Thomas Jefferson – Continental Congressman – Virginia

 

Jefferson was the first United States Secretary of State (1790–1793) serving under President George Washington. In opposition to Alexander Hamilton’s Federalism, Jefferson and his close friend, James Madison, organized the Democratic-Republican Party, and subsequently resigned from Washington’s cabinet. Elected Vice President in 1796, when he came in second to President John Adams of the Federalists, Jefferson opposed Adams and with Madison secretly wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which attempted to nullify the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Elected president in what Jefferson called the Revolution of 1800, he oversaw the purchase of the vast Louisiana Territory from France (1803), and sent the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) to explore the new west. Jefferson is considered a primary architect of American expansionism; the United States having doubled in size during his presidency. His second term was beset with troubles at home, such as the failed treason trial of his former Vice President Aaron Burr. With escalating trouble with Britain who was challenging American neutrality and threatening shipping at sea, he tried economic warfare with his embargo laws which only damaged American trade. In 1803, President Jefferson initiated a process of Indian tribal removal and relocation to the Louisiana Territory west of the Mississippi River, in order to open lands for eventual American settlers. In 1807 he drafted and signed into law a bill banning the importation of slaves into the United States.

A leader in the Enlightenment, Jefferson was a polymath who spoke five languages and was deeply interested in science, invention, architecture, religion and philosophy and was an active member and eventual president of the American Philosophical Society. These interests led him to the founding of the University of Virginia after his presidency. He designed his own large mansion on a 5,000 acre plantation near Charlottesville, Virginia, which he named Monticello and the University of Virginia building. While not a notable orator, Jefferson was a skilled writer and corresponded with many influential people in America and Europe throughout his adult life.

After Martha Jefferson, his wife of eleven years, died in 1782, Jefferson kept his promise to her that he would never remarry. Their marriage had produced six children, of whom two survived to adulthood.

As long as he lived, Jefferson expressed opposition to slavery, yet, he owned hundreds of slaves and freed only a few of them. Since his own day, controversy has ensued over allegations that he fathered children by his slave, Sally Hemings; DNA tests in 1998, together with historical research, suggest he fathered at least one. Although he has been criticized by many present-day scholars over the issues of racism and slavery, Jefferson remains rated as one of the greatest U.S. presidents.

==Early life and career==

The third of ten children, Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 (April 2, 1743 OS) at the family home in Shadwell, Goochland County, Virginia, now part of Albemarle County. His father was Peter Jefferson, a planter and surveyor. He was of possible Welsh descent, although this remains unclear. His mother was Jane Randolph, daughter of Isham Randolph, a ship’s captain and sometime planter. Peter and Jane married in 1739. Thomas Jefferson showed little interest in learning about his ancestry; he only knew of the existence of his paternal grandfather.

Before the widower William Randolph, an old friend of Peter Jefferson, died in 1745, he appointed Peter as guardian to manage his Tuckahoe Plantation and care for his four children. That year the Jeffersons relocated to Tuckahoe, where they lived for the next seven years before returning to Shadwell in 1752. Peter Jefferson died in 1757 and the Jefferson estate was divided between Peter’s two sons; Thomas and Randolph. Thomas inherited approximately {convert|5000|acre|ha sqmi|lk=off} of land, including Monticello and between 20 and 40 slaves. He took control of the property after he came of age at 21. The precise amount of land and number of slaves that Jefferson inherited is estimated. The first known record Jefferson made in regards to slave ownership, was in 1774, when he owned 41.

===Education===

Jefferson began his childhood education under the direction of tutors at Tuckahoe along with the Randolph children.{sfn|Malone|1948|p=22} In 1752, Jefferson began attending a local school run by a Scottish Presbyterian minister. At the age of nine, Jefferson began studying Latin, Greek, and French; he learned to ride horses, and began to appreciate the study of nature. He studied under Reverend James Maury from 1758 to 1760 near Gordonsville, Virginia. While boarding with Maury’s family, he studied history, science and the classics.

At age 16, Jefferson entered the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, and first met the law professor George Wythe, who became his influential mentor. He studied mathematics, metaphysics, and philosophy under Professor William Small, who introduced the enthusiastic Jefferson to the writings of the British Empiricists, including John Locke, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton. He also improved his French, Greek, and violin. A diligent student, Jefferson displayed an avid curiosity in all fields and graduated in 1762, completing his studies in only two years. Jefferson read law while working as a law clerk for Wythe. During this time, he also read a wide variety of English classics and political works. Jefferson was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1767.

