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|Use attributes for filter !|
|Death||196 years ago|
|Date of birth||April 13,1743|
|Date of died||July 4,1826|
|Presidential term||March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809|
|Children||Martha Jefferson Randolph|
|Vice presidents||Aaron Burr|
|Latest noncurrent party||Democratic-Republican Party|
|Presidential term||March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809|
|Vice president||Aaron Burr|
|Business partner||Stanford White|
Notes on the State of Virginia1651688
A Summary View of the Rights of British America2437198
The writings of Thomas Jefferson2574341
Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson1974849
Thomas Jefferson's Farm book1664487
A Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States2437747
The life and selected writings of Thomas Jefferson
The Works of Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson the man1546756
First Inaugural Address
Crusade against ignorance
Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms
The portable Thomas Jefferson
Letters of Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson, political writings
Light and liberty2254625
The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia: A Comprehensive Collection of the Views of Thomas Jefferson Classified and Arranged in Alphabetical Order Under Nine Thousand Titles Relating to Government, Politics, Law, Education, Political Economy, Finance, Science, Art, Literature, Religious Freedom, Morals, Etc
Jefferson's Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767-18262132371
The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 1: 14 January 1760 to 6 December 17762062531
Jefferson in love
Thomas Jefferson: Statesman of Science
The Words of Thomas Jefferson
The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia: A Comprehensive Collection of the Views of Thomas Jefferson Classified and Arranged in Alphabetical Order. . .
The Garden and Farm Books of Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson Travels
Jefferson's extracts from the Gospels
The anas of Thomas Jefferson
The Commonplace Book of Thomas Jefferson: A Repertory of His Ideas on Government, with an Introduction and Notes by Gilbert Chinard
Writings and Letters
Paine and Jefferson on Liberty
Pocket Constitution and Declaration of Independence
Jefferson on Jefferson2064175
The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: 1 July to 12 November 1802
Basic writings of Thomas Jefferson
The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Articles of Confederation
Old Family Letters: Contains Letters of John Adams, All But the First Two Addressed to Dr. Benjamin Rush
Thomas Jefferson, in His Own Words
The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America
The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 37: 4 March to 30 June 1802
The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 41: 11 July to 15 November 1803
The Works of Thomas Jefferson: 1799-1803
Early Fragments of Minsi Delaware
Old Family Letters: Contains Letters of John Adams, All But the First Two Addressed to Dr. Benjamin Rush; One Letter from Samuel Adams, One from John Quincy Adams, and Several from Thomas Jefferson Addressed to Dr. Rush; Letter of Credence to the King a
Common Sense by Thomas Paine and the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson and His Unknown Brother Randolph: Twenty-eight Letters Exchanged Between Thomas and Randolph Jefferson . . . During the Years 1807 to 1815
Notes on the State of Virginia
Draft of the Declaration of Independence
First Inaugural Address
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Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809.
Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He was previously the second vice president of the United States under John Adams and the first United States secretary of state under George Washington. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation. He produced formative documents and decisions at state, national, and international levels.
During the American Revolution, Jefferson represented Virginia in the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration of Independence. As a Virginia legislator, he drafted a state law for religious freedom. He served as the second Governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781, during the Revolutionary War. In 1785, Jefferson was appointed the United States Minister to France, and subsequently, the nation's first secretary of state under President George Washington from 1790 to 1793. Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the Federalist Party during the formation of the First Party System. With Madison, he anonymously wrote the provocative Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798 and 1799, which sought to strengthen states' rights by nullifying the federal Alien and Sedition Acts.
Jefferson and Federalist John Adams became friends as well as political rivals, serving in the Continental Congress and drafting the Declaration of Independence together. In the 1796 presidential election between the two, Jefferson came in second, which according to electoral procedure at the time, made him vice president to Adams. Jefferson challenged Adams again in 1800 and won the presidency. After his term in office, Jefferson eventually reconciled with Adams and they shared a correspondence that lasted fourteen years.
As president, Jefferson pursued the nation's shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and aggressive British trade policies. Starting in 1803, he promoted a western expansionist policy with the Louisiana Purchase which doubled the nation's claimed land area. To make room for settlement, Jefferson began the process of Indian tribal removal from the newly acquired territory. As a result of peace negotiations with France, his administration reduced military forces. He was re-elected in 1804, but his second term was beset with difficulties at home, including the trial of former vice president Aaron Burr. In 1807, American foreign trade was diminished when Jefferson implemented the Embargo Act in response to British threats to U.S. shipping. The same year, Jefferson signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves.
Jefferson, while primarily a plantation owner, lawyer, and politician, mastered many disciplines, ranging from surveying and mathematics to horticulture and mechanics. He was also an architect in the classical tradition. Jefferson's keen interest in religion and philosophy led to his presidency of the American Philosophical Society; he shunned organized religion but was influenced by Christianity, Epicureanism, and deism. Jefferson rejected fundamental Christianity, denying Christ's divinity. A philologist, Jefferson knew several languages. He was a prolific letter writer and corresponded with many prominent people, including Edward Carrington, John Taylor of Caroline and James Madison. Among his books is Notes on the State of Virginia (1785), considered perhaps the most important American book published before 1800. Jefferson championed the ideals, values, and teachings of the Enlightenment.
Over the course of his life, Jefferson owned more than 600 slaves. Since Jefferson's time, controversy has revolved around his relationship with Sally Hemings, a mixed-race enslaved woman and his late wife's half-sister. According to 1998 DNA testing of Jefferson's and Hemings' descendants, combined with documentary and statistical evidence and oral history, Jefferson fathered at least six children with Hemings, including four that survived to adulthood. Evidence suggests that Jefferson started the relationship with Hemings when they were in Paris, some time after she arrived there at the age of 14 or 15, when Jefferson was 44. By the time she returned to the United States at 16 or 17, she was pregnant.After retiring from public office, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. He and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of U.S. independence. Presidential scholars and historians generally praise Jefferson's public achievements, including his advocacy of religious freedom and tolerance in Virginia, his peaceful acquisition of the Louisiana Territory from France without war or controversy, and his ambitious and successful Lewis and Clark Expedition. Some modern historians are critical of Jefferson's personal involvement with slavery. Jefferson is consistently ranked in the top ten presidents of American history.
Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 (April 2, 1743, Old Style, Julian calendar), at the family's Shadwell Plantation in the Colony of Virginia, the third of ten children. He was of English, and possibly Welsh, descent and was born a British subject. His father Peter Jefferson was a planter and surveyor who died when Jefferson was fourteen; his mother was Jane Randolph. Peter Jefferson moved his family to Tuckahoe Plantation in 1745 upon the death of William Randolph III, the plantation's owner and Jefferson's friend, who in his will had named Peter guardian of Randolph's children. The Jeffersons returned to Shadwell in 1752, where Peter died in 1757; his estate was divided between his sons Thomas and Randolph. John Harvie Sr. then became Thomas' guardian. In 1753 he attended the wedding of his uncle Field Jefferson to Mary Allen Hunt, who became a close friend and early mentor. Thomas inherited approximately 5,000 acres (2,000 ha; 7.8 sq mi) of land, including Monticello, and assumed full authority over his property at age 21.
Jefferson began his education together with the Randolph children by tutors at Tuckahoe. Thomas' father Peter was self-taught, regretted not having a formal education, and entered Thomas into an English school at age five. In 1752, at age nine, he attended a local school run by a Scottish Presbyterian minister and also began studying the natural world, which he grew to love. At this time he began studying Latin, Greek, and French, while also learning to ride horses. Thomas also read books from his father's modest library. He was taught from 1758 to 1760 by the Reverend James Maury near Gordonsville, Virginia, where he studied history, science, and the classics while boarding with Maury's family. Jefferson then came to know and befriended various American Indians, including the famous Cherokee chief Ontasseté, who often stopped at Shadwell to visit on their way to Williamsburg to trade. During the two years Jefferson was with the Maury family, he traveled to Williamsburg and was a guest of Colonel Dandridge, father of Martha Washington. In Williamsburg the young Jefferson met and came to admire Patrick Henry, eight years his senior, and shared a common interest in violin playing.
Jefferson entered the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia at age 16 and studied mathematics, metaphysics, and philosophy with Professor William Small. Under Small's tutelage, Jefferson encountered the ideas of the British Empiricists, including John Locke, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton. Small introduced Jefferson to George Wythe and Francis Fauquier. Small, Wythe, and Fauquier recognized Jefferson as a man of exceptional ability and included him in their inner circle, where he became a regular member of their Friday dinner parties where politics and philosophy were discussed. Jefferson later wrote that he "heard more common good sense, more rational & philosophical conversations than in all the rest of my life". During his first year at the college he was given more to parties and dancing and was not very frugal with his expenditures; in his second year, regretting that he had squandered away much time and money, he dedicated himself to fifteen hours of study a day. Jefferson improved his French and Greek and his skill at the violin. He graduated two years after starting in 1762. He read the law under Wythe's tutelage to obtain his law license while working as a law clerk in his office. He also read a wide variety of English classics and political works. Jefferson was well-read in a broad variety of subjects, which along with law and philosophy, included history, natural law, natural religion, ethics, and several areas in science, including agriculture. Overall, he drew very deeply on the philosophers. During the years of study under the watchful eye of Wythe, Jefferson authored a survey of his extensive readings in his Commonplace Book. Wythe was so impressed with Jefferson that he later bequeathed his entire library to him.The year 1765 was an eventful one in Jefferson's family. In July, his sister Martha married his close friend and college companion Dabney Carr, which greatly pleased Jefferson. In October, he mourned his sister Jane's unexpected death at age 25 and wrote a farewell epitaph in Latin. Jefferson treasured his books and amassed three libraries in his lifetime. The first, a library of 200 volumes started in his youth which included books inherited from his father and left to him by George Wythe, was destroyed when his Shadwell home burned in a 1770 fire. Nevertheless, he had replenished his collection with 1,250 titles by 1773, and it grew to almost 6,500 volumes by 1814. He organized his wide variety of books into three broad categories corresponding with elements of the human mind: memory, reason, and imagination. After the British burned the Library of Congress during the Burning of Washington, he sold this second library to the U.S. government to jumpstart the Library of Congress collection, for the price of $23,950. Jefferson used a portion of the money secured by the sale to pay off some of his large debt, remitting $10,500 to William Short and $4,870 to John Barnes of Georgetown. However, he soon resumed collecting for his personal library, writing to John Adams, "I cannot live without books." He began to construct a new library of his personal favorites and by the time of his death a decade later it had grown to almost 2,000 volumes.
Jefferson was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1767, and lived with his mother at Shadwell. He represented Albemarle County as a delegate in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1769 until 1775. He pursued reforms to slavery, with legislation in 1769 to give masters control over the emancipation of slaves, taking discretion away from the royal governor and General Court. He persuaded his cousin Richard Bland to spearhead the legislation's passage, but opposition was strong.Jefferson took seven cases for freedom-seeking slaves and waived his fee for one who claimed that he should be freed before his minimum statutory age. Jefferson invoked the Natural Law to argue, "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." The judge cut him off and ruled against his client. As a consolation, Jefferson gave his client some money, conceivably used to aid his escape shortly thereafter. He later incorporated this sentiment into the Declaration of Independence. He also took on 68 cases for the General Court of Virginia in 1767, in addition to three notable cases: Howell v. Netherland (1770), Bolling v. Bolling (1771), and Blair v. Blair (1772).The British parliament passed the Intolerable Acts in 1774, and Jefferson wrote a resolution calling for a "Day of Fasting and Prayer" in protest, as well as a boycott of all British goods. His resolution was later expanded into A Summary View of the Rights of British America, in which he argued that people have the right to govern themselves.
In 1768, Jefferson began constructing his primary residence Monticello (Italian for "Little Mountain") on a hilltop overlooking his 5,000-acre (20 km2; 7.8 sq mi) plantation. He spent most of his adult life designing Monticello as architect and was quoted as saying, "Architecture is my delight, and putting up, and pulling down, one of my favorite amusements." Construction was done mostly by local masons and carpenters, assisted by Jefferson's slaves.He moved into the South Pavilion in 1770. Turning Monticello into a neoclassical masterpiece in the Palladian style was his perennial project. On January 1, 1772, Jefferson married his third cousin Martha Wayles Skelton, the 23-year-old widow of Bathurst Skelton, and she moved into the South Pavilion. She was a frequent hostess for Jefferson and managed the large household. Biographer Dumas Malone described the marriage as the happiest period of Jefferson's life. Martha read widely, did fine needlework, and was a skilled pianist; Jefferson often accompanied her on the violin or cello. During their ten years of marriage, Martha bore six children: Martha "Patsy" (1772–1836); Jane (1774–1775); an unnamed son who lived for only a few weeks in 1777; Mary "Polly" (1778–1804); Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781); and another Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1784). Only Martha and Mary survived to adulthood.
