Thomas Jefferson (13th April, 1743-4th July, 1826) was the third President of United States (1801-1809). He is largely believed to be the chief author of independence assertion. He envisioned America as a great place of liberty and not only was he a figure of renaissance, but also of enlightenment.
He was fluent in more than five languages, and had scripted over sixteen thousand letters in the course of his life. He was qualified in many fields and could act as a lawyer, inventor, scientist, architect, statesman among many other professions.
In his life he had held many positions: elected to Virginia House of Burgesses, the Continental Congress as a delegate, Governor of Virginia; peace diplomat with Britain, Envoy to France; the French Court minister; Secretary of State; established Democratic-Republican party, established University of Virginia, Vice President of the United States and then President.
Jefferson was born to a wealthy family on a family farm in Virginia and had six sisters and three brothers. He was tutored in classical tradition by a learned man called Maury, he then attended William and Mary college at age sixteen and later pursued law under professor Wythe until he became a practitioner.
Besides practicing law, he represented the County of Albemarle in the Virginia Burgesses House. He later married and built a mansion called Monticello. Jefferson, while a member of the committee mandated to draft a declaration of independence, was selected by the committee to write the draft which he did and was later adopted (Hitchens, 2009).
Around June of 1779 he succeeded Henry as Governor of Virginia. His term as a governor was clouded by hesitation because of the war with Britain. He never vied for a second term and even wished the military could take over.
After declining to vie for a second term as governor he retired to his home to write, rest, and cater for his sick wife. While on retirement, Jefferson engaged in some writing where he took some notes entailing the (Virginia) state but this was never comprehensive. His wife passed at this time and he became traumatized.
However, Washington appointed him to negotiate peace with the British a mission he never accomplished since peace was brokered even before he could set sail. In 1784 he headed to France as an associate diplomat. While in France he authored an article about ascertaining the ideal (standard) weights, right measures, and legal tender for the US. The year that followed saw him joining the cabinet as a full fledged member.
He served for a period of five years and returned to the United States. On returning home (in 1789), he was assigned more assignments in the then government headed by Washington. That put him in a very thorny and responsive position.
Jefferson, alongside many others, was central and important of the initial form the country was taking under the very first centralized administration.
Jefferson was stridently and continuously at odds with his fellow cabinet members (i.e. Adams and Hamilton), both of whom he would find to be too dictatorial and also too fast to take a great deal of power in the part of the new administration. It was this mounting pressure that saw him resign from his cabinet duties in the year 1793 and later formed his own party (Democrat-republican).
The competition continued. In 1796, Jefferson run for the presidency post, however, he lost and became the vice president under the man whom he thought too hard to put up with. The two only met once on the street and never communicated face to face during the whole term.
In 1801 he vied for the presidency and won this time round. He did serve for two successive terms and undoubtedly played a deciding fundamental role in forming the personality and the fundamental nature of the American Presidency.
For the duration of his presidency, the 12th alteration to the Constitution was made thus changing the manner in which the country’s VP was chosen in a bid to separate rival contenders from serving in the same office. He went on to carry out one address (state union) and later conveyed them, as generally obligated by the American constitution, only in black and white form.
He also acquired Louisiana from Napoleon, broadening the borders of the nation far and wide and in the process creating the principle (manifest destiny).
Thomas Jefferson is among the central figures who participated in laying a firm foundation for the United States both as a leader and intellectual figure. His manifest destiny doctrine was used to ascend the country into a super power and is still in use to date.
He wished to be remembered for only two things; as the person who wrote the Declaration of Independence, and also the one who founded the University of Virginia. He died on July 4th, as the nation celebrated in unity the fiftieth anniversary of his authentic and splendid Declaration (Randall, 1994).
Hitchens, C. (2009). Thomas Jefferson: Author of America. New York: HarperCollins.
Randall, S. W. (1994). Thomas Jefferson: A Life. New York: Harper Perennial.