Free

Thomas Jefferson - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
Summary
Thomas Jefferson is well-known for penning The Declaration of Independence. In the said document, Americans praise the ideal "That all men are equal" and "endowed by our Creatorwith Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness." Sadly, he owned a great number of slaves…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER95.4% of users find it useful
Thomas Jefferson Essay
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "Thomas Jefferson"

Unit 8 Project Thomas Jefferson: "The Quintessential Conflicted American" The Founding Fathers History Travis Fields Kaplan Introduction
Thomas Jefferson is well-known for penning The Declaration of Independence. In the said document, Americans praise the ideal "That all men are equal" and "endowed by our Creatorwith Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness." Sadly, he owned a great number of slaves. In effect, at least at the subconscious level, this was a contradiction to what he wrote. The existence of slaves is detrimental to the belief on equality. It is also reported that he made acts inconsistent with Republican ideals. As a result, historians dubbed him as the "quintessential conflicted American." This short paper will attempt to account for such inconsistencies, although it is clear that a more scholarly and lengthy treatise will give justice to Jefferson than this paper.
Slavery
The contention that it is inconsistent to proclaim equality of all yet to maintain ownership of slaves is perhaps the apex of the criticism against Jefferson. In my opinion, this criticism might be valid, but it is not fully. Indeed, Jefferson owned slaves, but he sympathized with them. In the letter to Edward Coles, he blamed the British who brought the practice of slavery in the colonies. It can be inferred from the letter that he treated slaves with dignity. (Jefferson, 1894)
The criticism being valid up to a certain extent hinges on the assumption that Jefferson should have not owned slaves in the first place. But this is just a matter of opinion. Circumstances during that period, where slavery is not illegal, gave Jefferson no obligation to set his slaves free. Nevertheless, his Liberty of owning slaves should be respected as this did not conflict with his conscience, which sought for better conditions for slaves.
The Purchase of Louisiana
During the early 1800s, Spain decided to cede the Louisiana Territory to France. When Jefferson learned of this incident, he instructed his cabinet for the negotiation to purchase this deal from France. The Constitution is silent about any purchase of territory by the government, but Jefferson insisted on the purchase. ("Foreign Affairs," nd) Jefferson's strict constitutionalism precludes him from making this transaction. This is another major point of criticism against him. But this should not be the case.
Wilson (2003) quoted Jefferson as follows:
"This little event, of France's possessing herself of Louisiana. is the embryo of a tornado which will burst on the countries on both sides of the Atlantic and involve in it's [sic] effects their highest destinies."
As any student of history will attest, this purchase was done during the period when Napoleon Bonaparte ruled France. After France received from the United States, it waged war against Britain. Essentially, France was hungry for territorial expansion. Apparently, it could have taken the other way. France might have decided to invade the United States instead. The Jefferson quote above reflects his foresight. Therefore, the threat of French invasion was minimized. In other words, Jefferson's move is consistent with the one of the goals of the Constitution, namely "to secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity."
Conclusion
Acts and decisions committed by Jefferson, which appear to contradict the values and principles he espoused, should not be criticized and judged at their face value. A sensible person should look at the context and the circumstances which shaped those decisions. This way, the logic and the rationale of Jefferson's decisions could be viewed in more favorable light.
References
Foreign Affairs. (nd). Essays on Thomas Jefferson and His Administration. Retrieved 20 April
2009, from The Miller Center of Public Affairs - University of Virginia Website http://millercenter.org/academic/americanpresident/jefferson/essays/biography/5
Jefferson, T. (1814). Letter to Edward Coles. Retrieved 20 April 2009, from
http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.aspdocument=307
Wilson, G. (2003). The Louisiana Purchase. Retrieved 20 April 2009, from
http://www.monticello.org/jefferson/lewisandclark/louisiana.html Read More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
  • CHICAGO
(“Thomas Jefferson Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 words”, n.d.)
Thomas Jefferson Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 words. Retrieved from https://studentshare.org/miscellaneous/1529787-thomas-jefferson-essay
(Thomas Jefferson Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words)
Thomas Jefferson Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words. https://studentshare.org/miscellaneous/1529787-thomas-jefferson-essay.
“Thomas Jefferson Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/miscellaneous/1529787-thomas-jefferson-essay.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF Thomas Jefferson Essay

Thomas Jefferson

...?Thomas Jefferson The purpose of this paper is to address a few questions regarding Thomas Jefferson. The format that this paper will utilize is to first, identify the question then present a brief answer. Why did Jefferson believe that there needed to be a "separation of church and state" in the newly formed United States? Ultimately, Jefferson believed that the relationship that a person has with God is highly personal. By extension, having a legislature that seeks to enact laws and policies that dictate how the nation should worship God would in fact interfere with a person’s personal relationship with god. Moreover, when the United States was engaging in their war of independence they were in fact trying to break off the rule... , P....
1 Pages(250 words)Essay