Martha's father John Wayles died in 1773, and the couple inherited 135 slaves, 11,000 acres (45 km2; 17 sq mi), and the estate's debts. The debts took Jefferson years to satisfy, contributing to his financial problems.Martha later suffered from ill health, including diabetes, and frequent childbirth further weakened her. Her mother had died young, and Martha lived with two stepmothers as a girl. A few months after the birth of her last child, she died on September 6, 1782, with Jefferson at her bedside. Shortly before her death, Martha made Jefferson promise never to marry again, telling him that she could not bear to have another mother raise her children. Jefferson was grief-stricken by her death, relentlessly pacing back and forth, nearly to the point of exhaustion. He emerged after three weeks, taking long rambling rides on secluded roads with his daughter Martha, by her description "a solitary witness to many a violent burst of grief".After working as secretary of state (1790–93), he returned to Monticello and initiated a remodeling based on the architectural concepts which he had acquired in Europe. The work continued throughout most of his presidency and was completed in 1809.
Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. The document's social and political ideals were proposed by Jefferson before the inauguration of Washington. At age 33, he was one of the youngest delegates to the Second Continental Congress beginning in 1775 at the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, where a formal declaration of independence from Britain was overwhelmingly favored. Jefferson chose his words for the Declaration in June 1775, shortly after the war had begun; the idea of independence from Britain had long since become popular among the colonies. He was inspired by the Enlightenment ideals of the sanctity of the individual, as well as the writings of Locke and Montesquieu.He sought out John Adams, an emerging leader of the Congress. They became close friends and Adams supported Jefferson's appointment to the Committee of Five formed to draft a declaration of independence in furtherance of the Lee Resolution passed by the Congress, which declared the United Colonies independent. The committee initially thought that Adams should write the document, but Adams persuaded the committee to choose Jefferson.Jefferson consulted with other committee members over the next seventeen days and drew on his 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, and a final draft was presented to Congress on June 28, 1776.The declaration was introduced on Friday, June 28, and Congress began debate over its contents on Monday, July 1, resulting in the omission of a fourth of the text, including a passage critical of King George III and "Jefferson's anti-slavery clause". Jefferson resented the changes, but he did not speak publicly about the revisions. On July 4, 1776, the Congress ratified the Declaration, and delegates signed it on August 2; in doing so, they were committing an act of treason against the Crown. Jefferson's preamble is regarded as an enduring statement of human rights, and the phrase "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".
At the start of the Revolution, Jefferson was a colonel and was named commander of the Albemarle County Militia on September 26, 1775. He was then elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for Albemarle County in September 1776, when finalizing a state constitution was a priority.
For nearly three years, he assisted with the constitution and was especially proud of his Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, which forbade state support of religious institutions or enforcement of religious doctrine. The bill failed to pass, as did his legislation to disestablish the Anglican Church, but both were later revived by James Madison.In 1778, Jefferson was given the task of revising the state's laws. He drafted 126 bills in three years, including laws to streamline the judicial system. Jefferson's proposed statutes provided for general education, which he considered the basis of "republican government". He had become alarmed that Virginia's powerful landed gentry were becoming a hereditary aristocracy. He took the lead in abolishing what he called "feudal and unnatural distinctions." He targeted laws such as entail and primogeniture by which the oldest son inherited all the land. The entail laws made it perpetual: the one who inherited the land could not sell it, but had to bequeath it to his oldest son. As a result, increasingly large plantations, worked by white tenant farmers and by black slaves, gained in size and wealth and political power in the eastern ("Tidewater") tobacco areas. During the Revolutionary era, all such laws were repealed by the states that had them.Jefferson was elected governor for one-year terms in 1779 and 1780. He transferred the state capital from Williamsburg to Richmond, and introduced measures for public education, religious freedom, and revision of inheritance laws.During General Benedict Arnold's 1781 invasion of Virginia, Jefferson escaped Richmond just ahead of the British forces, and the city being razed by Arnold's men. Jefferson sent an emergency dispatch to Colonel Sampson Mathews, whose militia was traveling nearby, to thwart Arnold's efforts. During this time, Jefferson was living with friends in the surrounding counties of Richmond. One of these friends was William Fleming, a college friend of his. Jefferson stayed at least one night at his plantation Summerville in Chesterfield County. General Charles Cornwallis that spring dispatched a cavalry force led by Banastre Tarleton to capture Jefferson and members of the Assembly at Monticello, but Jack Jouett of the Virginia militia thwarted the British plan. Jefferson escaped to Poplar Forest, his plantation to the west. When the General Assembly reconvened in June 1781, it conducted an inquiry into Jefferson's actions which eventually concluded that Jefferson had acted with honor—but he was not re-elected.In April of the same year, his daughter Lucy died at age one. A second daughter of that name was born the following year, but she died at age three.In 1782, Jefferson refused a partnership offer by North Carolina Governor Abner Nash, in a profiteering land scheme sale of confiscated Loyalist lands. Unlike other Founders, in the pursuit of land, Jefferson was content with his Monticello estate and the land he owned in the vicinity of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Jefferson wanted Monticello to be an intellectual gathering place for his friends James Madison and James Monroe.
Jefferson received a letter of inquiry in 1780 about the geography, history, and government of Virginia from French diplomat François Barbé-Marbois, who was gathering data on the United States. Jefferson included his written responses in a book, Notes on the State of Virginia (1785). He compiled the book over five years, including reviews of scientific knowledge, Virginia's history, politics, laws, culture, and geography. The book explores what constitutes a good society, using Virginia as an exemplar. Jefferson included extensive data about the state's natural resources and economy and wrote at length about slavery, miscegenation, and his belief that blacks and whites could not live together as free people in one society because of justified resentments of the enslaved. He also wrote of his views on the American Indian and considered them as equals in body and mind to European settlers.Notes was first published in 1785 in French and appeared in English in 1787. Biographer George Tucker considered the work "surprising in the extent of the information which a single individual had been thus able to acquire, as to the physical features of the state", and Merrill D. Peterson described it as an accomplishment for which all Americans should be grateful.
