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Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) was the third American President (1801 – 1809). Owing to his tremendous policies and changes he has brought to the country, he is considered to be one of the America’s greatest presidents. This essay will discuss and analyze why Thomas Jefferson is considered to be the greatest American President.

Early Life

Thomas Jefferson grew up in Virginia and attended Reverand James Maury's School, where he was taught in Greek, French, and Latin by a clergy named William Douglas. He later attended the college of William and Mary where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1767 (Kelly).

Early Career

Jefferson later served in the House of Burgesses during the period of 1769 – 1774, where he was vocal against Britain’s actions. He was part of the Committee of correspondence that was formed as a means of coordinating action against Great Britain. He was a member of the continental congress from 1775 to 1776 and later – a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1776 to 1779. During the revolutionary war, he was elected as the governor of Virginia. He is credited to have written the declaration of independence during his tenure as a Continental Congress from 1783 to 1784 (Kelly).

Elections

Jefferson ran as a republican presidential candidate in 1800 against John Adams whom he had served as a vice president. Jefferson’s election took office from the acclaimed federalist John Adams in an orderly manner, which was a rare event then.

Why Is He Considered the Greatest President?

Whether Thomas Jefferson was a great president or not depends on how one defines the term ‘great’. From this point of view, we will define greatness as how well a president defends the true and original principles of the constitution, civil and economic liberties of the American people who had fought for the revolution (Trask, 2010).

The Louisiana Purchase

During his tenure as the President of America, Thomas Jefferson made some great achievements that catapulted him to be one of the greatest American presidents. Among his greatest achievement was the Louisiana Purchase which resulted in almost doubling the size of the United States. This purchase was one of the largest in the history of the U.S., and the U.S. paid about $15 million for each 800,000 sq. mile of land to France. Unlike his predecessor, Jefferson was an anti-federalist and advocated for state’s rights instead. He knew that for the American continent to survive then, it could be from the ability to govern it from one end of the sea to another. He actually overstepped his mandate as the President to draft the Louisiana Purchase. Despite the fact that it was a bad precedent for American presidents to abuse power, the whole purchase was a good thing for America (Kelly). 

Trask (2010) states that it is through Jefferson’s policy of neutrality that French sympathizers created an ample environment for the purchase of Louisiana. It is through the federal principle that the decentralization of power was felt and the acquisition of Louisiana made it easy for the federal government to fulfill a constitutional responsibility of providing for a common defense. In the Louisiana transaction above, it shows that Jefferson was always the leader and not a follower. He can be described as a sharper and rarely conscious instrument. He envisioned America as being able to tap its full potential by building strong economic base by first achieving political harmony and unity. He wanted a country that maintained simplicity of manners and one that remained peaceful in spite of numerous conflicts between other great powers. The Louisiana Purchase did show these qualities in Jefferson and so did the diplomatic maneuvering which he conducted with a great skill and calmness (Lerner & Schuhl, 1996).

The transfer of power between Adams and Jefferson was a significant point in the history of America. It was a smooth event that had never happened before. Jefferson had spent time to deal with the federalist agenda as well as allowing the Alien and Sedition Acts to end without being renewed.  Jefferson is also credited to ending foreign slave trade in 1808. He, as a result, established the precedent of the Executive Privilege when he refused to testify during the Aaron Burr’s (his vice president) trial (Kelly). Jefferson is also credited to be a true and consistent statesman with steadfast policies with his professed political as well as economic philosophy of smaller and leaner government with low taxes, free trade, not involved in foreign affairs, and with peace (Trask, 2010).  

During his second term as the President, Thomas Jefferson signed the Embargo Act in response to the American

Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) was the third American President (1801 – 1809). Owing to his tremendous policies and changes he has brought to the country, he is considered to be one of the America’s greatest presidents. This essay will discuss and analyze why Thomas Jefferson is considered to be the greatest American President.

Early Life

Thomas Jefferson grew up in Virginia and attended Reverand James Maury's School, where he was taught in Greek, French, and Latin by a clergy named William Douglas. He later attended the college of William and Mary where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1767 (Kelly).

Early Career

Jefferson later served in the House of Burgesses during the period of 1769 – 1774, where he was vocal against Britain’s actions. He was part of the Committee of correspondence that was formed as a means of coordinating action against Great Britain. He was a member of the continental congress from 1775 to 1776 and later – a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1776 to 1779. During the revolutionary war, he was elected as the governor of Virginia. He is credited to have written the declaration of independence during his tenure as a Continental Congress from 1783 to 1784 (Kelly).