Throughout his life, Jefferson depended on books for his education. He collected and accumulated thousands of books for his library at Monticello. When Jefferson’s father Peter died Thomas inherited, among other things, his large library.{sfn|Ferling|2000|p=48} A significant portion of Jefferson’s library was also bequeathed to him in the will of George Wythe, who had an extensive collection. After the British burned the Library of Congress in 1814 Jefferson offered to sell his collection of more than six thousand books to the Library of Congress for $23,950. After realizing he was no longer in possession of such a grand collection he wrote in a letter to John Adams, “I cannot live without books”. He intended to pay off some of his large debt, but immediately started buying more books. In February 2011 the New York Times reported that a part of Jefferson’s retirement library, containing 74 volumes with 28 book titles, was discovered at Washington University in St. Louis. In honor of Jefferson’s contribution, the library’s website for federal legislative information was named THOMAS.

===Marriage and family===

After practicing as a circuit lawyer for several years, Jefferson married the 23-year-old widow Martha Wayles Skelton on January 1, 1772. Martha Jefferson was attractive, gracious and popular with her friends; she was a frequent hostess for Jefferson and managed the large household. They had a happy marriage. She read widely, did fine needle work and was an amateur musician. Jefferson played the violin and Martha was an accomplished piano player. It is said that she was attracted to Thomas largely because of their mutual love of music. During the ten years of their marriage, Martha bore six children: Martha, called Patsy, (1772–1836); Jane (1774–1775); an unnamed son (1777); Mary Wayles, called Polly, (1778–1804); Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781); and Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785). Only Martha and Mary survived to adulthood. After her father John Wayles died in 1773, Martha and her husband Jefferson inherited his 135 slaves, {convert|11000|acre|ha sqmi|lk=off} and the debts of his estate. These took Jefferson and other co-executors of the estate years to pay off, which contributed to his financial problems. Later in life, Martha Jefferson suffered from diabetes and ill health, and frequent childbirth further weakened her. A few months after the birth of her last child, Martha died on September 6, 1782, at the age of 33. Jefferson was at his wife’s bedside and was distraught after her death. In the following three weeks, Jefferson shut himself in his room, where he paced back and forth until he was nearly exhausted. Later he would often take long rides on secluded roads to mourn for his wife. As he had promised his wife, Jefferson never remarried.

===Monticello===

In 1768, Jefferson began construction of his primary residence, Monticello, (Italian for “Little Mountain”) on a hilltop overlooking a 5,000 acre plantation.{#tag:ref|His other properties included Shadwell, Tufton, Lego, Pantops and his retreat, Poplar Forest He also owned an unimproved mountaintop, Montalto.|group=”note”} Construction was done mostly by local masons and carpenters, assisted by Jefferson’s slaves. Jefferson moved into the South Pavilion (an outbuilding) in 1770, where his new wife, Martha, joined him in 1772. Turning Monticello into a neoclassical masterpiece after the Palladian style would be his continuing project.

In 18th century colonial Virginia there were no architecture schools, so Jefferson learned the trade on his own from various books and by studying some of the various classical architectural designs of the day. His “bible” was Andrea Palladio’s The Four Books of Architecture, which taught him the basic principles of classical design. While Minister to France during 1784–1789, Jefferson had opportunity to see some of the classical buildings with which he had become acquainted from his reading, as well as to discover the “modern” trends in French architecture then fashionable in Paris. In 1794, following his service as Secretary of State (1790–93), he began rebuilding Monticello based on the ideas he had acquired in Europe. The remodeling continued throughout most of his presidency (1801–09). The most notable change was the addition of the octagonal dome.

===Lawyer and House of Burgesses===

Jefferson studied law in colonial Virginia from 1768 to 1773 with his friend and mentor, George Wythe. Jefferson’s client list featured members of Virginia’s elite families, including members of his mother’s family, the Randolphs. Following his study with George Wythe, Jefferson was admitted to the bar of the General Court of Virginia in 1767 and then lived with his mother at Shadwell. His practice took him up and down the Valley from Staunton to Winchester. It was while he was at Shadwell that he lost his library, legal papers and notes for the coming legal term to a fire. He was desperate, even frantic, but George Wythe consoled him with a line from Virgil, “Carry on, and preserve yourselves for better times.”

