Thomas Jefferson

Essay by awesomeman281B, October 2008

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Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States of American. He was born on April 13, 1743, in Albemarie County, Virginia. He inherited his father’s skills of being a planter and surveyor of some 5,000 acres of land. He studied law at the College of William and Mary. (Wales)In 1772, he married Martha Wayles Skelton. They got married on New Year's Day, 1772, at the bride's plantation home "The Forest," near Williamsburg. Martha Wayles was born on October 30, 1748. She was the daughter of John Wayles and Martha Eppes, wealthy plantation owners in Charles City, Virginia. She died on September 6, 1782.

In the Continental Congress, Jefferson contributed pen rather than his voice to the patriot cause. Jefferson was eloquent as a correspondent, but he was no public speaker. He was the "silent member" of the Congress. Jefferson, at the age of 33, drafted the Declaration of Independence.

In the years to follow, he fought to make its words a reality in Virginia. Jefferson succeeded Benjamin Franklin as minister to France in 1785. His sympathy for the French Revolution led him into conflict with Alexander Hamilton when Jefferson was Secretary of State in President Washington's Cabinet. He resigned in 1793.

In 1779-1781 he served as governor of Virginia. Later, in 1790-1793 he served as the first United States Secretary of State. In 1797, he served as the Vice President for one term. (4 years) Finally, in 1801, he was elected as the third president of the United States and served for two terms.

During Jefferson's second term, he was increasingly preoccupied with keeping the Nation from involvement in the Napoleonic wars, though both England and France interfered with the neutral rights of American merchantmen. Jefferson's attempted solution, an embargo upon American shipping, worked badly and...