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Biography of homas Jefferson (Essay Sample)


Biography of Thomas Jameson


1 Thomas Jefferson Life and Profession
1.1 Educational Background
Thomas Jefferson, America's Founding Father was a son to Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph. His father was a surveyor and a plantation farmer while his mother came from a very distinguished family in Virginia. An amalgamation of Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph's statuses opened Thomas' window into thriving in privileges accorded to gentry, including superior formal education. His childhood education embodied directions from tutors at Tuckahoe besides Randolph children. In 1752, he commenced his learning in local school under the guidance of a Scottish Presbyterian minister. At the age of 9 he was introduced to learning Latin, French and Greek languages besides finding passion in horse riding. Furthermore, from 1758 to 1760 he schooled near Gordonsville under Reverend James Maury where he learnt science, classics and history.[Dumas Malon, Jefferson, The Virginian. Jefferson and His Time()] [Merrill D. Peterson, Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation; a Biography (Oxford University Press, 1970), 7-9.] [Peterson, Thomas Jefferson, 1970.]
In March 1760, Jefferson proceeded to the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg at the age of 17. Professor William Small though him Metaphysics, Mathematic and Philosophy. Professor Small introduced the eager to learn Jefferson to special writings from British Empiricists like Isaac Newton, John Locke and Francis Bacon.[College of William and Mary, Bulletin (1938), vol. 32, no.4] [Daniel H. Marchi, Past Future Power Belongs to the Reserved Power Clause (AuthorHouse, 2013),418]
1.2 Family Life
He was born on April 13, 1743 in Shadwell, Goochland County in Virginia which is presently part if Albemarle County. Although it is asserted that he was never interested in learning about his ancestry, he was aware of his paternal grandfather. Before his parents passed on, he was appointed the rightful heir of his father's Tuckahoe plantation. Besides this, he became a guardian to his siblings. After Peter Jefferson passed away in 1757, his estate was divided between Thomas and Randolph, his brother. He inherited around 5, 000 acres of land which included Monticello. In addition to the inherited land, Thomas inherited between 20 to 40 slaves from his father although he only had 41 slaves by 1774; when he had become of age to take control of his inheritance.[Dumas Melon, Jefferson, The Virginian (Boston : Little, Brown, 1948), 4] [Melon, Jefferson, 1948, pp.5-6.] [Cynthia A. Kierner, Martha Jefferson Randolph: Her Life and Times (University of North Carolina Press, 2012),96] [Monticello Association (Charlottesville, Va.), Collected papers to commemorate fifty years of the Monticello Association of the Descendants of Thomas Jefferson, ed. George Green Shackelford, (The Association, 1965), vol.1]
On January 1, 1772, after Thomas had practiced as a circuit lawyer for many years, he married Martha Wayles Skeleton.. Like Thomas, she read extensively and loved music. As an accomplished piano player, she would play with Thomas who was a violin virtuoso. It has documented that their mutual love for music made Martha love and be attracted to him.["Miller Center" American President Bibliography of Thomas Jefferson. Accessed January 26, 2014,] [E. M. Halliday, Understanding Thomas Jefferson(HarperCollins, 2009),48-49]
His marriage with Martha lasted for ten years and she died. He had sired six children with her namely; Martha, Jane Randolph, an infant son (1777), Mary (Lucy Elizabeth and Lucy Elizabeth. After his wife's death, he still lost three children with only Martha and Mary making it to adulthood. He suffered stress and it is recorded that he spent his time mourning his wife in secluded roads according to his promise to her and he never remarried.[Ralph G. Giordano, The Architectural Ideology of Thomas Jefferson(McFarland, 2012),36] [Halliday, Understanding Thomas, 2009. 48-53]
1.3 The House of the Burgesses
In 1765, Thomas Jefferson attended the House of Burgesses and witnessed Patrick Henry's noncompliant stance against the Stamp Act. This served as a precursor to his appointment and active role in the House. In May 11, 1769 Thomas Jefferson was mandated to represent Albemarle County in the Virginia House of Burgesses. He opposed; through his written set of resolutions, the British Parliament's Intolerable Acts passed in 1774. Later on, his written resolutions against the Acts were expanded in A Summary View of the Rights of British America, re-echoing his belief that people possessed the liberty to govern themselves. He served in the House of Burgesses until June 20, 1775. He potentiated revolutionary politics through his writings and ability in distilling voluminous data into vital information.["The Thomas Jefferson Papers Timeline: 1743–1827" Retrieved January 26, 2014.]