The United States formed a Congress of the Confederation following victory in the Revolutionary War and a peace treaty with Great Britain in 1783, to which Jefferson was appointed as a Virginia delegate. He was a member of the committee setting foreign exchange rates and recommended an American currency based on the decimal system which was adopted. He advised the formation of the Committee of the States to fill the power vacuum when Congress was in recess. The Committee met when Congress adjourned, but disagreements rendered it dysfunctional.In the Congress's 1783–84 session, Jefferson acted as chairman of committees to establish a viable system of government for the new Republic and to propose a policy for the settlement of the western territories. Jefferson was the principal author of the Land Ordinance of 1784, whereby Virginia ceded to the national government the vast area that it claimed northwest of the Ohio River. He insisted that this territory should not be used as colonial territory by any of the thirteen states, but that it should be divided into sections that could become states. He plotted borders for nine new states in their initial stages and wrote an ordinance banning slavery in all the nation's territories. Congress made extensive revisions, including rejection of the ban on slavery. The provisions banning slavery were known later as the "Jefferson Proviso;" they were modified and implemented three years later in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and became the law for the entire Northwest.
In 1784, Jefferson was sent by the Congress of the Confederation to join Benjamin Franklin and John Adams in Paris as Minister Plenipotentiary for Negotiating Treaties of Amity and Commerce with Great Britain, Russia, Austria, Prussia, Denmark, Saxony, Hamburg, Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sardinia, The Papal States, Venice, Genoa, Tuscany, the Sublime Porte, Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. Some believed that the recently widowed Jefferson was depressed and that the assignment would distract him from his wife's death. With his young daughter Patsy and two servants, he departed in July 1784, arriving in Paris the next month. Jefferson had Patsy educated at the Pentemont Abbey. Less than a year later he was assigned the additional duty of succeeding Franklin as Minister to France. French foreign minister Count de Vergennes commented, "You replace Monsieur Franklin, I hear." Jefferson replied, "I succeed. No man can replace him." During his five years in Paris, Jefferson played a leading role in shaping the foreign policy of the United States.In 1786, he met and fell in love with Maria Cosway, an accomplished—and married—Italian-English musician of 27. They saw each other frequently over a period of six weeks. She returned to Great Britain, but they maintained a lifelong correspondence.During the summer of 1786, Jefferson arrived in London to meet with John Adams, the United States Ambassador to Britain. As ambassador, Adams had access to George III and arranged a meeting between Jefferson and the king. What took place at the meeting is not clear, but Jefferson later described the king's reception of the men as "ungracious." Indeed, according to John Adams's grandson, George III turned his back on both Adams and Jefferson in a jesture of public insult. Jefferson returned to France in August.Jefferson sent for his youngest surviving child, nine-year-old Polly, in June 1787, who was accompanied on her voyage by a young slave from Monticello, Sally Hemings. Jefferson had taken her older brother James Hemings to Paris as part of his domestic staff and had him trained in French cuisine. According to Sally's son, Madison Hemings, the 16-year-old Sally and Jefferson began a sexual relationship in Paris, where she became pregnant. According to his account, Hemings agreed to return to the United States only after Jefferson promised to free her children when they came of age.While in France, Jefferson became a regular companion of the Marquis de Lafayette, a French hero of the American Revolutionary War, and Jefferson used his influence to procure trade agreements with France. As the French Revolution began, Jefferson allowed his Paris residence, the Hôtel de Langeac, to be used for meetings by Lafayette and other republicans. He was in Paris during the storming of the Bastille and consulted with Lafayette while the latter drafted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Jefferson often found his mail opened by postmasters, so he invented his own enciphering device, the "Wheel Cipher"; he wrote important communications in code for the rest of his career. Jefferson left Paris for America in September 1789, intending to return soon; however, President George Washington appointed him the country's first secretary of state, forcing him to remain in the nation's capital. Jefferson remained a firm supporter of the French Revolution while opposing its more violent elements.
Soon after returning from France, Jefferson accepted Washington's invitation to serve as secretary of state. Pressing issues at this time were the national debt and the permanent location of the capital. Jefferson opposed a national debt, preferring that each state retire its own, in contrast to Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who desired consolidation of various states' debts by the federal government. Hamilton also had bold plans to establish the national credit and a national bank, but Jefferson strenuously opposed this and attempted to undermine his agenda, which nearly led Washington to dismiss him from his cabinet. Jefferson later left the cabinet voluntarily.The second major issue was the capital's permanent location. Hamilton favored a capital close to the major commercial centers of the Northeast, while Washington, Jefferson, and other agrarians wanted it located to the south. After lengthy deadlock, the Compromise of 1790 was struck, permanently locating the capital on the Potomac River, and the federal government assumed the war debts of all thirteen states.While serving in the government in Philadelphia, Jefferson and political protegee Congressman James Madison founded the National Gazette in 1791, along with poet and writer Phillip Freneau, in an effort to counter Hamilton's Federalist policies, which Hamilton was promoting through the influential Federalist newspaper the Gazette of the United States. The National Gazette made particular criticism of the policies promoted by Hamilton, often through anonymous essays signed by the pen name Brutus at Jefferson's urging, which were actually written by Madison. In the Spring of 1791, Jefferson and Madison took a vacation to Vermont. Jefferson had been suffering from migraines and he was tired of Hamilton in-fighting.In May 1792, Jefferson was alarmed at the political rivalries taking shape; he wrote to Washington, urging him to run for re-election that year as a unifying influence. He urged the president to rally the citizenry to a party that would defend democracy against the corrupting influence of banks and monied interests, as espoused by the Federalists. Historians recognize this letter as the earliest delineation of Democratic-Republican Party principles. Jefferson, Madison, and other Democratic-Republican organizers favored states' rights and local control and opposed federal concentration of power, whereas Hamilton sought more power for the federal government.Jefferson supported France against Britain when the two nations fought in 1793, though his arguments in the Cabinet were undercut by French Revolutionary envoy Edmond-Charles Genêt's open scorn for President Washington. In his discussions with British Minister George Hammond, Jefferson tried unsuccessfully to persuade the British to vacate their posts in the Northwest and to compensate the U.S. for slaves whom the British had freed at the end of the war. Seeking a return to private life, Jefferson resigned the cabinet position in December 1793, perhaps to bolster his political influence from outside the administration.After the Washington administration negotiated the Jay Treaty with Great Britain (1794), Jefferson saw a cause around which to rally his party and organized a national opposition from Monticello. The treaty, designed by Hamilton, aimed to reduce tensions and increase trade. Jefferson warned that it would increase British influence and subvert republicanism, calling it "the boldest act [Hamilton and Jay] ever ventured on to undermine the government". The Treaty passed, but it expired in 1805 during Jefferson's administration and was not renewed. Jefferson continued his pro-French stance; during the violence of the Reign of Terror, he declined to disavow the revolution: "To back away from France would be to undermine the cause of republicanism in America."
