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Thomas Jefferson Biography
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Supporters celebrated with bonfires and speeches, only to find out that Jefferson and Burr received an equal number of electoral votes, creating a tie and throwing the election to the House of Representatives. After 36 ballots, the House declared Jefferson as president. As did Adams before he, Jefferson faced opposition from his own party as well as from the Federalists. As mentioned earlier, Jefferson had
an interest in North American exploration. He used his presidential power to purchase Louisiana from France and gave Meriwither Lewis and William Clark the opportunity and the responsibility to explore this
vast territory. After their triumphantreturn, the hostile Aaron Burr engaged in a conspiracy either to establish an independent republic in the Louisiana Territory or to launch an invasion of Spanish-held Mexico. Jefferson acted promptly to arrest Burr and brought him to trial for treason. Burr was acquitted, however. Foreign policy during his second term was rather unsuccessful. In an effort for the British to respect the United States’ neutrality during the Napoleonic Wars by passing the Embargo Act, he persuaded Congress to stop all trade with Britain, a move that failed to gain any respect from Britain,
alienated New England (who lived by foreign trade), and shattered the nation’s economy. Fifteen months later, he repealed the Embargo Act. In the final years of his life, Jefferson’s major accomplishment was the founding of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. He conceived it, planned it, designed it, and supervised both its construction and the hiring of the workers. He also hired the first professors and came up with its first course of study.
Jefferson wished to be remembered by three things, which consisted of a trilogy of unrelated causes: freedom from Britain, freedom from conscience, and freedom maintained through education. On
the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson died in Monticello. Though not flawless, given Jefferson’s contributions to the shaping of American society then and how it is today, it is nearly impossible to find him morally weak and coarse. He has truly defined true American culture as it is today and has shaped the lives of many Americans both of his time and our time alike.
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