2 Thomas Jefferson Political Profession
2.1Declaring of Independence
As his political star continued shinning, in 1775, Thomas Jefferson found his way into the Second Continental Congress where he served as a delegate. This was soon after the American Revolutionary War and the need for proper leadership and governance was prominent. Although new, John Adams together with his cousin Samuel became his political allies. In 1776, he was entrusted with the duty of drafting a declaration backing up resolution of independence. He worked in a five-member committee but he took the responsibility of writing the declaration. The Declaration potentiated human rights and it is recorded that it is one of Thomas Jefferson's achievements.[Merrill D. Peterson, Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation; a Biography.(Oxford University Press, 1970) ,87] [Pauline Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence.(Knopf, 1997).] [Joseph J. Ellis, American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic (Random House, 2008), 55-56]
2.2 Legislator and Governor
Jefferson's desire to abolish Primogeniture in favor of general education and his support for freehold suffrage, kept his political star shinning brighter even after independence. In September 26, 1776, he was elected to represent Albemarle County in the Virginia House of Delegates. He was mandated to study and revise the state laws. He came up with 126 drafted bills which covered the judicial system, land policies, power exercised by clergy on institutions, including his former college- William and Mary College- and public education. He served in legislator until June 1, 1779.[Peterson, 1970, PP. 105-106] [John Ferling, Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 (Oxford University Press, 2004), 26.] [Peterson 1970, pp. 146–149]
He climbed the political ladder in 1779 after being elected governor to represent Virginia. When he was re-elected governor of Virginia in 1780 for his second term, he made Richmond the state capital by transferring it from Williamsburg.[Leonard Liggio, "The Life and Works of Thomas Jefferson" The Locke Luminar, ed. Amanda J. Owens (George Mason University, Retrieved January 26, 2014). Vol. 2, No. 1 part 3]
2.3 Country Minister
Jefferson's active role as a politician and statesman accrued him the appointment of minister and he was sent to France; joining his colleague ministers Benjamin Franklin and John Adams who had been sent to negotiate commercial trade agreements with Spain, England and France. In order to assume his new role, on May 11, 1784 he resigned from the congress and sailed to France. On his arrival, he succeeded Franklin who resigned as Minister to France in March 1785. He served as Minister to France until 1789.[John J. Stewart, Thomas Jefferson: Forerunner to the Restoration. (Cedar Fort, 1997),39]
2.4 State Secretary
President Washington appointed Jefferson Secretary of State in 1790. He became vocal in resenting funding war debts and other national fiscal policy advocated by Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of Treasury. Furthermore, on May 23, 1792, Jefferson wrote to the president urging him to rally citizenry through a party inspired by the need to defend democracy. He advised him against the bank's influence that had corrupted the interests of leaders. It articulated that his letter became a revolutionary tool that formed the present day Democratic Party. History has recorded that Jefferson's opposition to Hamilton resulted to the formation of the anti-administration party (Republican). Jefferson and James Madison, the organizers of the party, in collaboration with his campaign manager John J. Beckley, attempted building a nationwide network of comrades to undermine Hamilton and these actions nearly cost him his cabinet seat. Although he was not sacked, he later quit office voluntarily.[Ellen Holmes Pearson, "Jefferson versus Hamilton." Accessed January 26, 2014.] [William Greider, Who Will Tell The People, (New York, (1992), 246] [Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton,( Penguin Press, 2004), 818]
2.5 Vice President
In 1796, Jefferson became the Democratic-Republican (which was called Republican) presidential candidate but lost to John Adams. In spite his loss, his electoral votes accrued him the vice presidency serving from 1797 to 1801. Unlike his predecessor, John Adams, he trod carefully by taking time to decide issues of procedure and letting the Senate conduct their debates. While presiding over the Senate, he endeavored to remedy the lack of rules to guide presiding officers in making decision which were previously left at their discretion. His knowledge on parliamentary law and procedures made it easy for him to effectively preside over the senate.[Bernstein 2003 p. 117.] [Richard B, Bernstein, Thomas Jefferson (Oxford Univer...
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