Beside practicing law, Jefferson represented Albemarle County in the Virginia House of Burgesses beginning on May 11, 1769 and ending June 20, 1775. Though inheriting 150 slaves from his father, Jefferson proved more willing to reform Virginia’s slavery in his early career than later when he became an embodiment of slave-holding interest in the new republic. In 1769 he made one effort to enact enabling legislation for the masters’ “permission of the emancipation of slaves.” thus taking away the discretion in each case from the royal Governor and his General Court. It was rejected, and although Jefferson had persuaded his cousin Richard Bland to take the lead, the reaction in the House was conclusive. Jefferson recalled Bland was “treated with the grossest indecorum.”

As a lawyer, Jefferson was closely involved with and took on a number of freedom suits for slaves seeking their freedom. He took the case of Samuel Howell (i.e.Samuel Howell v. Wade Netherland) without charging him a fee. Howell was the grandson of a white woman and a black man who sued that he should be freed immediately, not waiting until the statutory age of emancipation at thirty-one for such a mixed-race case. Jefferson made a natural-law argument, “everyone comes into the world with a right to his own person and using it at his own will … This is what is called personal liberty, and is given him by the author of nature, because it is necessary for his own sustenance.” This was Jefferson’s first known public comment on the idea of natural law — an idea that he would later use in the Declaration of Independence. At this point the judge hearing the case abruptly cut him off and Jefferson lost the case. As a consolation Jefferson gave Howell some money, presumably used to help him when he ran away shortly thereafter.

While smallpox inoculation was still discouraged in many of the colonies including Virginia, the procedure was brought to Norfolk County, Virginia, and it resulted in riots in 1768 and again in 1769. Jefferson agreed to defend the victims, including Dr. Archibald Campbell, whose house had been burned as a result of the inoculations carried out there. Jefferson, who had been inoculated himself in Philadelphia at age 23, would give up his law practice before the case was resolved, but he later served on the General Assembly committee proposing to reduce the 1769 restrictions on smallpox inoculation.

Following the passage of the Intolerable Acts by the British Parliament in 1774, Jefferson wrote a set of resolutions against the acts. These were later expanded into A Summary View of the Rights of British America, in which he expressed his belief that people had the right to govern themselves.

==Political career from 1775 to 1800==

===Declaration of Independence===

Jefferson served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress beginning in June 1775, soon after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. He didn’t know many people in the Congress, but sought out John Adams who, along with his cousin Samuel, had emerged as a leader of the convention.{sfn|Peterson|1970|p=87} Jefferson and Adams established a friendship that would last the rest of their lives; it led to the drafting of Jefferson to write the declaration of independence. When Congress began considering a resolution of independence in June 1776, Adams ensured that Jefferson was appointed to the five-man committee to write a declaration in support of the resolution. After discussing the general outline for the document, the committee decided that Jefferson would write the first draft. The committee in general, and Jefferson in particular, thought Adams should write the document. Adams persuaded the committee to choose Jefferson, who was reluctant to take the assignment, and promised to consult with the younger man. Over the next seventeen days, Jefferson had limited time for writing and finished the draft quickly. Consulting with other committee members, Jefferson also drew on his own proposed draft of the Virginia Constitution, George Mason’s draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, and other sources. The other committee members made some changes. Most notably Jefferson had written, “We hold these truths to be sacred and un-deniable…” Franklin changed it to, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”{sfn|Peterson|1970|p=90} A final draft was presented to the Congress on June 28, 1776. The title of the document was “A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.”

Jefferson viewed the Independence of the American people from the mother country Britain as breaking away from “parent stock”, and that the War of Independence from Britain was a natural outcome of being separated by the Atlantic Ocean. Jefferson viewed English colonists were compelled to rely on “common sense” and rediscover the “laws of nature”. According to Jefferson, the Independence of the original British colonies was in a historical succession following a similar pattern when the Saxons colonized Britain and left their mother country Europe hundreds of years earlier.

After voting in favor of the resolution of independence on July 2, Congress turned its attention to the declaration. Over three days of debate, Congress made changes and deleted nearly a fourth of the text, most notably a passage critical of the slave trade.{sfn|Ellis|1996|p=50} While Jefferson resented the changes, he did not speak publicly about the revisions. On July 4, 1776, the Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence and the delegates signed the document. The Declaration would eventually be considered one of Jefferson’s major achievements; his preamble has been considered an enduring statement of human rights. All men are created equal has been called “one of the best-known sentences in the English language”, containing “the most potent and consequential words in American history”. The passage came to represent a moral standard to which the United States should strive. This view was notably promoted by Abraham Lincoln, who based his philosophy on it, and argued for the Declaration as a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted.