Elections

Jefferson ran as a republican presidential candidate in 1800 against John Adams whom he had served as a vice president. Jefferson’s election took office from the acclaimed federalist John Adams in an orderly manner, which was a rare event then.

Why Is He Considered the Greatest President?

Whether Thomas Jefferson was a great president or not depends on how one defines the term ‘great’. From this point of view, we will define greatness as how well a president defends the true and original principles of the constitution, civil and economic liberties of the American people who had fought for the revolution (Trask, 2010).

The Louisiana Purchase

During his tenure as the President of America, Thomas Jefferson made some great achievements that catapulted him to be one of the greatest American presidents. Among his greatest achievement was the Louisiana Purchase which resulted in almost doubling the size of the United States. This purchase was one of the largest in the history of the U.S., and the U.S. paid about $15 million for each 800,000 sq. mile of land to France. Unlike his predecessor, Jefferson was an anti-federalist and advocated for state’s rights instead. He knew that for the American continent to survive then, it could be from the ability to govern it from one end of the sea to another. He actually overstepped his mandate as the President to draft the Louisiana Purchase. Despite the fact that it was a bad precedent for American presidents to abuse power, the whole purchase was a good thing for America (Kelly). 

Trask (2010) states that it is through Jefferson’s policy of neutrality that French sympathizers created an ample environment for the purchase of Louisiana. It is through the federal principle that the decentralization of power was felt and the acquisition of Louisiana made it easy for the federal government to fulfill a constitutional responsibility of providing for a common defense. In the Louisiana transaction above, it shows that Jefferson was always the leader and not a follower. He can be described as a sharper and rarely conscious instrument. He envisioned America as being able to tap its full potential by building strong economic base by first achieving political harmony and unity. He wanted a country that maintained simplicity of manners and one that remained peaceful in spite of numerous conflicts between other great powers. The Louisiana Purchase did show these qualities in Jefferson and so did the diplomatic maneuvering which he conducted with a great skill and calmness (Lerner & Schuhl, 1996).

The transfer of power between Adams and Jefferson was a significant point in the history of America. It was a smooth event that had never happened before. Jefferson had spent time to deal with the federalist agenda as well as allowing the Alien and Sedition Acts to end without being renewed.  Jefferson is also credited to ending foreign slave trade in 1808. He, as a result, established the precedent of the Executive Privilege when he refused to testify during the Aaron Burr’s (his vice president) trial (Kelly). Jefferson is also credited to be a true and consistent statesman with steadfast policies with his professed political as well as economic philosophy of smaller and leaner government with low taxes, free trade, not involved in foreign affairs, and with peace (Trask, 2010).  

During his second term as the President, Thomas Jefferson signed the Embargo Act in response to the American ships (when France and Britain were at war) being targeted. The act stopped America from exporting and importing foreign goods.  He reasoned that the act could have the effect of hurting trade in France and Great Britain (Kelly).

Conclusion

Thomas Jefferson’s revered greatness as the American President is from the fact that he presided over a revolution of smooth handover of power during his inauguration. What Jefferson accomplished (especially, in the Louisiana Purchase) showed that he was not tender-minded but tough and that he had enough flexibility to maneuver and seize an opportunity which may have never been offered again. It is the ‘tough-mindedness’ strain that make Thomas Jefferson be admired by many people. He also managed to keep the United States out of foreign wars and lowered taxes. In this way, it is believed that Jefferson’s presidency constitutes a model that can be emulated by present and future leaders of constitutional federalist. 

ships (when France and Britain were at war) being targeted. The act stopped America from exporting and importing foreign goods.  He reasoned that the act could have the effect of hurting trade in France and Great Britain (Kelly).

Conclusion

Thomas Jefferson’s revered greatness as the American President is from the fact that he presided over a revolution of smooth handover of power during his inauguration. What Jefferson accomplished (especially, in the Louisiana Purchase) showed that he was not tender-minded but tough and that he had enough flexibility to maneuver and seize an opportunity which may have never been offered again. It is the ‘tough-mindedness’ strain that make Thomas Jefferson be admired by many people. He also managed to keep the United States out of foreign wars and lowered taxes. In this way, it is believed that Jefferson’s presidency constitutes a model that can be emulated by present and future leaders of constitutional federalist. 

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