Thomas Jefferson The Country’s Greatest President
1. Background and Education • Father: Peter Jefferson • Like most sons of land owners, he studied land surveying • Graduated from William and Mary University in Williamsburg, VA • Tall, red-headed, quiet
2. Political Beliefs • The government which governs least, governs best • Strongly favored States Rights as opposed to a strong national government • Believed in a strict construction, or strict interpretation, of the U.S.Constitution • Wanted to end all taxes of any kind paid by U.S. citizens
3. Accomplishments Prior to becoming President • Wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence • Wrote the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom • Created the University of Virginia • Served as an ambassador to Europe from the United States
4. The Election of 1800 • Democratic-Republican Candidates: Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr
4. The Election of 1800 • Federalist Candidates: John Adams and Charles C. Pinckney
4. The Election of 1800 • Adams would have won re-election, perhaps easily, had Alexander Hamilton not split the Federalist Party
4. The Election of 1800 • Instead, the Democratic-Republicans won the election • Both winning candidates, Jefferson and Burr, received 73 electoral votes • Election was settled the House of Representatives after 35 votes • Hamilton swings the election to Jefferson and angers Burr
4. The Election of 1800 • The messed up election pointed out the need for a Constitutional amendment regarding the Presidential election process. • The 12th Amendment modified the Constitution so that the President and the Vice-President are elected using separate ballots.
4. The Election of 1800 • John Adams, the 1st President to live in Washington, D.C., leaves before Jefferson’s inauguration • Jefferson’s Inauguration takes place on March 4, 1801 in Washington, D.C.—the 1st done there • The unfinished White House and Capitol were just about the only buildings in town
4. The Election of 1800 • Federalists fear what Jefferson will say—will he start a new revolution? • Jefferson, surprisingly, calls for unity—he states “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.” • Jefferson DOES NOT propose to change or destroy the structure of the federal government.
5. Accomplishments made during early part of Jefferson’s 1st term • Appointed Albert Gallatin as Secretary of the Treasury • Cut military spending • Reduced the army from 4000 to 2500 men • Reduced the navy from 25 to 7 ships • Reduced national debt from $83 million to $45 million • Cut ALL internal taxes
5. Accomplishments made during early part of Jefferson’s 1st term • Only source of government income: tariffs and sales of Western land • Let the Alien and Sedition Acts expire
6. Issues with the Courts • Marbury vs. Madison: Does William Marbury, one of John Adams’ last minute “midnight judges,” receive his commission to be judge or not? • Jefferson had James Madison refuse to give the commission to Marbury • Issue went before the Supreme Court • Ruling became a precedent—an example for future court cases
6. Issues with the Courts • With Marbury vs. Madison, the Supreme Court established the concept of “Judicial Review” of laws • Judicial Review means that the Court may decide if a law is constitutional or not. • If a law is judged to be unconstitutional, or goes against the U.S. Constitution, then the law ceases to be a law.
7. The Louisiana Purchase • By 1800, the western boundary of the U.S. was the Mississippi. • The Louisiana Territory, that is all lands west of the Mississippi River which drained into the river, was originally controlled by France. • As part of losing the French-Indian War, France ceded, or gave, the Louisiana Territory to Spain
7. The Louisiana Purchase • The Louisiana Territory continued to be controlled by Spain until 1800. • A war fought in Europe between Spain and France ended with a victory for Napoleon and the French. • Secretly, the Louisiana Territory was transferred from Spain to France as a result of that European war.
7. The Louisiana Purchase • Jefferson learned that Louisiana Territory was now controlled by France • French ownership of the Louisiana Territory posed several problems for the U.S.—mainly the French were popular with the Indians and the French presence blocked any sort of westward movement by U.S. citizens into the Louisiana Territory
7. The Louisiana Purchase • The other major problem involved the city of New Orleans. New Orleans controlled all river trade. River trade came from not only the Louisiana Territory, but also from the United States. If France decided to close the city of New Orleans to U.S. trade, then the U.S. would suffer great economic hardship.
7. The Louisiana Purchase • Jefferson realized the problems involved with France owning the Louisiana Territory. • Jefferson sends Robert Livingston and James Monroe to buy New Orleans and West Florida for $2 million from France. • Livingston and Monroe may spend UP to $10 million.
7. The Louisiana Purchase • Despite being more money and more land than expected, both Livingston and Monroe quickly agree to the deal. • The deal poses a personal problem for Jefferson—is this small government? Still, Jefferson agrees to the deal. • Congress debates the issue—lots of money involved—still, they agree to it.
