What Did Thomas Jefferson Do for America?
What Did Thomas Jefferson Do for America? Thomas Jefferson is known as a Founding Father of the United States. He is most famous for writing the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson became the third President of the United States on March 4, 1801. One of the first things he did was try to reduce the federal budget, moving power back into the hands of the states.
The uneventful transfer of power between Federalist John Adams and Republican Thomas Jefferson was a significant event in American History. Jefferson spent time dealing with the federalist agenda with which he did not agree. He allowed the Alien and Sedition Acts to end without renewal.
He also lowered taxes, which made him popular to many people. He had the tax on liquor that caused the Whiskey Rebellion repealed. This reduced government revenue leading Jefferson to cut costs by reducing the military, relying instead on state militias.
An important early event during Jefferson’s administration was the court case, Marbury v. Madison, which set up the Supreme Court’s power to rule federal acts unconstitutional.
America engaged in a war with the Barbary States during his time in office (1801-05). The US had been paying tribute to pirates from this area to stop attacks on American ships. When the pirates asked for more money, Jefferson refused leading Tripoli to declare war. This ended in success for the US who was no longer required to pay tribute to Tripoli. However, America did continue to pay to the rest of the Barbary States.
In 1803, Jefferson purchased the Louisiana territory from France for $15 million. This is considered the most important act of his administration. He sent Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition to explore the new territory. In 1807, Jefferson ended the foreign slave trade beginning January 1, 1808. He also established the precedent of Executive Privilege as explained above.
At the end of his second term, France and Britain were at war, and American trade ships were often targeted. When the British boarded the American frigate, Chesapeake, they forced (impressed) three soldiers to work on their vessel and killed one for treason. Jefferson signed the Embargo Act of 1807 in response.
This stopped America from exporting and importing foreign goods. Jefferson thought this would have the effect of hurting the trade in France and Great Britain. However, it had the opposite effect, hurting American trade.