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Transcript of Thomas Jefferson
Trait Difficult to Overcome
Practiced law admitted to VA Bar 1765
1769 VA House of Burgesses for Albemarle County
urged the right of slave owners freeing slaves, but shot down
"I cannot live without books."
" I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical." (To John Jay & John + Abagail Adams on Shays Rebellion)
"if a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was & never will be." (To Charles Yancey)
"No society is so precious as that of one's own family." (to Randolph Jefferson
"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude."
" I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."
A Summary View of the Rights of British America, 1774
Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arm, 1775
Declaration of Independence, 1776
Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, 1779
Notes on the State of Virginia, 1787
First Inaugural Address, 1801
The Philosophy of Jesus, 1804
Ordinance of 1804
The Jefferson Bible, posthumous work, written in the 1820s, published in 1895
Presidency (March 4 1801-1809)
Election of 1800: Tie between Jefferson and Aaron Burr
House of Representatives settled. Hamilton disliked both but urged Jefferson, and Aaron Burr became VP (Ironically Burr kills Hamilton in dual)
Jefferson's Canon's of Conduct
1.Never put off to tomorrow what you can do to-day.
2.Never trouble another with what you can do yourself.
3.Never spend your money before you have it.
4.Never buy a thing you do not want, because it is cheap, it will be dear to you.
5.Take care of your cents: Dollars will take care of themselves.
6.Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
7.We never repent of having eat too little.
8.Nothing is troublesome that one does willingly.
9.How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
10.Take things always by their smooth handle.
12.Think as you please, and so let others, and you will have no disputes.
13.When angry, count 10. before you speak; if very angry, 100.
Book Read - American Spinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson
by Joseph J. Ellis
loved advising children, grandchildren, and others on life
developed a list about one's conduct
Some from classical literature and some his own
longest list sent to grandaughter Cornelia Jefferson Randolph
Apr. 13 1743:
Born at Shadwell, Virginia to Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph
March 1760 - April 1762:
Studied at College of William and Mary
January 1 1772:
Marries Martha Wayles Skelton
Drafts "A Summary View on The Rights of British America" (The pamphlet is published in August)
March 27 1775:
Elected as a delegate for 2nd Continental Congress (Replacing Peyton Randolph)
May 11 1769:
Enters VA House of Burgesses as Albemarle County Rep.
June - July 1775
Drafts: "A Declaration of the Causes and Necessities for Taking Up Arms" (modifies arguments in "Summary View")
Calculates costs of a 6 month war with Britain (about $3 million)
Tasted Ice Cream while in France and brought recipe back which is now in the Library of Congress
Kept Pet Mockingbirds, usually around 4 at a time
After retirement personal approx. 6,500 volume library to the Library of Congress (burned in War of 1812 by British) (needed $$$ for debts)
Took violin lessons & practiced for hours as a child
Always hummed or whistled while doing everything
Designed the Virginia State Capitol and loved architecture. Especially working on Monticello
The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress aproox. 27,000 documents. (including his letters)
Very Shy and Poor Public Speaker
Adamas 16 "midnight judges" created tension and didnt talk for a decade
Rumors of Burr organizing military action again Spain
Jefferson issues proclomation asking all Military and Civil Officials to not allow this by all legal means necessary
Wanted to end National Debt: decreased size of military & cut taxes like Whiskey tax & cut debt by 1/3
Surprisingly, kept many Federalists that had held positions just replaced some top cabinet members
Tripolitan War (May 1801- June 5 1805)
US Military Academy & Army Corps of Engineers established (1802)
Louisiana Purchase (despite feelings on debt because it was great deal) (Apr 30 1803)
approx. 800,000 sq. mi for $15mil. & almost doubles U.S. size
Lewis and Clark Expedition (May 1804- Sept 1806)
1806 The Red River Expedition: Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis
find headwaters of Red River to trade w/ Santa Fe & Indian Tribes
Abolition of Slave Trade into Lousianna Territory (1807)
Chesapeake Affair (1807) - U.S.