===Virginia state legislator and Governor===

After Independence, Jefferson returned to Virginia and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for Albemarle County.{sfn|Peterson|1970|pp=101–102}{sfn|Ferling|2004|p=26} Before his return, he commented on the drafting of the state’s constitution; he continued to support freehold suffrage, by which only property holders could vote.{sfn|Peterson|1970|pp=105–106} He served as a Delegate from September 26, 1776 – June 1, 1779, as the war continued. Jefferson wanted to abolish primogeniture and provide for general education, which he hoped to make the basis of “republican government.” {sfn|Peterson|1970|pp=105–106} He also wanted to disestablish the Anglican church in Virginia, but this was not done until 1786, while he was in France as US Minister.{sfn|Peterson|1970|pp=134, 142} After Thomas Ludwell Lee died in 1778 Jefferson was given the task of studying and revising the state’s laws. Jefferson drafted 126 bills in three years, including laws to establish fee simple tenure in land and to streamline the judicial system. In 1778, Jefferson’s “Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge” and subsequent efforts to reduce control by clergy led to some small changes at William and Mary College, but free public education was not established until the late nineteenth century.{sfn|Peterson|1970|pp=146–149} In 1779, at Jefferson’s behest, William and Mary appointed his mentor George Wythe as the first professor of law in an American university.{sfn|Bennett|2006|p=99}

In 1779, at the age of thirty-six, Jefferson was elected Governor of Virginia by the two houses of the legislature. The term was then for one year, and he was re-elected in 1780. As governor in 1780, he transferred the state capital from Williamsburg to Richmond. Jefferson served as a wartime governor, as the united colonies continued the Revolutionary War against Great Britain. In late 1780, as Governor he prepared Richmond for attack by moving all military supplies to a foundry located five miles outside of town. In January 1781 General Benedict Arnold learned of the transfer and captured the foundry during his invasion of Richmond. Jefferson called for the Virginia militia to defend the city, but by the time the defense led by Sampson Mathews arrived, it was too late to prevent the siege. Jefferson evacuated Richmond as the armies engaged.

In early June 1781, Cornwallis dispatched a 250-man cavalry force commanded by Banastre Tarleton on a secret expedition to capture Governor Jefferson and members of the Assembly at Monticello but Jack Jouett of the Virginia militia thwarted the British plan by warning them. Jefferson escaped to Poplar Forest, his plantation to the west. Jefferson believed his gubernatorial term had expired in June, and he spent much of the summer with his family at Poplar Forest. His tenure as governor in general, and his decision to flee the capital in particular, was heavily criticized at the time, and has been criticized by historians ever since.{sfn|Peterson|1970|pp=234–238} The members of the General Assembly had quickly reconvened in June 1781 in Staunton, Virginia across the Blue Ridge Mountains. They voted to reward Jouett with a pair of pistols and a sword, but considered an official inquiry into Jefferson’s actions, as they believed he had failed his responsibilities as governor. Jefferson was not re-elected.{sfn|Ferling|2004|p=26}

===Notes on the State of Virginia===

In 1780, Jefferson as governor received numerous questions about Virginia from French diplomat François Barbé-Marbois, who was gathering pertinent data on the United States. Jefferson turned his written responses to Marbois into a book, Notes on the State of Virginia (1785). In a course of five years, Jefferson compiled the book; he included a discussion of contemporary scientific knowledge, and Virginia’s history, politics, laws and ethnography and also extensive notes on the geography of rivers, lakes and mountains. Jefferson was aided by Thomas Walker, George R. Clark, and geographer Thomas Hutchins. The book was first published in France in 1785 and in England in 1787. The book is Jefferson’s argument about what constitutes a good society, which he believed was incarnated by Virginia. It also included extensive data about the state’s natural resources and its economy. He wrote extensively about slavery, miscegenation, and his belief that blacks and whites could not live together as free people in one society because of lingering resentments over slavery, fearing that it would lead to the “extermination of the one or the other race”. He also expressed that “Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had chosen a people.” In 1785 Jefferson’s Notes{‘} was anonymously published in Paris in a limited edition of a few hundred copies. Its first public English-language edition, issued by John Stockdale in London, appeared in 1787. The book was later edited and published by Jefferson’s grandson and executor, Jefferson W. Randolph in 1853.’

===Member of Congress===

Following its victory in the Revolutionary War and peace treaty with Great Britain in 1783, the United States formed a Congress of the Confederation (informally called the Continental Congress), to which Jefferson was appointed as a Virginia delegate. As a member of the committee formed to set foreign exchange rates, he recommended that American currency should be based on the decimal system; his plan was adopted. Jefferson also recommended setting up the Committee of the States, an idea he introduced back in 1776 to be used when Congress was in recess, intended to function as the executive arm of Congress. However when Congress adjourned the following June the Committee assembled to perform their duties but within two months were quarrelling amongst themselves and divided into two parties. By this time Jefferson was in France and having learned of the ordeal spoke to Franklin who compared the Committee to a needed light house and its members to a raging sea, rendering it inaccessible and hence dysfunctionable.

In the 1783-84 session of the Continental Congress Jefferson acted as chairman of several important committees for purposes of establishing a viable system of government for the new Republic, playing a central role advancing policy for the settlement of the western territories. Jefferson was the principle author of the Land Ordinance of 1784 where Virginia ceded the vast area it owned northwest of the Ohio River to the national government. He insisted this territory not be used as colonial territory by any of the thirteen states, but rather that it be divided into sections where each could eventually become states. He plotted borders for nine new states in its initial stages and also wrote an ordinance banning slavery in all the nation’s territories. Congress made extensive revisions in the text among which the ban was originally rejected. Jefferson thought that Congress had “mutilated” his work, but outnumbered he accepted the changes. The provisions for ban on slavery were eventually modified and implemented three years later in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and became the fundamental law for the entire Northwest. The ban came to be known as the Jefferson Priviso which was later hailed by the famous abolitionist Salmon P. Chase.

===Minister to France===

Considered a brilliant statesman, Jefferson was sent by his fellow Congressmen to Europe to join Benjamin Franklin and John Adams as ministers for purposes of negotiating commercial trade agreements with England, Spain and France. Since Jefferson’s wife Martha had died two years previous, friends noted that the widower Jefferson seemed so depressed that he might be suicidal and believed that sending him to France would also take his mind off his wife’s death. Jefferson was glad to accept and resigned from the Continental Congress on May 11, 1784 and returned to Monticello and began making preparations for his assignment abroad, which lasted five years. Taking his young daughter Patsy and two servants {#tag:ref|One of the servants was his daughter’s keeper, Sally Hemings.|group=”note”} they departed from Boston on July 5, 1784 and sailed to Paris, arriving there on August 6. During his nineteen-day voyage en route to France Jefferson taught himself how to read and write Spanish. Franklin resigned as Minister to France in March 1785 where Jefferson was appointed his successor.

Still in his 40s, Jefferson was minister to France from 1785 to 1789, the year the French Revolution started. Months before Jefferson assumed the role as Minister to France he arrived in Paris on August 6, 1784 and four days later rode out to Passy to greet his old friend Benjamin Franklin. When the French foreign minister, the Count de Vergennes, commented to Jefferson, “You replace Monsieur Franklin, I hear,” Jefferson replied, “I succeed him. No man can replace him.” Jefferson attended the ceremony held at Passy bidding farewell to Franklin, who departed for the United States on July 12, 1785.

Though France was at the brink of revolution, Jefferson’s tenure there was generally an uneventful one. He often found it difficult to fill the shoes of his predecessor Benjamin Franklin, who at the time was one of the most famous people in the world. He enjoyed the architecture, arts, and the salon culture of Paris. He often dined with many of the city’s most prominent people, and stocked up on wines to take back to the US. While in Paris, Jefferson corresponded with many people who had important roles in the imminent French Revolution. These included the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Comte de Mirabeau, a popular pamphleteer who repeated ideals that had been the basis for the American Revolution. While in Paris he wrote a letter to Edward Carrington expressing some of these ideals he held regarding the natural tendencies of government and its relationship to the people: “the natural process of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground..”