7. The Louisiana Purchase • Napoleon experiences slave rebellion trouble in the French colony of Saint Domingue located in the Caribbean. • Napoleon also needs money for another war with Great Britain. He decides to sell ALL of the Louisiana Territory. His price: $15 million.
8. Lewis and Clark • For a variety of reasons, Jefferson decides to send a military expedition to explore the Louisiana Territory. • Jefferson’s personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, is placed in charge of the expedition. The men on this expediton are called the Corps of Discovery. • Lewis was to explore the territory, map it, find a water route to the Pacific, make friends with the Native Americans, and drive out all French and/or British traders if possible. Meriwether Lewis
8. Lewis and Clark • Lewis selects Lt. William Clark as a co-commander. The army refuses to recognize co-commanders so Clark remains a lieutenant. • The men of the Corps of Discovery are told that Clark is a Captain and a co-commander of the expedition. • Lewis and Clark, along with the other members of the Corps of Discovery, depart St. Louis on May 14, 1804 and travels upriver. • They stop for the winter of 1805 in the Mandan villages and create Fort Mandan. William Clark
8. Lewis and Clark • At Fort Mandan, Lewis and Clark hire the French trader Toussaint Charbonneau as an interpreter and guide. The true prize was Charbonneau’s 2nd wife, Sacagawea and Sacagawea’s newborn infant son. • Charbonneau proves useless. Sacagawea, while not a guide, does prove helpful: no war party would travel with a woman and young child. Sacagawea’s presence eases tensions between Corps of Discovery and the Indians.
8. Lewis and Clark • The Corps of Discovery reach the Pacific Ocean on November 7, 1805. Clark writes: “Ocean in view! O! The joy!” • The first American vote involving an African-American (York), a female (Sacagawea), and men of several different nationalities takes place to decide where to stay for the winter. • The Corps of Discovery create Fort Clatsop and spend the 1806 winter on the Pacific coast. They experience problems with the natives.
8. Lewis and Clark • The journey becomes a race down the Missouri River. Lewis and Clark arrive in St. Louis on September 23, 1806. • They traveled almost 8,000 miles along the journey. They mapped the entire distance using “line of sight” approximations. They were off by only 4 miles.
9. Zebulon Pike • Zebulon Pike also explores the western territory. • Pike reaches the Colorado area and finds the mountain which now bears his name: Pike’s Peak. • Pike then moves south into the Spanish territories which eventually become Texas and Mexico.
10. Jefferson’s Reelection • By 1804, Jefferson was unquestioned success as a President. He was easily reelected. • Burr decided to run for governor of New York. Hamilton criticized Burr; Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel; Burr shoots and kills Hamilton. Burr’s term as Vice President was not quite over at the time of the duel.
11. Jefferson’s 2nd Term • Pirates from the Barbary Coast States in the Mediterranean Sea demand tribute from U.S. trade ships. • Jefferson refuses to pay the tribute • The Barbary pirates from Tripoli declare war on the U.S. • Jefferson does not want to fight; instead, he orders a blockade of the port of Tripoli.
11. Jefferson’s 2nd Term • The blockade eventually works. The U.S. forces the pirates to sign a peace treaty which ends all tribute payments. • The military action is popular in the U.S., but shows the need for a U.S. navy. • Jefferson puts aside his own personal problems with the government paying for a navy, and the country develops a stronger defense.
11. Jefferson’s 2nd Term • Great Britain continues its policy of impressment. • Impressment is when the British kidnap U.S. sailors and force them to work as British sailors. • The impressment issue becomes a big deal with the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair in June 1807.
11. Jefferson’s 2nd Term • Jefferson deals with the impressment issue by asking for an embargo, or block of trade, against both Great Britain and France. • Congress passes the Embargo Act of 1807. The main victim of the law was neither Great Britain nor France—it was the U.S. merchants who could no longer trade with either country.
11. Jefferson’s 2nd Term • The Embargo Act proves EXTREMELY unpopular and Jefferson’s popularity suffers as a result. • Eventually, Congress repealed the Embargo Act and replaced it with the Non-Intercourse Act. • The Non-Intercourse Act was no more successful than the Embargo Act. American merchants and shipowners suffered greatly. • Jefferson leaves office with a loss of respect.
12. Jefferson after the Presidency • James Madison, the author of the Constitution, a Democratic-Republican, and Jefferson’s hand-picked successor becomes the next President. • Madison leads the country during the War of 1812.
12. Jefferson after the Presidency • Jefferson renews his friendship with his long-term friend and political rival, John Adams. • Jefferson and Adams exchange tons of letters with each other. • Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both die on the same day: July 4, 1826. It was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence which both men help write.