Thomas Jefferson’s Influence and Contribution

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Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, has played one of the biggest roles in American and possibly world history. Jefferson had played many roles throughout his life. He was a governor of Virginia, a U.S. minister of France, a member of the Continental Congress, a U.S. secretary of state, and vice president under John Adams (Editors). Jefferson was elected as president from 1801 – 1809. Ironically, he was assumed to believe that the government should play a little value in someone’s life. Aside from this, he was re-elected and served two terms in office, leaving his role as president in 1809. Many of us can only dream of what it would be like to have had as much influence and contribution as Thomas Jefferson did to the world.

One of the biggest questions I had when researching about him was, “What was Thomas Jefferson like as a kid?” According to the hundreds of autobiographies dedicated towards him, he grew up at the Shadwell plantation in Western Virginia and was born on April 13, 1743. He had a pretty long and successful life considering the fact that he died in 1826, making him eighty-three years old when he died (Editors). Back to the point, what was he like as a child? Well, Jefferson was highly educated and very much valued his time at the infamous college of William and Mary, which was all at the age of sixteen! This meant he was extremely dedicated to increasing his intellectual capacity. He later on became an attorney and planter, “building on the estate with twenty to forty slaves inherited from his father” (Lewis).

Some, like myself, would ask “Was Thomas Jefferson born into a wealthy family. The answer to this is yes. His mother, Jane Randolph supposedly was a descent from the previous kings of Scotland and England. To say the least, he was starting off on the right foot (Lewis).

Aside from his childhood history, what did Jefferson accomplish throughout his lifetime? The list is probably endless but some of the things he is known for was writing the Declaration of Independence, which was later edited by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and other members. Specifically talking about the Declaration of Independence, this is literally the document that is supposed to contain the ideals and goals of our nation.

We can see these goals through the passionate writing talking about the complaints of the colonists against the British king, while addressing the rationale behind their thinking (Editors). Some call the document that freed us, but either way, Thomas Jefferson’s contribution to this declaration was world changing, especially for the American people.

In fact, there wouldn’t be a United States of America without the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson and other members of congress were first hand witnessing how Britain was over taxing and mistreating the people of the colonies. The product of this was the Revolutionary War, which we all know is how we gained independence.

What else did Jefferson do? In history class we were taught about the Louisiana purchase, which happened in 1803. This was a land deal between the United States and France. The U.S. wanted the 827,000 square miles and were willing to pay fifteen million for it (Thomas). According to Investopedia.com, the Louisiana purchase today would be the equivalent of 1.2 trillion dollars (Kuepper). Thomas Jefferson, being the third president of the United States at this time, agreed for the purchase and claimed that it did not violate the constitution in any way. He bought it off of the famous Napoleon Bonaparte, who needed the extra money for the Great French War.

Thomas Jefferson also played a huge role during what some call the “Tripoli war,” which was basically a group of Barbary pirates that would capture U.S. merchant ships and hold crew members for ransom and demand that the U.S. follows the rules of the Barbary rulers. Thomas Jefferson being the man he was, did not compromise with these cowards, but instead sent in three squadrons of skilled Americans and three frigates of the Swedish Royal Navy, which resulted in a grueling victory.

There were over eight hundred deaths, with 1,200 people wounded mixed with lost and broken ships (Thomas). So again, Jefferson did not negotiate with cowards but chose to take them out. Now after this happened, Jefferson wrote “the treaty of Tripoli,” which was the peace treaty between the United States of America and the Bey and subjects of Tripoli of Barbary. This treaty obviously gave protection to the U.S. merchant ships (Thomas).

Another huge objective Thomas Jefferson completed/ordered was the Lewis and Clark expedition. He apparently sent a secret message to congress “asking for the appropriation of two thousand five hundred dollars, for the purpose of extending the external commerce of the United States.” According to www.loc.gov, the money was used to fund the Lewis and Clark expedition (Lewis, et.). So, what was this expedition all about? Well, the purpose of it was to search throughout the unknown territories that were ruled by the natives. Jefferson wanted Lewis and Clark to make peace with the natives and ensure the dominance of the United States, but the specific task they wanted to complete was to find a waterway from the U.S. to the Pacific Ocean, which would make trading a lot easier.

There have been many men and women throughout history that have impacted the world and Thomas Jefferson should be recognized as one of them. He’s one of those men that you read about, and you can literally sense the liberty and strength from his words and actions that we read about. It’s interesting to think about who compares most to him in this day and time. Apparently, Jefferson had written up all of his completed objectives and personally designed his own gravestone which read “Author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and father of the University of Virginia.”

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Thomas Jefferson’s Influence and Contribution. (2021, Mar 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/thomas-jeffersons-influence-and-contribution/

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