Jefferson’s eldest daughter Martha, known as Patsy, went with him to France in 1784. His two youngest daughters were in the care of friends in the United States. To serve the household, Jefferson brought some of his slaves, including James Hemings, who trained as a French chef for his master’s service. Jefferson’s youngest daughter Lucy died of whooping cough in 1785 in the United States, and he was bereft. In 1786, Jefferson met and fell in love with Maria Cosway, an accomplished Italian-English artist and musician of 27. They saw each other frequently over a period of six weeks. A married woman, she returned to Great Britain, but they maintained a lifelong correspondence. In 1787, Jefferson sent for his youngest surviving child, Polly, then age nine. He requested that a slave accompany Polly on the transatlantic voyage. By chance, Sally Hemings, a younger sister of James, was chosen; she lived in the Jefferson household in Paris for about two years.

===Secretary of State===

In September 1789, Jefferson returned to the US from France with his two daughters and slaves. Immediately upon his return, President Washington wrote to him asking him to accept a seat in his Cabinet as Secretary of State. Jefferson accepted the appointment.

As Washington’s Secretary of State (1790–1793), Jefferson argued with Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury, about national fiscal policy, especially the funding of the debts of the war. Jefferson later associated Hamilton and the Federalists with “Royalism,” and said the “Hamiltonians were panting after … crowns, coronets and mitres.” On May 23, 1792, Jefferson wrote a letter to President Washington describing the political alignments that were visible in the young nation. He urged the president to rally the citizenry in a party that would defend democracy against the corrupting influence of banks and monied interests. Historians recognize this letter as a milestone that defined the founding principles of today’s Democratic Party. Due to their opposition to Hamilton, Jefferson and James Madison organized and led the anti-administration party (called Republican, and known later as Democratic-Republican). He worked with Madison and his campaign manager John J. Beckley to build a nationwide network of Republican allies. Jefferson’s political actions and his attempt to undermine Hamilton nearly led Washington to dismiss Jefferson from his cabinet. Although Jefferson left the cabinet voluntarily, Washington never forgave him for his actions, and never spoke to him again. [[File:Capture of La Prevoyante and La Raison.jpg|thumb|right|250px|Before the Jay Treaty, blockading British frigates captured U.S. merchants trading with France while Jefferson was Secretary of State]] Yet, according to one account, an earlier private dinner on June 20, 1790 that Jefferson hosted with Hamilton and Madison in New York City “brokered one of the great political deals in American history.” Under the terms of this agreement, the nation’s capital would be located on the Potomac River, and the federal government would assume the huge war debts of all 13 states.

The French minister said in 1793: “Senator Morris and Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton … had the greatest influence over the President’s mind, and that it was only with difficulty that he [Jefferson] counterbalanced their efforts.” Jefferson supported France against Britain when they fought in 1793. Jefferson believed that political success at home depended on the success of the French army in Europe. In 1793, the French minister Edmond-Charles Genêt caused a crisis when he tried to influence public opinion by appealing to the American people, something which Jefferson tried to stop. In the same year, it became clear how Thomas Jefferson deplored the exceeding violence in the aftermath of the French Revolution. This was the time where republicanism was at a crossroad, reflected in his letter exchange with William Short.

During his discussions with George Hammond, first British Minister to the U.S. from 1791, Jefferson tried to achieve three important goals: secure British admission of violating the Treaty of Paris (1783) ; vacate their posts in the Northwest (the territory between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River north of the Ohio); and compensate the United States to pay American slave owners for the slaves whom the British had freed and evacuated at the end of the war. After failing to gain agreement on any of these, Jefferson resigned in December 1793.

Jefferson retired to Monticello, from where he continued to oppose the policies of Hamilton and Washington. The Jay Treaty of 1794, led by Hamilton, brought peace and trade with Britain{spaced ndash}while Madison, with strong support from Jefferson, wanted “to strangle the former mother country” without going to war. “It became an article of faith among Republicans that ‘commercial weapons’ would suffice to bring Great Britain to any terms the United States chose to dictate.” Even during the violence of the Reign of Terror in France, Jefferson refused to disavow the revolution because “To back away from France would be to undermine the cause of republicanism in America.”

===Election of 1796 and Vice Presidency===

As the Democratic-Republican (then called Republican) presidential candidate in 1796, Jefferson lost to John Adams, but had enough electoral votes to become Vice President (1797–1801). After the election he had hoped to forego the swearing in ceremony which to him seemed monarchical but was advised to go through with it so as not to draw criticism. Hoping to arrive at Philadelphia for the ceremony unnoticed he was instead greeted by a crowd of cheering supporters and a brass ba

 

Source(s): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson

 

 

Write A Comment