Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. His terms lasted from the year 1801 to the year 1809. Jefferson was an American revolutionary leader as well as an influential political philosopher. Jefferson was among a group of the most brilliant Americans that resulted from the Enlightenment in Europe. Possibly one of the best writers during his time, Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.
Jefferson??s status as a Virginia aristocrat gave him the two most important things to become an educated man, which was a difficult thing to become during that time. Those two things, time and the resources, allowed him to educate himself in history, literature, law, architecture, science, and philosophy. He also had a great deal of influence on his ideals that came directly from the European culture and thought because he had been a diplomat and friend of French and British intellectuals.
Jefferson was born on the thirteenth day of April of the year 1743 at Shadwell in Goochland (now in Albemarle) Co., Virginia, which was at the time considered a western outpost and was to remain as Jefferson??s lifelong home. He was the son of Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph Jefferson. His father, Peter, was a surveyor, a cartographer, and a plantation owner and he was also largely self-educated. His mother, Jane was from the prominent Rudolph family of colonial Virginia. Jefferson??s intense interest in botany, geology, cartography, North American exploration, and love of Greek and Latin are due largely from his father and his surrounding environment out in the west where he also absorbed the democratic views of his Western countrymen.
For several years, Jefferson studied at the local grammar and classical schools. After that, he entered the College of William and Mary in the year 1760. During his time at the college, he had become a close friend to three prominent residents of Williamsburg: William Small, George Wythe, and Francis Fauquier who was the lieutenant governor of the colony. Small was of the college faculty who Jefferson had studied under. Small had an in depth knowledge of the Scottish Englightenment and its approach to law, history, philosophy, and science. He had also introduced him to the natural sciences and to rational methods of inquiry. Wythe was of the Virginia bar. In Wythe, Jefferson had found an equally gifted teacher of law. Wythe led Jefferson to see the study of law not as a narrow vocational preparation but as a means of understanding the history, culture, institutions, and morals of people. After two years of college, Jefferson was admitted to the bar in 1767. He was then elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in the year 1769, which was the beginning in his long career in politics.
During Jefferson's years from 1769 to the year 1775, he was been a leader of the patriot faction in the colonial house of burgesses. He helped form and was a member of the Virginia Committee of correspondence. During the First Virginia Convention, Jefferson prepared a paper called A Summary view of the Rights of British America in the year 1774. In the paper, he brilliantly expounded
his view that the British Parliament had not authority over the colonies and that the only bond that the colonies had with England was of voluntary allegiance to the king among the colonists.
Jefferson's most famous act came during his time as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in the years 1775 to 1776. Although the Declaration of Independence was given to a committee to draft, the document was the wholly work of Jefferson except for the minor altercations by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and the others on the floor or the Congress.
During Jefferson??s first term as president, a major presidential achievement sparked because of his lifelong interest in the West and in American-French relations. This achievement was the Louisiana Purchase in the year 1803. This was the greatest land bargain in the history of the United States. The results from this purchase doubled the size of the United States and greatly improved the strength of the country materially and strategically. The purchase also provided a powerful impetus toward the western expansion in the United States.
The territory itself was owned by France and expanded over 2,144,520 square kilometers (828,000 square miles) in area. The territory took up the present-day states of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa,