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The primary goal of this article is to compose a research paper on Thomas Jefferson and his achievements. Essentially, it is fair to say that he is one of America's founding fathers. He was central to both progressive movements and philosophies. Most citizens are familiar with him since he was a primary author of the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, and died on July 4, 1826. (Jefferson 14). He was born in Shadwell, Virginia, and died in Monticello. Martha Jefferson Randolph, Mary Jefferson Eppes, Lucy Elizabeth Jefferson, Peter Jefferson, and Madison Hemmings were his daughters (Jefferson 16). In order to complete on this paper; we will look at Thomas Jefferson’s contributions one by one.
Thomas Jefferson’s Contributions
The first major contribution that Thomas Jefferson made in making America great is writing the Declaration of independence (Holowchak 24). Basically, it is important to note the fact that the declaration of independence is also known as the declaration of statehood. In a lay man’s language, a declaration of independence refers to an assertion that a certain territory is independent and free. The Declaration of independence was created between June and July 1776 and was ratified on July the 4th, 1776 (Holowchak 30). Basically, when we look at the making/writing of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson was In charge of a group of four people who were responsible for writing the first draft of the declaration. The four people included John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin and Robert Livingstone (Holowchak 34). After Thomas Jefferson and his group had written the first draft, it was revised, reviewed and presented to the Congress.
Thomas Jefferson also contributed in the writing of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Originally; this statute was drafted in the year 1777 and introduced to the General Assembly in the year 1779 (Holowchak 40). Generally; this statute is important in the sense it that showed a separation between the state and the Church. Initially, there was no difference between the Church and state. The Statute was also important in the sense that it disestablished/disabled the Church of England. People in the State of Virginia were not allowed to practice any other Religion apart from that of their Colonizers (British).
After the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was implemented, people in Virginia were able to practice any form or religion they wanted. It is important to note the fact that initially; Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Jews could not be able to practice their faith outwardly. However, after the implementation of the Statute there was the introduction of the Freedom of Religion. In general terms; Thomas Jefferson played a key role in ensuring that the people of Virginia were free in practicing their own form of Religion.
Thirdly; when we look at the History of America, Thomas Jefferson contributed significantly by advocating for free Public Education (Clements & Nerida & Ellerton 17). In reference to the Free Education, Thomas wrote a document titled “A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge.” According to this bill; all Children whether male or female in Virginia were to be given three years of instruction in writing, reading, history and arithmetic (Clements & Nerida & Ellerton 28). Despite the fact that this bill was not approved in the State Legislature it provided a safe path for the implementation of Free Public Education. Today; America has a policy that entails giving Children free Public Education which was initially propagated by Thomas Jefferson.
In reference to the American politics, Thomas was a stronghold. When we look at the years 1790 – 1793, Thomas served as the secretary of state with George Washington as the President (Randall 23). While in Office, Thomas made significant changes. He played a key role in ensuring that America was back to its feet after the revolutionary war. Basically; the revolutionary war affected America in many ways. The rate of the Economic growth significantly dropped (Cogliano 56). In order to ensure America was back on its feet, Jefferson proposed/advocated that each of the states should contribute or pay a certain percent to pay up for the Revolutionary war debt. As the secretary of State, he is also responsible of ensuring that America would assist France in whatever way so that they could win the war against Britain. It is also important to note the fact that Thomas served as the first U.S secretary of state, this is a very powerful position in the American Politics.
Thomas Jefferson also played big role as the President by maintaining the people together (Randall 48). Basically; the U.S is a large/vast Country made up of people of different races, cultures, ethnicities or tribes. Maintaining and controlling such a population is not an easy task. He became the President in the year 1801 (Randall 56). In the year 1803, Thomas Jefferson made one of the biggest political moves that has ever been seen. He purchased a huge chunk of land from the French people. According to different sources; Jefferson bought more than 800,000 square miles in the Louisiana territory (Randall 40). As a result of this move; Jefferson doubled the size America’s territory, it is estimated that he used approximately $15million. As a result of the Louisiana Purchase, the Americans were now free (Randall 48). They had more land for building, modernization, cultivation and other agricultural practices. Generally as a result of the introduction of the Louisiana territory, America had more land which they could use for expansion.
Thomas Jefferson is also important in the sense that he participated in founding the Library of Congress (Jefferson 22). According to the words of the Current Librarian Congress; James H. Billington, it is said that Thomas Jefferson played a significant role since he played a major role in ensuring that the Library of Congress was a success. It is said that in the year 1815, Jefferson sold almost 6700 volumes to the federal Government for as little as $24,000 (Jefferson 27). Generally; this is like saying he contribute the books for free. This books were very important to the Library. Basically; they formed a core collection of the main books in the Library. Secondly, it is also safe to state the fact that the Library of Congress would not have been a success if Jefferson was not committed in completing the project.
As a result of his love and believe in Education, Thomas made a lot of contributions when it came to the funding of school projects. A good example is that he founded the University of Virginia in the year 1819 (Jefferson 19). His main reason for founding some of the Universities in America is the fact that he disliked the idea that most of the graduates were professors and preachers. He wanted graduates who had great minds that reflected on leadership skills. Thomas Jefferson is also the founder of the first nonsectarian University in America (Clements & Nerida & Ellerton 61). A nonsectarian University refers to an institution that is not affiliated or restricted to a particular program or religious group. This University would cater for the needs of people who came from diverse religious groups. It is also important to note the fact that Thomas Jefferson played a major contribution by introducing the first elective course system.
Apart from politics, Thomas Jefferson also contributed by revolutionizing gardening and advocating for the practice of sustainable agriculture (Honeywell 44). The main reason behind the revolution is the fact that he was a big fan vegetables. Basically, it is safe to state the fact that he was a farmer since he grew different varieties/types of Vegetables at his home in Monticello. Thomas also made very many efforts by ensuring that he promoted sustainable agriculture by introducing different agricultural machines such as the Moldboard (Honeywell 47). He also introduced the Monticello Plow that made agricultural processes much easy. As a result of his love in Agriculture, it was no time that America became a powerhouse in producing agricultural products and machines which in turn boosted America’s position in the Agricultural World.
Thomas Jefferson is also known for his significant efforts in popularizing Cheese and macaroni in the United States (Honeywell 54). During Jefferson’s era, this products were not common. After his tour in Europe, he enamored with the people’s Cuisine (Honeywell 59). According to different sources, it is said that he was most fond with pasta. When we went back to America, he made very many efforts to ensure that the people would try and adopt the European Cuisine of having Cheese and Macaroni. It is said that he used to serve most of his guest with this kind of food when they visited him at his home at Monticello. Some of the guest who liked this type of food went on to share with families and friends and as a result it became popular all over the U.S. Secondly, he drew several plans for buying the first ever macaroni machine in the Country. Most of the food specialists refer to him as the founding father of America’s First Foodie (Honeywell 61). According to various sources, it is said that there is a cheese recipe that has his own handwriting.
Not to forget, Thomas Jefferson also played a major role in the learning and understanding of the Lewis and Clark expedition in the year 1804 (Cogliano 36). The main role of this expedition was to understand the physical layout of the Country. After doubling the size of the Country, it was quite obvious that people did not understand the boundaries. In a bid to ensure there was no more confusion, Thomas launched the Lewis and Clark expedition. As a result of this expeditions, the Americans were able to understand their Country much more. They were able to understand its layout and features (Cogliano 81). Secondly as a result of this expedition, the Americans were able to learn about other Native tribes in America that lived in the Louisiana territory. This expedition was also important in finding a passage between the Pacific Ocean and the Mississippi River (Cogliano 32). Initially, the Americans had a hard time in travelling across this two water masses. There was no way. However, Clark and Lewis were able to find a passage that is still used to modern date.
It is also important to note the fact that as much as he supported France in the war against Britain (Jefferson 65). President Jefferson was a very calm man who restored peace on the American Soil. In reference to this scenario, President Jefferson encountered so many difficulties both in the foreign and domestic fronts; however, he was able to maintain the Country on the right track (Jefferson 74). According to different sources it is said that he prevented the U.S from joining the Napoleonic wars. Generally, he wanted a Country that was neutral, a Country that was neutral in the conflict between France and Britain. When we look at this scenario; it is safe to state the fact that Thomas Jefferson made a significant contribution by maintaining neutrality (Jefferson 82). In case he was not neutral, it is safe to state the fact that the repercussions of the war between France and Britain would have been significant.