In the presidential campaign of 1796, Jefferson lost the electoral college vote to Federalist John Adams by 71–68 and was thus elected vice president. As presiding officer of the Senate, he assumed a more passive role than his predecessor John Adams. He allowed the Senate to freely conduct debates and confined his participation to procedural issues, which he called an "honorable and easy" role. Jefferson had previously studied parliamentary law and procedure for 40 years, making him unusually well qualified to serve as presiding officer. In 1800, he published his assembled notes on Senate procedure as A Manual of Parliamentary Practice. Jefferson would cast only three tie-breaking votes in the Senate.
Jefferson held four confidential talks with French consul Joseph Létombe in the spring of 1797 where he attacked Adams, predicting that his rival would serve only one term. He also encouraged France to invade England, and advised Létombe to stall any American envoys sent to Paris by instructing him to "listen to them and then drag out the negotiations at length and mollify them by the urbanity of the proceedings." This toughened the tone that the French government adopted toward the Adams administration. After Adams's initial peace envoys were rebuffed, Jefferson and his supporters lobbied for the release of papers related to the incident, called the XYZ Affair after the letters used to disguise the identities of the French officials involved. However, the tactic backfired when it was revealed that French officials had demanded bribes, rallying public support against France. The U.S. began an undeclared naval war with France known as the Quasi-War.During the Adams presidency, the Federalists rebuilt the military, levied new taxes, and enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts. Jefferson believed that these laws were intended to suppress Democratic-Republicans, rather than prosecute enemy aliens, and considered them unconstitutional. To rally opposition, he and James Madison anonymously wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, declaring that the federal government had no right to exercise powers not specifically delegated to it by the states. The resolutions followed the "interposition" approach of Madison, in which states may shield their citizens from federal laws that they deem unconstitutional. Jefferson advocated nullification, allowing states to invalidate federal laws altogether. Jefferson warned that, "unless arrested at the threshold", the Alien and Sedition Acts would "necessarily drive these states into revolution and blood".Historian Ron Chernow claims that "the theoretical damage of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions was deep and lasting, and was a recipe for disunion", contributing to the American Civil War as well as later events. Washington was so appalled by the resolutions that he told Patrick Henry that, if "systematically and pertinaciously pursued", the resolutions would "dissolve the union or produce coercion."Jefferson had always admired Washington's leadership skills but felt that his Federalist party was leading the country in the wrong direction. Jefferson thought it wise not to attend his funeral in 1799 because of acute differences with Washington while serving as secretary of state, and remained at Monticello.
In the 1800 presidential election, Jefferson contended once more against Federalist John Adams. Adams's campaign was weakened by unpopular taxes and vicious Federalist infighting over his actions in the Quasi-War. Democratic-Republicans pointed to the Alien and Sedition Acts and accused the Federalists of being secret pro-Britain monarchists, while Federalists charged that Jefferson was a godless libertine in thrall to the French. Historian Joyce Appleby said the election was "one of the most acrimonious in the annals of American history".The Democratic-Republicans ultimately won more electoral college votes, though without the votes of the extra electors that resulted from the addition of three-fifths of the South's slaves to the population calculation, Jefferson would not have defeated John Adams. Jefferson and his vice-presidential candidate Aaron Burr unexpectedly received an equal total. Because of the tie, the election was decided by the Federalist-dominated House of Representatives. Hamilton lobbied Federalist representatives on Jefferson's behalf, believing him a lesser political evil than Burr. On February 17, 1801, after thirty-six ballots, the House elected Jefferson president and Burr vice president. Jefferson became the second incumbent vice president to be elected president.The win was marked by Democratic-Republican celebrations throughout the country. Some of Jefferson's opponents argued that he owed his victory over Adams to the South's inflated number of electors, due to counting slaves as a partial population under the Three-Fifths Compromise. Others alleged that Jefferson secured James Asheton Bayard's tie-breaking electoral vote by guaranteeing the retention of various Federalist posts in the government. Jefferson disputed the allegation, and the historical record is inconclusive.The transition proceeded smoothly, marking a watershed in American history. As historian Gordon S. Wood writes, "it was one of the first popular elections in modern history that resulted in the peaceful transfer of power from one 'party' to another."
Jefferson was sworn in by Chief Justice John Marshall at the new Capitol in Washington, D.C. on March 4, 1801. His inauguration was not attended by outgoing President Adams. In contrast to his predecessors, Jefferson exhibited a dislike of formal etiquette; he arrived alone on horseback without escort, dressed plainly and, after dismounting, retired his own horse to the nearby stable. His inaugural address struck a note of reconciliation and commitment to democratic ideology, declaring, "We have been called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists." Ideologically, Jefferson stressed "equal and exact justice to all men", minority rights, and freedom of speech, religion, and press. He said that a free and democratic government was "the strongest government on earth." He nominated moderate Republicans to his cabinet: James Madison as secretary of state, Henry Dearborn as secretary of war, Levi Lincoln as attorney General, and Robert Smith as secretary of the navy.Jefferson needed a hostess when ladies were present at the White House. His wife, Martha, had died in 1782. Jefferson's two daughters, Martha Jefferson Randolph and Maria Jefferson Eppes, occasionally served in that role. On May 27, 1801, Jefferson asked Dolley Madison, wife of his long-time friend James Madison, to be the permanent White House hostess. She accepted, realizing the diplomatic importance of the position. She was also in charge of the completion of the White House mansion. Dolley served as White House hostess for the rest of Jefferson's two terms and then eight more years as First Lady to President James Madison, Jefferson's successor. Historians have speculated that Martha Jefferson would have been an elegant First Lady on par with Martha Washington. Although she died before her husband took office, Martha Jefferson is sometimes considered a First Lady.
Upon assuming office, he first confronted an $83 million national debt. He began dismantling Hamilton's Federalist fiscal system with help from Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin. The talented Gallatin devised a plan to eliminate the national debt in sixteen years by extensive annual appropriations and reduction in taxes. Jefferson's administration eliminated the whiskey excise and other taxes after closing "unnecessary offices" and cutting "useless establishments and expenses". They attempted to disassemble the national bank and its effect of increasing national debt, but were dissuaded by Gallatin. Jefferson shrank the Navy, deeming it unnecessary in peacetime. Instead, he incorporated a fleet of inexpensive gunboats used only for defense with the idea that they would not provoke foreign hostilities. After two terms, he had lowered the national debt from $83 million to $57 million.