Tried veeery hard to remain neutral during Napoleonic Wars
led to Embargo (1807-1809) No Trade w/ U.K. & France, but just harmed America
(Despite being socially awkward)
July 4 1826:
Died at Monticello on 50th annivesary of Dec. of Ind. (same day as Adams)
Guiding, Encouraging, and Loving his Children and Grandchildren
1770 Appt. County Lieutenant of Albemarle County as Colonel
1775 2nd Continental Congress Member
1776 Wrote Dec. of Independence (3 days)
VA House of Delegates
1779 Gov. of VA
1783 Elected Delegate to Congress
1784-1789 U.S. Minister to France
Treaty w/ Morocco (no capture U.S. Sailors)
Algiers, Tripoli and Tunis = no success
Secretary of State under Washington
Decided while he was in France; came back surprised
Vice President under John Adams
1797-1815 Pres of American Philosophical Society
Hardly spoke at Continental Congress
"Mr. Jefferson had been now about a Year a Member of Congress, but had attended his Duty in the House but a very small part of the time and when there had never spoken in public: and during the whole Time I satt [sic] with him in Congress, I never heard him utter three Sentences together. The most of a Speech he ever made in my hearing was a gross insult on Religion, in one or two Sentences, for which I gave him immediately the Reprehension, which he richly merited." John Adams
Mumbled while addressing the country as President could hardly be heard
First Inaugural Address: thousand present "--The speech was delivered in so low a tone that few heard it. --" & Second Inaugural Address "was only partly audible." but sent to the "National Intelligencer" to be published
Practicing Law: commended for amazing grasp of law, but poor at speaking from the heart and sounded overly logical
admired Patrick Henry speaking skills but felt he "said the strongest things in the finest language, but without logic, without arrangement, desultorily."
Overcame w/ writing
felt he could be measured, concise and always get to the point more clearly
Would he have become such a great, well known, and respected man today?
When wife, Martha died Daughter Patsy (Martha) and him became very close, and kept him out of deep depression
Soon after assigned Commisioner of France & brought Patsy, but other daughter Polly (Maria) was too young as was baby Lucy
Sent Polly many gifts until she was old enough and he wanted her with him
Became both father and "mother" expecting tremendous amounts but also soft and gentle
Once sent list to Patsy outlining day and not leaving time for eating ( dance at this time, and draw at this time, and study French and read.. etc)
on Patsy having trouble with a subject told her “We are always equal to what we put our mind to. It’s amazing how much can be done if we are always doing.” “Never be idle,”
Always had grandchildren at home, and never raised his voice; quietly explained "Do," or "Do not."
Gave many gifts, always knew exactly what they wanted & played like a child with them
Rewarded 2 grandchildren every so often by bringing them to house of Poplar Forest with him
Cared very little for formal dress and was always comparatively under dressed (hardly ever wore a wig)
as President often greeted guests in slippers
alleged "Affair" (after wife died) with Sally Hemmings
might have fathered 7 total children only 4 survived to adulthood and only officially freed 2 other 2 left as he looked the other way
The Embargo Act of 1807
banned foreign trade & hurt economy of the United States instead of hurting intended Britain or France
for awhile actively worked against it
1778 drafter VA law that banned importation of slaves
Ordinance 1784 banned slavery in Northwest Territories
Treated his slaves well encouraging them with money & tips rather than threatening them or physically harming
Bought fewer than 20 slaves in lifetime and all to reunite families
Freed 5 slaves in his will
Said he didn't free more because VA laws at the time made freed slaves leave and they would have to leave their families & racism made it hard to find places to go
Opposed slavery calling it “moral depravity” and a “hideous blot,” yet kept slaves
Had huge debt
Partially inherited from father in law John Wayles
Farming didn't provide reliable enough income
always lived beyond his means
June 29 1776
Finished Declaration of Independence Draft
Jun. 1 1779
elected as Gov of VA
Mar. 21 1790
Published "Notes on Virginia"
Serves as first U.S. Sec. of State
Feb 8 1815:
Sells personal libraray of 6,487 books to Library of Congress
Dec 22, 1807
Embargo Act stops trade between UK & US
Jun 20, 1803
Charters Lewis & Clark Expedition
Apr 17, 1804
Mary Jefferson Epes (Polly) dies in childbirth like mother (Something he always feared)
Apr 2, 1803
Make Louisianna Purchase from Napoleon (almsot doubling size of U.S.)
Mar 4, 1797
Becomes V.P. to Adams
Mar 2 1801
Jefferson stops talking to Adams for decade after "Midnight Judges"