Why didn't Thomas Jefferson trust Hamilton

Who Was Thomas Jefferson?

Thomas Jefferson was not only an American state theorist, lawyer, and third President of the United States, but was also a polymath in the fields of the natural sciences and humanities.

However, Thomas Jefferson's greatest legacy is that he was one of America's Founding Fathers and principal author of the American Declaration of Independence was from 1776. Incidentally, he was also ambassador to Paris and one of the founders of the Democratic Party. A democratic form of government was indispensable for him, because this was closely connected with the independence of young America from the British motherland.

Born into the time of the colonization of America by Great Britain and France, he remained a staunch democrat until the end of his life. From him came the wise quote "If the government fears the people, there is democracy, if the people, on the other hand, fear the government, tyranny".

A parallel in history is that the anniversary of Thomas Jefferson's death fell on July 4, 1826 emblematic date, because the declaration of independence also fell on July 4th, 1776.

PROFILE: Thomas Jefferson

  • Surname: Thomas Jefferson
  • Date of birth: April 13, 1743
  • Place of birth: Shadwell near Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
  • Job: Lawyer
  • Parents: Jane Randolph Jefferson, Peter Jefferson (Plantation Owner)
  • Wife: Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson
  • Children: Martha Jefferson Randolph, Madison Hemings, Eston Hemings, Mary Jefferson Eppes, Harriet Hemings, Lucy Elizabeth Jefferson, Peter Jefferson, Jane Jefferson
  • Date of death: Tuesday 4th July 1826
  • Place of death: Monticello near Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
  • Tomb: Monticello Graveyard, Jefferson’s Monticello Estate, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
  • Star sign: Aries

1743 - 1770 - birth, youth and early professional years

Thomas Jefferson came from a long-established family of planters in Virginia and was born on April 2nd, 1743 in the best possible circumstances. While his father's family had been around for several decades wealthy plantation owners his mother came from the influential Randolph family. Peyton Randolph was the first President of the Continental Congress.

In addition to Thomas, the Jefferson couple had eight other children, but two of them died. Private lessons at home and private schools were a good starting point for his later career. His training in the prestigious College Mary & William in Williamsburg, which was attended by many young men from wealthy families, he graduated in 1762 with top marks.

Thomas Jefferson then studied law and practiced as a for several years after graduating Lawyer. The years from 1770 onwards marked a turning point in the young man's life, both professionally and personally. Jefferson soon made a name for himself as a brilliant lawyer and wrote some political pamphlets.

1772 - 1782: marriage, declaration of independence and death of the wife

From 1774 he was actively involved in the independence of the young American nation from the British motherland. With his pamphlet "A Summary View of the Rights of British America" ​​he is considered one of the early masterminds of American independence. Among other things, his political manifesto turned against the excessive taxation by metropolitan UK.

The patriots of this young nation were against the fact that the money they generated went directly across the Atlantic into the wallet of Great Britain, instead of ensuring structural development and prosperity here on site. In 1774 Thomas Jefferson was appointed Virginia's envoy to the Continental Congress. This commissioned the exceptionally well-educated young lawyer with the drafting of a first Design of the American Declaration of Independence.

John Adams, later the second President of the United States and thus Thomas Jefferson's predecessor in office, made some significant suggestions for improvement in the draft. Benjamin Franklin is also one of America's important founding fathers, whose signature can also be found in the American Declaration of Independence. Although he was never president, he was an important statesman, publisher, printer, inventor and scientist. Like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were exceptionally well educated. All three men were well ahead of their time intellectually.

The Declaration of Independence unfolded an explosive force for the further development of the United States of America, which emerged from the victorious War of Independence against Great Britain and only 150 years later to become a world power ascended.

Congress decided on a few more changes before the Declaration of Independence finally passed the Senate and became a binding document on the United States Constitution. However, Jefferson was not involved in the formulation of this document, since he was at the time Ambassador to Paris was.

From 1776 Jefferson was a member of the Virginia House of Representatives, where he drafted a large number of legislative initiatives and drafted no fewer than 126 drafts in three years. During this time the American War of Independence began, which lasted until the victory of the American colonies over the British motherland in 1783.