Jefferson pardoned several of those imprisoned under the Alien and Sedition Acts. Congressional Republicans repealed the Judiciary Act of 1801, which removed nearly all of Adams's "midnight judges" from office. A subsequent appointment battle led to the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Marbury v. Madison, asserting judicial review over executive branch actions. Jefferson appointed three Supreme Court justices: William Johnson (1804), Henry Brockholst Livingston (1807), and Thomas Todd (1807).Jefferson strongly felt the need for a national military university, producing an officer engineering corps for a national defense based on the advancement of the sciences, rather than having to rely on foreign sources for top grade engineers with questionable loyalty. He signed the Military Peace Establishment Act on March 16, 1802, thus founding the United States Military Academy at West Point. The Act documented in 29 sections a new set of laws and limits for the military. Jefferson was also hoping to bring reform to the Executive branch, replacing Federalists and active opponents throughout the officer corps to promote Republican values.Jefferson took great interest in the Library of Congress, which had been established in 1800. He often recommended books to acquire. In 1802, an act of Congress authorized President Jefferson to name the first Librarian of Congress and gave itself the power to establish library rules and regulations. This act also granted the president and vice president the right to use the library.
American merchant ships had been protected from Barbary Coast pirates by the Royal Navy when the states were British colonies. After independence, however, pirates often captured U.S. merchant ships, pillaged cargoes, and enslaved or held crew members for ransom. Jefferson had opposed paying tribute to the Barbary States since 1785. In March 1786, he and John Adams went to London to negotiate with Tripoli's envoy, ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman (or Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja). In 1801, he authorized a U.S. Navy fleet under Commodore Richard Dale to make a show of force in the Mediterranean, the first American naval squadron to cross the Atlantic. Following the fleet's first engagement, he successfully asked Congress for a declaration of war. The subsequent "First Barbary War" was the first foreign war fought by the U.S.
Pasha of Tripoli Yusuf Karamanli captured the USS Philadelphia, so Jefferson authorized William Eaton, the U.S. Consul to Tunis, to lead a force to restore the pasha's older brother to the throne. The American navy forced Tunis and Algiers into breaking their alliance with Tripoli. Jefferson ordered five separate naval bombardments of Tripoli, leading the pasha to sign a treaty that restored peace in the Mediterranean. This victory proved only temporary, but according to Wood, "many Americans celebrated it as a vindication of their policy of spreading free trade around the world and as a great victory for liberty over tyranny."
Spain ceded ownership of the Louisiana territory in 1800 to the more predominant France. Jefferson was greatly concerned that Napoleon's broad interests in the vast territory would threaten the security of the continent and Mississippi River shipping. He wrote that the cession "works most sorely on the U.S. It completely reverses all the political relations of the U.S." In 1802, he instructed James Monroe and Robert R. Livingston to negotiate with Napoleon to purchase New Orleans and adjacent coastal areas from France. In early 1803, Jefferson offered Napoleon nearly $10 million for 40,000 square miles (100,000 square kilometers) of tropical territory.Napoleon realized that French military control was impractical over such a vast remote territory, and he was in dire need of funds for his wars on the home front. In early April 1803, he unexpectedly made negotiators a counter-offer to sell 827,987 square miles (2,144,480 square kilometers) of French territory for $15 million, doubling the size of the United States. U.S. negotiators seized this unique opportunity and accepted the offer and signed the treaty on April 30, 1803. Word of the unexpected purchase did not reach Jefferson until July 3, 1803. He unknowingly acquired the most fertile tract of land of its size on Earth, making the new country self-sufficient in food and other resources. The sale also significantly curtailed the European presence in North America, removing obstacles to U.S. westward expansion.Most thought that this was an exceptional opportunity, despite Republican reservations about the Constitutional authority of the federal government to acquire land. Jefferson initially thought that a Constitutional amendment was necessary to purchase and govern the new territory; but he later changed his mind, fearing that this would give cause to oppose the purchase, and he, therefore, urged a speedy debate and ratification. On October 20, 1803, the Senate ratified the purchase treaty by a vote of 24–7.After the purchase, Jefferson preserved the region's Spanish legal code and instituted a gradual approach for integrating settlers into American democracy. He believed that a period of federal rule would be necessary while Louisianians adjusted to their new nation. Historians have differed in their assessments regarding the constitutional implications of the sale, but they typically hail the Louisiana acquisition as a major accomplishment. Frederick Jackson Turner called the purchase the most formative event in American history.
Jefferson anticipated further westward settlements due to the Louisiana Purchase and arranged for the exploration and mapping of the uncharted territory. He sought to establish a U.S. claim ahead of competing European interests and to find the rumored Northwest Passage. Jefferson and others were influenced by exploration accounts of Le Page du Pratz in Louisiana (1763) and Captain James Cook in the Pacific (1784), and they persuaded Congress in 1804 to fund an expedition to explore and map the newly acquired territory to the Pacific Ocean.Jefferson appointed Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to be leaders of the Corps of Discovery (1803–1806). In the months leading up to the expedition, Jefferson tutored Lewis in the sciences of mapping, botany, natural history, mineralogy, and astronomy and navigation, giving him unlimited access to his library at Monticello, which included the largest collection of books in the world on the subject of the geography and natural history of the North American continent, along with an impressive collection of maps.The expedition lasted from May 1804 to September 1806 (see Timeline) and obtained a wealth of scientific and geographic knowledge, including knowledge of many Indian tribes.
In addition to the Corps of Discovery, Jefferson organized three other western expeditions: the William Dunbar and George Hunter expedition on the Ouachita River (1804–1805), the Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis expedition (1806) on the Red River, and the Zebulon Pike Expedition (1806–1807) into the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest. All three produced valuable information about the American frontier.