Serving in politics is another major contribution. Leadership is something not everyone can handle or manage. When we look at the American politics, Thomas was a Key player. He served very many political positions such as the U.S Minister to France between the years 1785 – 1789 (Jefferson 28). As a Minister to France, his work to ensure that the U.S and France maintained good diplomatic relationships. In between the years 1790 – 1793, Jefferson served as the first U.S. Secretary of state (Jefferson 56). Basically, as we all know the secretary of state has very many obligations. Some of the main duties of the Secretary of State is conducting all the negotiations that pertain to the welfare of the Country. He is also the President’s Chief adviser on foreign policies, appointing of U.S. Ministers and ambassadors. When we look at some of this duties, it is safe to state the fact that Jefferson had very many obligations and contributions to the Country. Not to forget, he also served as the Country’s Vice President under President John Adams in between the years 1790 – 1793 (Jefferson 59). Lastly on February the 17th, 1801, he was elected as the third president of America and re -elected overwhelmingly in 1804.
Currently, in reference to the World Military facts and figures the U.S. is the leading superpower. Practically, this means that the U.S has one of the best trained and equipped army in the World. During President Jefferson’s era as a president, the Government directed and constructed the U.S. Military Academy which is abbreviated as (USMA) (Randall 22). The Academy was constructed in the year 1801 immediately after his inauguration as the President. It was constructed at West Point, New York. By the 4th of 1802, USMA formally started as a school for military and scientific learning (Randall 27). As a result of President Jefferson’s contribution in the building of USMA, the school was able to produce physically fit and trained soldiers that served in the American army. USMA also produce some of the World’s important and influential leaders such as the President of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Philippines and at least two U.S presidents (Randall 33). This school is also responsible for producing some of the Countries Major Generals and several recipients of the Medal of Honor. In this case, Thomas Jefferson contributed by building and enforcing the American army to greater heights.
After his inauguration as the President of the U.S. he made sure that his presence and that of the U.S was felt. Initially; the U.S. was not as powerful and influential as it is. After a series of major economical improvements such as the building of infrastructure such as proper forms of transport, the U.S. quickly grew and became a powerhouse is many sectors such as agriculture and trade (Randall 48). With time the U.S. also became a power house in technology and science. Under the leadership of Thomas Jefferson, the government constructed different technological and scientific institutions that were important to the Country (Randall 51). It is also important to note the fact that President Jefferson was a Human activist. He fought for the equity and fairness of people who belonged to the minority groups. A good example that can be used to prove this is the fact that he abolished slave trade. On March 2, 1807, Jefferson signed a treaty in which slaves were not allowed into the United States. This law became active in the year January 1, 1808 (Randall 61). Generally; based on the scenario discussed above it is safe to state the fact that Jefferson played a major role in ensuring that the Slave trade came to an end.’
Lastly; President Jefferson was a very influential writer whose writings changed the life of very many people. Apart from drafting and writing the Declaration of independence he also wrote the book “Notes on the State of Virginia. This book was originally in the year 1785, France (Jefferson 52). This book was a major contribution to the American people specifically those who are familiar and live in Virginia. The context of this book is about Virginia’s economy and natural resources. Basically, this book gives one an overview of how the state of Virginia operates (Jefferson 57). This book also talks about topics such as the separation of the state and Church and Virginia, the state Government its balances and checks (Jefferson 68). Generally; based on the contributions discussed above, it is safe to state the fact that President Jefferson was not a failure. Surely, this man brought a lot of changes that led to the success of the Country.
Clements, MA Ken, and Nerida F. Ellerton. "Thomas Jefferson and an Arithmetic for the People." Thomas Jefferson and his Decimals 1775–1810: Neglected Years in the History of US School Mathematics. Springer International Publishing, 2015. 59-79.
Cogliano, Francis D. Emperor of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson's Foreign Policy. Yale University Press, 2014.
Holowchak, M. Andrew. Thomas Jefferson: Uncovering His Unique Philosophy and Vision. Prometheus Books, 2014.
Honeywell, Roy J. The educational work of Thomas Jefferson. Read Books Ltd, 2013.
Jefferson, Thomas. Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson. Lulu. com, 2017.
Randall, Willard Sterne. Thomas Jefferson: a life. New Word City, 2014.
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