The Life And Literature Of A Political Legacy

Submitted By trishatruong27
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The Life and Literature of a Political Legacy American literature has most often been depicted as short stories, historical fiction, old fables, etc. However, literature is not for the sake of just reading for pleasure but for the extended knowledge on a specific subject. The Declaration of Independence is an example of said American Literature. Thomas Jefferson, the main author, emphasized the American colonies’ desire and need for independence. This one piece of historical literature has been an example of leadership and independence for centuries. Jefferson was an eighteenth century American leader whose literary works were inspired by his political career and devotion to the United States of America. Jefferson was born in Shadwell, Virginia, April 13, 1743. At an early age, Jefferson developed a thirst for knowledge. This initial desire for wisdom brought him to study law at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. His mentor, Judge George Wythe, was exceedingly impressed with Jefferson and recommended him to be admitted to the bar in 1767. From there on, he was a successful lawyer, which granted him a position in the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1768.
During this time, problems began to rise between the American colonies and Great Britain. American colonies struggled through a number of laws and taxes laid by the British. Thoughts about said taxes such as the Intolerable Acts turned into words at the First Continental Congress. Jefferson was a delegate representing Virginia, but he did not attend the conference due to certain health circumstances at the time. As compensation, he forwarded a paper giving his opinion on the situation, which is known in a 1774 pamphlet called A Summary View of the Rights of British America. This pamphlet was an attempt to prove that Americans had the same natural rights to govern themselves as their ancestors once did. As the tide of these Revolutionary times pulled for American independence, American leaders began to take action. During the time of the Second Continental Congress, Jefferson and four other co-writers was requested to pen a declaration of independence. The committee unanimously voted that Jefferson be the primary writer of the first draft of the declaration. After due consideration and revisions to Jefferson’s draft, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Former U.S. Senator Richard Henry Lee said: “the Thing in its nature is so good that no cookery can spoil the dish for the palates of freemen.” Seeing as he had no real use to the military for the Revolutionary War, he saw himself better suited as a lawmaker. Jefferson served as a Virginia State Legislator from 1776 to 1779. He made many attempts to reform public education as well as religious reformations. For example, in 1777 Jefferson drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom to grant religious freedom to all religions. As his strive to better the Virginia legislature increased, so did his position as a politician. From 1779 through 1781, Jefferson was appointed Governor of Virginia. Not long after, he succeeded Benjamin Franklin as the U.S. Minister to France in 1785 to 1789. His occupation as Minister to France was only the beginning of Jefferson’s involvement in international affairs. Immediately upon his return to the U.S, Jefferson was appointed as Secretary of State in President George Washington’s First Cabinet. Although all who held positions in the First Cabinet had the same goal of bettering the country, there was much controversy within the ranks. Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton sought ideals for a more powerful central government. Hamilton’s ideals took on many followers within Congress, which would soon be called the Federalist Party. However, Jefferson disagreed with Hamilton’s choices for they were “too suspicious.” Jefferson and his followers took the opposing side in Congress, which would come to be known as the