Thomas Jefferson: His Presidential Legacy

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Thomas Jefferson, our third president, was born in 1743 in Virginia. He studied at William and Mary and then read the law. In 1772, he married a widow lady, Martha Skelton and he took her to live at his partially completed home at Monticello, the plantation consisting of approximately 5,000 acres that he inherited from his father. Mr. Jefferson was considered to be a gifted writer, but he was not a public speaker. He wrote his support for the patriotic cause in the House of Burgesses and the Continental congresses but he did not give any speeches. He was a silent member, and as such, drafted the Declaration of Independence. He became the first Secretary of State under George Washington, but resigned the post in 1793. His resignation was due to political conflicts with Alexander Hamilton and his sympathies for the French Revolution. As political differences grew in the new nation, two parties began to form; Jefferson became the leader of the Jeffersonian Party, which later evolved into the Democratic-Republican Party. He opposed a strong central government and was a champion for states' rights. In 1796, he missed being elected President by three votes. Instead, due to a flaw in the Constitution, he became Vice President. In the next election, the flaw became much more apparent. The Republican Party cast a tie vote between Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson. Alexander Hamilton voted for Jefferson, even though their political views differed. When Mr. Jefferson's second term was completed, he retired to Monticello and worked on his designs for the university of Virginia. He died on July 4, 1826. Mr. Jefferson's presidency left several legacies. The most important, in chronological order, were the Supreme Court's decision in the 1803 case of "Marbury v Madison," the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and the adoption of the 12th Amendment to the Constitution in 1804. The landmark case of "Marbury v Madison" involved William Marbury and James Madison. After his defeat in 1800,...
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