Today we’re going to talk about Founding Father and Former President, Thomas Jefferson!
So, Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States. He ran for President in 1800 and went against at that time, the current President, John Adams. 1800 was the first Presidential Election where both parties nominated who would run on behalf of their party and where both parties would actually campaign.
Now at this time, voters would also vote for not only their President, but their Vice President too and the Electoral Committee had to be careful because they didn’t want the Vice President candidate getting more votes than the actual President candidate.
But then a Republican Elector forgot to throw his vote away and there ended up being a tie between Thomas Jefferson and his Vice President candidate, Aaron Burr. Because there was a tie the election went to the House of Representatives (as it says in the Constitution) and Thomas Jefferson was finally named President thanks to the intervention of Alexander Hamilton. One of the main reasons why Hamilton would of named Jefferson over Burr is because Hamilton and Burr actually hated each other, so much so that Burr actually shot and killed Hamilton.
But with Jefferson’s election also came change. His election showed that people wanted a more democratic policy where common people were free to express their opinions. After this The Federalist Party were never really a threat in Presidential Elections again.
Jefferson’s campaign slogan was “Jefferson and Liberty” but the Liberty in question was severely limited. Only a fraction of white men were allowed to vote and of course, there were no voting rights for the slaves.
Jefferson, without beating around the bush was a racist and although he fathered a child with one of his slaves, doesn’t mean that he wasn’t a racist. But slaves understood Liberty and they wanted it, so not only was there an election in 1800 but there was also a large scale of slave uprising.
But Jefferson’s idea was to reduce the size of Government, lower taxes, shrink the military and make it possible for America to become a bucolic, agrarian, empire of liberty. So, how well did he do? Well, really well at first. Jefferson got rid of all taxes, except the whiskey tax. But after waking up with a hangover due to too much whiskey, he paid off half of the nations debt. He also shrank the Army and the Navy and made sure that America wouldn’t become a centralised, English state for at least 60 years.
As much as Jefferson wanted to do away with the federalist party, it wasn’t long until he found himself in front of the supreme court. Jefferson had appointed most Republicans in government roles, but there wasn’t much he could do about the Supreme Court because the members of the court serve the position for life. The Chief Justice at this time was John Marshall who as it happened was a federalist.
Jefferson basically doubled the size of America though in what is known as “The Louisiana Purchase”. Jefferson purchased the land of Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon was eager to sell the land because of the rebellion that was going on in Haiti had soured him on the idea of colonies and because he needed money. Jefferson wanted to purchase New Orleans because western farmers were shipping their products through the city.
So, why did he do it? well, his idea was that if America expanded over a larger stretch of land, then every white man in America would be able to own his own little farm and that would make Americans more independent. Because a small farmer who doesn’t have to rely on the market for food, shelter or anything really, could be well and truly independent. Jefferson also wanted free trade among nations and his solution was to get congress to forbid all American ships from sailing to foreign ports.
At this time the United Kingdom depended on America for production such as wood and cotton and if America had cut off trade with them then the idea was that The British would stop impressing sailors and end their blockades. But it didn’t work and Britain and France were too busy fighting each other that it didn’t even notice America’s embargo and the idea was that if America couldn’t get European manufactured products, then they would just make it themselves.
But Although Jefferson’s embargo was a huge failure, Thomas Jefferson is revered and reviled in almost equal measure in American History. The Deceleration of Independence, which he mainly drafted is a signal achievement delineating some heroic ideas for the founding of the United States. But also, embedding some of its crucial shortcomings.
Thomas Jefferson accomplished more than John Adams or George Washington ever did when it came to government, he took land from the Indians and he increased the size of manufacturing and it’s reasons like that and many others why Jefferson’s Presidency is still worth researching.