Thomas Jefferson

     Not only was he one of our founding fathers, he was also the third
president of the U.S. and the chairman of the Declaration of Independence
committee. Thomas Jefferson was born at Shadwell in Albemarle County, Va. on the
thirteenth of April in 1743. His father, Peter Jefferson, was a wealthy land
owner, but not really high up. He married Jane Randolph Jefferson who was from
one of the first families in Virginia. Thomas Jefferson had a house named

Monticello, which was built on his fatherís land,in which he put a great deal
of time. In 1772 he brought Martha Unyles Skelton, his wife, there. He had only
two children who lived through infancy, but he had six altogether. When his wife
died after ten years of marriage he went to Paris to get away from it all. Some
say that in Paris he fell in love with another women and thatís why he always
supported the French, even through the bloody revolution. Jefferson was elected

President in a very close match with Aaron Burr. When the votes were counted
each had seventy-three votes so it had to be decided by the House of

Representatives. Jefferson was obviously declared the winner. He was not a very
outspoken man like his predecessors had been. In fact, he dressed rather casual,
never wore a wig, and disliked public speaking which is probably why he didnít
address congress in person. He loved Paris and all facets about it. He enjoyed
fine cuisine and wine. Jefferson did not believe in slavery, but did not free
his slaves as had Washington. In his inaugural address, he said they were "all

Republicans, all Federalists in their devotion to the union," in an attempt to
bury the differences between his opponents and him. Jefferson, in his inaugural
address, promised: 1. "equal and exact justice to all men" of every shade of
political and religious opinion; 2. friendship with all nations, but no
alliances; 3. respect for the rights of all states while still presenting the"constitutional vigor" of the national government; 4. encouragement of
agriculture and commerce; 2 5. freedom of speech, press, and elections 6.
economy and honesty in the management of the countryís finances. Jefferson was
not a dumb man, he knew he had to have a bigger support base. In order to do
this, he followed a moderate course of action to win some Federalists over to
the Republicans side. He wanted to reduce the national debt by reducing the army
and navy. He hand picked only the most brilliant people for his cabinet. His
cabinet included: 1. Secretary of State: The architect of the constitution,

James Madison and; 2. Secretary of the Treasury: A financier from Pennsylvania,

Swiss-born Albert Gallatin. Gallatin, following Jeffersonís ideas, came up
with a budget that made about seventy percent go to paying off the debt which
meant that defense money was cut in half. He also came up with a new five year
naturalization act. The Alien and Sedition Acts and the excise tax, which had
started the Whiskey Rebellion, were repealed. The Bank and tariff were allowed
to continue, though. While Jefferson was in office he was hassled by the Barbary
pirates like every other country. He decided to do something about it. The

Barbary pirates were asking for more and more "presents," so Jefferson sent
some warships to tell the pirates off. They got the message, but at a lower
rate. The problem wasnít really solved until the French captured Algiers in

1830. Jefferson also saw the Mississippi was a very, very important river. He
thought that he would have to deal with Spain, but Napoleon, from France, bought
the Louisiana Territory for his own plans. When Jefferson heard about this, he
sent Monroe and Livingston to just buy the area around the mouth of the

Mississippi, but, when they got there, Napoleonís plans for invading Haiti
were foiled so he was willing to sell 3 the WHOLE Louisiana area!! Monroe and

Livingston snatched up the deal for $15 million before Napoleon could change his
mind. They could only hope they were supported when they got back. Jefferson
asked Congress to approve the money and showed the strength to go against
everything heís preached and went for "broad" construction instead of his
usual "strict" construction. Congress approved the money and, since they
were already planning an expedition behind Spainís back, they sent an
expedition to go exploring. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were chosen for
this. They started out in 1804 with about 40 men and hired a guide and
interpreter. They made it to the Pacific and then claimed the land. Pike was
also exploring around this time. When Jefferson came to office he found some
commissions for new judges which Adams had literally signed the night before he
left office. Jefferson refused to give them out and a man named Mar bury, who
was one of the appointees, took them to court. When the supreme court came back
with its decision, it set a precedent that was followed ever since. The supreme
court decided that the law that says that a govít official has to hand out the
commissions was unconstitutional. The constitution said nowhere in it that the
supreme court could call something unconstitutional, but Jefferson was happy he
didnít have to appoint them so he shut his mouth. So, as you can see Jefferson
did a lot of great things as President of the United States. His popularity
didnít start there though. He was on the committee of the Declaration of

Independence. He wrote several essays on the constitution. So as you can see,

Jefferson was a great man.