In 1772 he married Martha Wayles Skelton, with whom he had five children, but only two of whom reached adulthood. He lived with Martha on a magnificent plantation property called Monticello, the construction of which he had designed himself.

His wife died while giving birth to the fifth child in 1782. She was only 33 years old. She asked Thomas not to remarry because she herself did not have a good relationship with her stepmother. Thomas Jefferson complied with this wish, witnessed with his House slave Sally Hemmings however, at least five other children, as DNA analyzes by historians later found.

1785 - 1789 - Ambassador to Paris and French Revolution

Thomas Jefferson spent the period from 1785 to 1789 as ambassador in Paris. During this time he toured a few European countries like Italy and Germany to study their outstanding architecture. Although he was a diplomat, he supported those involved in the French Revolution. He helped formulate a draft of human and civil rights, but had to hold back from further activities.

From 1790 Jefferson served as the Secretary of State under the first President of the United States, George Washington. Another key adviser to the President was Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. However, Jefferson and Hamilton often had different views, and so the forerunners of today's Democratic and Republican parties came about.

Jefferson and his confidants initially founded a Republican party that was later named Democratic Republican Party from which emerged today's Democrats.

Alexander Hamilton and his confidants founded the Federalist Party, the forerunner of today's Republicans. However, the founding of these parties did not diminish the conflicts, but increased them. Jefferson's attempts to mediate also failed.

In 1793 he temporarily withdrew from politics. By then, Thomas Jefferson was already too significant for this withdrawal to be long-lasting. He spent three years expanding his Monticello estate.

1796-1880 - Vice President

In 1796, John Adams succeeded George Washington as President of the United States. Thomas Jefferson became its vice president. This period was also characterized by political differences between the two party camps. Relations with France deteriorated during the tenure of John Adams as the president advocated a restrictive policy on foreigners.

The Alien and Sedition Acts allowed foreigners to be deported from hostile states or states that were classified as dangerous. The greatest disagreement, however, was over a new law that would allow "false, shameful and malicious writing against the government and its officials." criminal act were declared.

The Republicans around Thomas Jefferson classified this law as Act against the freedom of the individual as well as a restriction on freedom of the press and freedom of expression. While the federalists around Alexander Hamilton did not want to change the social status quo, Jefferson and his supporters worked out two parliamentary resolutions for Kentucky and Virginia, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which, however, were ratified by no state except Kentucky.

1801-1809 - Presidency

The next presidential election campaign in 1880 was conducted extremely aggressively between the two political camps, as both covered each other with mutual accusations. Since Thomas Jefferson was in a very good position, the federalists did something to prevent his election as president.

Through a specific electoral process, Jefferson missed a majority by a few votes each time. Several electoral processes created one Stalemate and a related stalemate, the new president still had not been elected. The federalists ultimately stayed away from the last ballot. They wanted to end this government deadlock, but not be involved in the election of Jefferson as president.

Without the Federalists, Thomas Jefferson eventually won the election and was third president of the USA. His vice-president became, of all people, Aaron Burr, who had previously been supported by the federalists. Accordingly, the relationship between the two men was bad, although Burr also belonged to the Jefferson Republican Party. The two men mistrusted each other. In 1804, Aaron Burr was no longer nominated as vice president.

Purchase of Louisiana

The most important event in Jefferson's first term in office was the purchase of Louisiana, which at the time was still a French colony. However, the French offered the Americans not only the city of New Orleans for sale, but the entire national territory. This was large and undeveloped and so Thomas Jefferson sent the officer William Clark and his former private secretary Meriwether Lewis on a expeditionthat should go down in the history books.

Thanks to this expedition, the young United States of America won extensive knowledge of the geographical conditions of the new territory that was eventually bought from the French.

Thomas Jefferson pursued the national debt reduction as a domestic political goal. Thanks to his capable finance minister Albert Gallatin, this goal has become a reality. The national debt halved.

The feud between Republicans and Federalists continues

Another feud between Republicans and federalists in Congress caused a judges bill introduced by the latter. The federalists didn't just have that Majority in Congress but also control the national courts with 42 seconded judges. However, these were appointed shortly before Jefferson's inauguration, but had not yet received any certificates of appointment.

