party experienced a rebirth of popularity. In 1809, shortly before he retired from the presidency, Jefferson signed the act repealing the embargo, which had been in effect for 15 months. The Embargo Act of 1807 although failing, greatly enhanced America's industries. Forbidden to trade, Americans had to make their own products. The Embargo precipitated the Industrial Revolution.

In the final 17 years of his life, Jefferson's major accomplishment was the founding (1819) of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. He conceived it, planned it, designed it, and supervised both its construction and the hiring of faculty.

The university was the last of three contributions by which Jefferson wished to be remembered; they constituted a trilogy of interrelated causes: freedom from Britain, freedom of conscience, and freedom maintained through education. On July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson died at Monticello.


events during jefferson's administrations 1801-1809 

cabinet and supreme court of jefferson


Ohio admitted as a state (1803).


Louisiana Purchase (1803).


Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Pacific (1804).


12th Amendment to Constitution provides separate ballots for president and vice-president (1804).


War against Tripoli (1801-05).


Trial of Aaron Burr (1807).


Fulton's steamboat makes successful trip (1807).


Disputes with France and England over neutral commerce.


Impressment conflicts with England (`Chesapeake' affair, 1807).


Embargo Act in force (1807-09).


Importation of slaves into United States forbidden (1808).


Vice-Presidents. Aaron Burr (1801-05); George Clinton (1805-09).


Secretary of State. James Madison (1801-09).


Secretaries of the Treasury. Samuel Dexter (1801); Albert Gallatin (1801-09).


Secretary of War. Henry Dearborn (1801-09).


Attorneys General. Levi Lincoln (1801-04); John Breckenridge (1805-06); Caesar A. Rodney (1807-09).


Secretary of the Navy. Robert Smith (1801-09).


Appointments to the Supreme Court. William Johnson (1804-34); Brockholst Livingston (1806-23); Thomas Todd (1807-26).




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