who excelled in a number of fields ranging from academics and politics to architecture and music. A consummate scholar, Jefferson was a diligent student of the British empiricist philosophers, particularly Newton, Locke and Francis Bacon. Jefferson also developed an early love for the classical languages, and subsequently trained himself as a lawyer.
A life-long advocate of liberty, the French Revolution remained a lasting inspiration for Jefferson. He also ardently certified the separation of religion from politics. Although his religious writings betray his deist faith, yet Jefferson was one to always keep the Church separate from the state. Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic-Republican Party in 1791 in close association with James Madison, when he separated himself from the Federalist Party following ideological disputes with John Adams and Alexander Hamilton regarding the economic policies of the Federalist government in the US.
Jefferson's greatest achievement was the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. He was part of the committee of Five appointed to draft the Constitution by the Continental Congress. Considered as the best writer in the group,
1.Governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781
2.United States Secretary of State from 1789 to 1793 (the first US Secretary)
3.Vice President from 1797 to 1801 (2nd US Vice President)
Jefferson was initially not particularly keen to get into an election, yet his performance was surprisingly well in the 1796 US Elections. He came second to John Adams and as a consequence, became his vice-President. Due to political disparity with the President, Jefferson kept a low profile for most of his Vice-Presidential tenure. His greatest political rival at this time was Federalist Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson and Hamilton never agreed on the economic policies of the state.
Jefferson contested in the 1800 elections as a Democratic-Federalist candidate with fellow party member Aaron Burr. The contestants tied, and despite their mutual animosities, Hamilton selected Jefferson over Burr. Following Hamilton's lead, the Federalist too elected Jefferson over Burr as the President of the US. Jefferson continued in that office for two consecutive terms.
During his first term as the President of US ranging from 1801-1805, Jefferson steadied the economic condition of US by reducing the national debt by a third. He curtailed much on the defense expenses in order to achieve this, which he thought was unnecessary because the French threat was over. Moreover, he successfully curbed the threat of the pirates, and cleared American trade routes in the Mediterranean. One of the highlights of this tenure of Jefferson was the purchase of the Louisiana territory. The second term of Jefferson as US President was not as successful as the first term. The Napoleonic wars were much on his mind, and the increasing British and French interference on American marine trade was a perpetual issue of concern. Jefferson's perfunctory solution of putting a ban on the British ships and limiting American shipping was not widely appreciated by the US people, particularly the traders of New England.
After retiring from his role as the President, Jefferson retired to his mountain top mansion of Monticello. He contemplated the establishment of his dream educational institution, the University of Virginia, which finally materialized in 1819. A great scholar, author, architect, political thinker, educationist, social and religious reformer, Jefferson breathed his last on 4th July, 1826. His epitaph bore no mention of being an American President.
Thomas Jefferson was an avid reader and his library consisted of more than 60,000 books, which he sold with an eye to promote the establishment of the Library of Congress. He wrote over 20,000 letters in his lifetime and loved playing his violin. He took a keen interest in gardening and cultivation, and personally oversaw the garden of the White House, where he grew some of his favorite vegetables. Some of the quotations by Thomas Jefferson have become quite popular. A few of them have become proverbs over the years, including the following:
- "Never spend your money before you have it."
- "Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom."
- "Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself."
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