The Thomas Jefferson Presidency

...?The Thomas Jefferson Presidency, 1801-1809 Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United s, who served on two presidential terms from 1801 to 1809. He was described as a “reluctant candidate for President”, “eloquent as a correspondent but he was no public speaker.”1 Before becoming US President, Thomas Jefferson has been described to have “contributed his pen rather than his voice to the patriot cause.”2 He has been identified as one of the key American revolutionary writers who drafted the Declaration of Independence of the United States against the British. Bechloss and Sidey reported that Thomas...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

Thomas Jefferson and slavery

...Module Module ID: Thomas Jefferson and Slavery The as well as the great services rendered by renowned US politician and reformer Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) are not dependent of any introduction altogether. By dint of his innate talent, dedication and commitment, the former US President not only played dominant role in winning freedom for his fatherland USA in 1776, but also raised a strong voice against violation of human rights being exercised by the majority population against the minority races (Nye & Morpurgo 1955). In addition, being an arch supporter of human rights and individual freedom of thought and action, Jefferson always demonstrated his...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Thomas Jefferson

...Jefferson's views on education and the education plan he proposes for the of Virginia are clearly outlined in his lecture. As may be deduced from the narrative, Jefferson's views were informed by his educational experience and by personal reflections following the attainment of practical experience, on the other. This essay will highlight Jefferson's views on education, his attitude towards the role of religion therein, his educational plan and the extent to which his educational experienced shaped his views. Jefferson opposes religion in education, not out of a stance against religion but because of the dogmatism which characterizes religious thought. The purpose of education is to enlighten and promote inquiry. Religion has... an...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

Thomas Jefferson

...The third President of the United s, the main propounder of the Declaration of Independence, and one of America’s greatest founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson had a vision of America that was thought to be idealist in his lifetime. But though a few of his ideas about how America should be and how it should be seen by the world were not implemented, the essentially free-thinking, liberal image of today’s America is actually the result of Jefferson’s vision. Jefferson was greatly influenced by one of the most popular thinkers of his time, John Locke, who believed in the “natural” rights of human beings. In 1698, much before the birth of Jefferson, Locke wrote in the second chapter of his famous Second Treatise on Government: “All men... of the...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Thomas Jefferson

...Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson, one of the foremost historical figures of the United s and the architect of the Declaration of Independence, has been the reason for hot debates in the modern rethinking of the history. There have been a number of writings on the most notable characteristic feature in the life of this genius Founding Father of the land – this feature of his character has been the contradiction has expressed in his views and practical actions. He was evidently seen as contradicting over his proclamations in favor of the slaves and his actual practice of possessing slaves for his personal use. In fact, the same historical figure who penned the words “all...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

PRESIDENCY OF THOMAS JEFFERSON

...Thomas Jefferson, the third president of America has been ranked by scholars the world over, as one of the greatest presidents America has had. An erudite scholar, Jefferson was one of the few people who could boast of in depth knowledge of a wide range of subjects from languages to astronomy and law to architecture. It is no wonder then that when President Kennedy welcomed forty-nine Nobel laureates to the White House in 1962 he said, "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House – with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."(Wikipedia ...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Thomas Jefferson

...Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson, third president of the united of America, was a farmer, a scientist, an aesthete and a violinist. Historically he was famous for his declaration of independence. However, not everyone saw this side of Jefferson, such as Ellis, who disagreed with the ideologies of Thomas Jefferson in his article “American Sphinx: The Contradictions of Thomas Jefferson” (1997). In this article, he pointed out his contradictions to Jefferson’s statements in his book, “Notes on the State of Virginia”...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay

Thomas Jefferson

...THOMAS JEFFERSON- CONTROVERSIAL STAND ON SLAVERY d THOMAS JEFFERSON- CONTROVERSIAL STAND ON SLAVERY INTRODUCTION One of the founders of American democracy, Thomas Jefferson’s name in history is known for its various facets of association. Thomas Jefferson’s efforts played an instrumental role in shaping the political system of America and laid the foundation stone for the democratic visionary the country is said to be today1. Through his ideas and able decision making, Jefferson was able to breathe new life into the governance and laws of the state that are still intact. The aim of this...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay

Thomas Jefferson

...Thomas Jefferson the Third President of the United s Affiliation Thomas Jefferson the Third President of the United s Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom are two of his achievements. In the book on the three emperors that introduces Thomas Jefferson, the author begins by highlighting the scenario where Jefferson accepted a plaster copy of a bust of Tsar Alexander as a gift. The author is perplexed that the author of the Declaration of Independence admired the autocratic...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic Thomas Jefferson Essay for FREE!

Contact Us