Jefferson's experiences with the American Indians began during his boyhood in Virginia and extended through his political career and into his retirement. He refuted the contemporary notion that Indians were inferior people and maintained that they were equal in body and mind to people of European descent.As governor of Virginia during the Revolutionary War, Jefferson recommended moving the Cherokee and Shawnee tribes, who had allied with the British, to west of the Mississippi River. But when he took office as president, he quickly took measures to avert another major conflict, as American and Indian societies were in collision and the British were inciting Indian tribes from Canada. In Georgia, he stipulated that the state would release its legal claims for lands to its west in exchange for military support in expelling the Cherokee from Georgia. This facilitated his policy of western expansion, to "advance compactly as we multiply".In keeping with his Enlightenment thinking, President Jefferson adopted an assimilation policy toward American Indians known as his "civilization program" which included securing peaceful U.S. – Indian treaty alliances and encouraging agriculture. Jefferson advocated that Indian tribes should make federal purchases by credit holding their lands as collateral for repayment. Various tribes accepted Jefferson's policies, including the Shawnees led by Black Hoof, the Creek, and the Cherokees. However, some Shawnees broke off from Black Hoof, led by Tecumseh, and opposed Jefferson's assimilation policies.Historian Bernard Sheehan argues that Jefferson believed that assimilation was best for American Indians; second best was removal to the west. He felt that the worst outcome of the cultural and resources conflict between American citizens and American Indians would be their attacking the whites. Jefferson told Secretary of War General Henry Dearborn (Indian affairs were then under the War Department), "If we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe, we will never lay it down until that tribe is exterminated or driven beyond the Mississippi." Miller agrees that Jefferson believed that Indians should assimilate to American customs and agriculture. Historians such as Peter S. Onuf and Merrill D. Peterson argue that Jefferson's actual Indian policies did little to promote assimilation and were a pretext to seize lands.
Jefferson's successful first term occasioned his re-nomination for president by the Republican party, with George Clinton replacing Burr as his running mate. The Federalist party ran Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina, John Adams's vice-presidential candidate in the 1800 election. The Jefferson-Clinton ticket won overwhelmingly in the electoral college vote, by 162 to 14, promoting their achievement of a strong economy, lower taxes, and the Louisiana Purchase.In March 1806, a split developed in the Republican party, led by fellow Virginian and former Republican ally John Randolph who viciously accused President Jefferson on the floor of the House of moving too far in the Federalist direction. In so doing, Randolph permanently set himself apart politically from Jefferson. Jefferson and Madison had backed resolutions to limit or ban British imports in retaliation for British seizures of American shipping. Also, in 1808, Jefferson was the first president to propose a broad Federal plan to build roads and canals across several states, asking for $20 million, further alarming Randolph and believers of limited government.Jefferson's popularity further suffered in his second term due to his response to wars in Europe. Positive relations with Great Britain had diminished, due partly to the antipathy between Jefferson and British diplomat Anthony Merry. After Napoleon's decisive victory at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, Napoleon became more aggressive in his negotiations over trading rights, which American efforts failed to counter. Jefferson then led the enactment of the Embargo Act of 1807, directed at both France and Great Britain. This triggered economic chaos in the U.S. and was strongly criticized at the time, resulting in Jefferson having to abandon the policy a year later.During the revolutionary era, the states abolished the international slave trade, but South Carolina reopened it. In his annual message of December 1806, Jefferson denounced the "violations of human rights" attending the international slave trade, calling on the newly elected Congress to criminalize it immediately. In 1807, Congress passed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves, which Jefferson signed. The act established severe punishment against the international slave trade, although it did not address the issue domestically.In Haiti, Jefferson's neutrality had allowed arms to enable the slave independence movement during its Revolution, and blocked attempts to assist Napoleon, who was defeated there in 1803. But he refused official recognition of the country during his second term, in deference to southern complaints about the racial violence against slave-holders; it was eventually extended to Haiti in 1862.Domestically, Jefferson's grandson James Madison Randolph became the first child born in the White House in 1806.
Following the 1801 electoral deadlock, Jefferson's relationship with his vice president, former New York Senator Aaron Burr, rapidly eroded. Jefferson suspected Burr of seeking the presidency for himself, while Burr was angered by Jefferson's refusal to appoint some of his supporters to federal office. Burr was dropped from the Republican ticket in 1804.
The same year, Burr was soundly defeated in his bid to be elected New York governor. During the campaign, Alexander Hamilton publicly made callous remarks regarding Burr's moral character. Subsequently, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel, mortally wounding him on July 11, 1804. Burr was indicted for Hamilton's murder in New York and New Jersey, causing him to flee to Georgia, although he remained President of the Senate during Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase's impeachment trial. Both indictments quietly died and Burr was not prosecuted. Also during the election, certain New England separatists approached Burr, desiring a New England federation and intimating that he would be their leader. However, nothing came of the plot, since Burr had lost the election and his reputation was ruined after killing Hamilton. In August 1804, Burr contacted British Minister Anthony Merry offering to cede U.S. western territory in return for money and British ships.After leaving office in April 1805, Burr traveled west and conspired with Louisiana Territory governor James Wilkinson, beginning a large-scale recruitment for a military expedition. Other plotters included Ohio Senator John Smith and an Irishman named Harmon Blennerhassett. Burr discussed a number of plots—seizing control of Mexico or Spanish Florida, or forming a secessionist state in New Orleans or the Western U.S. Historians remain unclear as to his true goal.In the fall of 1806, Burr launched a military flotilla carrying about 60 men down the Ohio River. Wilkinson renounced the plot, apparently from self-interested motives; he reported Burr's expedition to Jefferson, who immediately ordered Burr's arrest. On February 13, 1807, Burr was captured in Louisiana's Bayou Pierre wilderness and sent to Virginia to be tried for treason.Burr's 1807 conspiracy trial became a national issue. Jefferson attempted to preemptively influence the verdict by telling Congress that Burr's guilt was "beyond question", but the case came before his longtime political foe John Marshall, who dismissed the treason charge. Burr's legal team at one stage subpoenaed Jefferson, but Jefferson refused to testify, making the first argument for executive privilege. Instead, Jefferson provided relevant legal documents. After a three-month trial, the jury found Burr not guilty, while Jefferson denounced his acquittal. Jefferson subsequently removed Wilkinson as territorial governor but retained him in the U.S. military. Historian James N. Banner criticized Jefferson for continuing to trust Wilkinson, a "faithless plotter".
Commanding General James Wilkinson was a holdover of the Washington and Adams administrations. Wilkinson was rumored to be a "skillful and unscrupolous plotter". In 1804, Wilkinson received 12,000 pesos from the Spanish for information on American boundary plans. Wilkinson also received advances on his salary and payments on claims submitted to Secretary of War Henry Dearborn. This damaging information apparently was unknown to Jefferson. In 1805, Jefferson trusted Wilkinson and appointed him Louisiana Territory governor, admiring Wilkinson's work ethic. In January 1806 Jefferson received information from Kentucky U.S. Attorney Joseph Davies that Wilkinson was on the Spanish payroll. Jefferson took no action against Wilkinson, there being, at the time, a lack of evidence against Wilkinson. An investigation by the House in December 1807 exonerated Wilkinson. In 1808, a military court looked into Wilkinson but lacked evidence to charge Wilkinson. Jefferson retained Wilkinson in the Army and he was passed on by Jefferson to Jefferson's successor James Madison. Evidence found in Spanish archives in the twentieth century proved Wilkinson was, in fact, on the Spanish payroll.