Jefferson refused to issue these appointments, and the dispute eventually went to the Supreme Court. With his stance of refusal, Jefferson wanted at least to prevent a majority of federalists from going to court if he had to accept them in Congress. Jefferson's government was then accused by the federalists of breaking the law.

In 1804 Thomas Jefferson was elected US President for the second time. Its vice president was George Clinton. Aaron Burr left the office of vice president not only because of personal differences with Jefferson. In a duel he had Jefferson's former adversary and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton fatally injured and has now been wanted by several states and found guilty of murder.

However, he evaded all jurisdiction and fled to the as yet undeveloped western areas. There he made a name for himself with some dubious machinations and soon a rumor arose that Burr was planning to overthrow the Jefferson government.

Only in 1807 succeeded in the arrest of Aaron Burr, who was then brought to court for treason, but was found not guilty because no one could prove his intentions in this regard beyond doubt.

In terms of foreign policy, Jefferson followed the strict policy Non-interference in European wars. During his tenure, Thomas Jefferson waived the right of veto that every president has. In this way, he can prevent legislation introduced by law unless it is passed by a majority of Congressmen. He signed all the laws put before him. Only six other presidents were characterized by a similar administration.

He saw the Indians as intelligent and equal people and urged them to join civilization, otherwise they would perish. Jefferson therefore supports peace treaties and trade agreements with the native peoples of America in principle.

After the end of his second term, he retired to his seat in Monticello. However, he soon had to struggle with financial difficulties, as he maintained the generous lifestyle of many southerners of his time and lived beyond his means. He had invested a large part of his money in the expansion of Monticello.

1826: Political Heritage and Afterlife

To this day, Thomas Jefferson is recognized as a politician of the Enlightenment and founder of democracy and human rights. Its greatest political legacy is the constitution of the Declaration of Independence of 1776, the core element of which is the Equality for all people is. In addition to his great creative power on a political level, his commitment to promoting human and civil rights remains above all else.

However, some of his contemporaries and successors in the presidential office were already discussing the question of whether the principle of equality demanded by Jefferson only applied to white Americans or also to African Americans, who until the end of the Civil War lived as slaves and had no civil rights whatsoever. This question became increasingly acute in the mid-19th century as more and more northern states advocated the abolition of slavery. Jefferson's position on this issue was ambiguous.

In the declaration of independence, on the one hand, he called for the right of the individual to "life, freedom and happiness", on the other hand he was a slave owner himself. However, the discrepancy between actual action and political and social claims was by no means unusual, because colored people were considered to be members of inferior races and thus not fully-fledged people. Many of the moved in this tradition esteemed founding fathersincluding George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and James Madison.

Thomas Jefferson fathered at least five children with his slave, Sally Hemmings. It was explosive that Sally Hemmings originally the slave of his wife and probably even her half-sister. Jefferson's father-in-law had also fathered children with a slave, including his mother Sally Hemmings.

For a long period of more than 150 years, this aspect was hushed up in the life of the esteemed founding father and President of the USA or only marginally addressed. You didn't want to know that exactly. The stark contradiction between the political Ideal image of Thomas Jefferson and the reality on Monticello already caused a guilty conscience for many contemporaries, who admired the excellent architecture and their charismatic hosts in awe, but preferred to look in the other direction in view of the many slaves.

The still preserved notes of a visitor to Monticello describe the slaves' accommodation as a “poor alley of tears, but probably only for a visitor with northern feelings”. Many documents from the founding father's private collection, as well as documents from third sources that show a different side of Jefferson, were kept out of the officially accessible collections for decades. For example, the pragmatic calculation that every newly born Negro child brings a profit of four percent and thus ensures the maintenance of the Jefferson family.

The inhuman institution of slavery is closely connected to the biography of the founding father Thomas Jefferson and is still often omitted at every opportunity or only briefly addressed without going into depth. It is better to adorn yourself with Thomas Jefferson as the founding father, author of the Declaration of Independence, popular president and advocate of democracy and human rights.

Rex Ellis is a director of the National Museum of African American History. He sums it up Discrepancy between aspiration and reality put together: “It was a slave who brought Thomas Jefferson to his father on a pillow when he was born; and it was slaves who adjusted his pillow when he died on July 4th 1826 on Monticello ”.