In the aftermath of the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson attempted to annex West Florida from Spain, a nation under the control of Emperor Napoleon and the French Empire after 1804. In his annual message to Congress, on December 3, 1805, Jefferson railed against Spain over Florida border depredations. A few days later Jefferson secretly requested a two million dollar expenditure to purchase Florida. Representative and floor leader John Randolph, however, opposed annexation and was upset over Jefferson's secrecy on the matter, and believed the money would land in the coffers of Napoleon. The Two Million Dollar bill passed only after Jefferson successfully maneuvered to replace Randolph with Barnabas Bidwell as floor leader. This aroused suspicion of Jefferson and charges of undue executive influence over Congress. Jefferson signed the bill into law in February 1806. Six weeks later the law was made public. The two million dollars was to be given to France as payment, in turn, to put pressure on Spain to permit the annexation of Florida by the United States. France, however, was in no mood to allow Spain to give up Florida and refused the offer. Florida remained under the control of Spain. The failed venture damaged Jefferson's reputation among his supporters.
The British conducted seizures of American shipping to search for British deserters from 1806 to 1807; American citizens were thus impressed into the British naval service. In 1806, Jefferson issued a call for a boycott of British goods; on April 18, Congress passed the Non-Importation Acts, but they were never enforced. Later that year, Jefferson asked James Monroe and William Pinkney to negotiate with Great Britain to end the harassment of American shipping, though Britain showed no signs of improving relations. The Monroe–Pinkney Treaty was finalized but lacked any provisions to end the British policies, and Jefferson refused to submit it to the Senate for ratification.The British ship HMS Leopard fired upon the USS Chesapeake off the Virginia coast in June 1807, and Jefferson prepared for war. He issued a proclamation banning armed British ships from U.S. waters. He presumed unilateral authority to call on the states to prepare 100,000 militia and ordered the purchase of arms, ammunition, and supplies, writing, "The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation [than strict observance of written laws]". The USS Revenge was dispatched to demand an explanation from the British government; it also was fired upon. Jefferson called for a special session of Congress in October to enact an embargo or alternatively to consider war.
In December, news arrived that Napoleon had extended the Berlin Decree, globally banning British imports. In Britain, King George III ordered redoubling efforts at impressment, including American sailors. But the war fever of the summer faded; Congress had no appetite to prepare the U.S. for war. Jefferson asked for and received the Embargo Act, an alternative that allowed the U.S. more time to build up defensive works, militias, and naval forces. Later historians have seen the irony in Jefferson's assertion of such federal power. Meacham said that the Embargo Act was a projection of power that surpassed the Alien and Sedition Acts, and R. B. Bernstein said that Jefferson "was pursuing policies resembling those he had cited in 1776 as grounds for independence and revolution".
Secretary of State James Madison supported the embargo with equal vigor to Jefferson, while Treasury Secretary Gallatin opposed it, due to its indefinite time frame and the risk that it posed to the policy of American neutrality. The U.S. economy suffered, criticism grew, and opponents began evading the embargo. Instead of retreating, Jefferson sent federal agents to secretly track down smugglers and violators. Three acts were passed in Congress during 1807 and 1808, called the Supplementary, the Additional, and the Enforcement acts. The government could not prevent American vessels from trading with the European belligerents once they had left American ports, although the embargo triggered a devastating decline in exports.Most historians consider Jefferson's embargo to have been ineffective and harmful to American interests. Appleby describes the strategy as Jefferson's "least effective policy", and Joseph Ellis calls it "an unadulterated calamity". Others, however, portray it as an innovative, nonviolent measure which aided France in its war with Britain while preserving American neutrality. Jefferson believed that the failure of the embargo was due to selfish traders and merchants showing a lack of "republican virtue." He maintained that, had the embargo been widely observed, it would have avoided war in 1812.In December 1807, Jefferson announced his intention not to seek a third term. He turned his attention increasingly to Monticello during the last year of his presidency, giving Madison and Gallatin almost total control of affairs. Shortly before leaving office in March 1809, Jefferson signed the repeal of the Embargo. In its place, the Non-Intercourse Act was passed, but it proved no more effective. The day before Madison was inaugurated as his successor, Jefferson said that he felt like "a prisoner, released from his chains".
Following his retirement from the presidency, Jefferson continued his pursuit of educational interests; he sold his vast collection of books to the Library of Congress, and founded and built the University of Virginia. Jefferson continued to correspond with many of the country's leaders (including his two protégées who succeeded him as president), and the Monroe Doctrine bears a strong resemblance to solicited advice that Jefferson gave to Monroe in 1823. As he settled into private life at Monticello, Jefferson developed a daily routine of rising early. He would spend several hours writing letters, with which he was often deluged. In the midday, he would often inspect the plantation on horseback. In the evenings, his family enjoyed leisure time in the gardens; late at night, Jefferson would retire to bed with a book. However, his routine was often interrupted by uninvited visitors and tourists eager to see the icon in his final days, turning Monticello into "a virtual hotel".
Jefferson envisioned a university free of church influences where students could specialize in many new areas not offered at other colleges. He believed that education engendered a stable society, which should provide publicly funded schools accessible to students from all social strata, based solely on ability. He initially proposed his University in a letter to Joseph Priestley in 1800 and, in 1819, the 76-year-old Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. He organized the state legislative campaign for its charter and, with the assistance of Edmund Bacon, purchased the location. He was the principal designer of the buildings, planned the university's curriculum, and served as the first rector upon its opening in 1825.Jefferson was a strong disciple of Greek and Roman architectural styles, which he believed to be most representative of American democracy. Each academic unit, called a pavilion, was designed with a two-story temple front, while the library "Rotunda" was modeled on the Roman Pantheon. Jefferson referred to the university's grounds as the "Academical Village," and he reflected his educational ideas in its layout. The ten pavilions included classrooms and faculty residences; they formed a quadrangle and were connected by colonnades, behind which stood the students' rows of rooms. Gardens and vegetable plots were placed behind the pavilions and were surrounded by serpentine walls, affirming the importance of the agrarian lifestyle. The university had a library rather than a church at its center, emphasizing its secular nature—a controversial aspect at the time.When Jefferson d
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