There were many great men in the past who have contributed greatly to the growth prosperity and independence to this country. These historical figures include such men as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. These men served their country as revolutionary war leaders and helped American to become the free and just country it is Benjamin Franklin, born January 17, 1706, was the 10th son, and 15th child, of 17 children in the Josiah Franklin family. Josiah was a soap and candlemaker, who lived in Boston, Massachusetts with his second wife, Abiah Folger.
Although Franklin learned to ead at an early age, he only attended grammar school for two years. By the time he was 10 years old, Franklin was working for his father. However, he didn’t enjoy the candlemaking profession, and two years later, Franklin was apprenticed to his brother For five years, Franklin sought to master the printers’ trade. During this time, he also strove to improve his education. Franklin read numerous classic novels and perfected his writing style. One night, Franklin slipped a letter, signed “Silence Dogood,” under the door of his brother’s newspaper, the New England Courant.
That letter and the next 13 written by Franklin were published anonymously. The essays were widely read and In 1723, at age 17, Franklin left for Philadelphia. He got employed at a printing job in London, learning many important skills. He came back to Pennsylvania and had by 1730 become owner of a printing business. This is where Franklin published his first official literary work, The Pennsylvania Gazette. In 1731, Franklin founded what is considered the first public library.
During the next several years, Franklin was responsible for establishing the first fire department, a olice force, and the Academy of Philadelphia, which became the University of In 1732, Franklin began compiling and publishing the annual Poor Richard’s Almanac. With its homely virtues, it attracted a large amount of people interested in his work and made Franklin’s name a household word. Franklin had gotten involved in politics and represented Pennsylvania at the Albany Congress in 1754, called in response to the French and Indian Wars.
In 1757, Franklin was sent to England to petition the king for the right to levy taxes. He remained n England for the next five years, and in that time he obtained permission for Pennsylvania to tax the estates of its proprietors, successfully repealed the Stamp Act, and represented the voice of several colonies. He befriended powerful British political leaders and wrote political satires and pamphlets on public affairs, helping keep the colonies During the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, Franklin spoke on the problems of society, “I cannot but lament… he impending calamities Britain and her colonies are about to suffer, from great Imprudencies on both sides- Passion governs, and he never governs wisely- Anxiety begins to disturb my rest… ” Benjamin Franklin- In 1776, Franklin went to France, as one of three commissioners, to help negotiate The Treaty of Commerce and alliance, which was signed with Franklin’s help, in 1778. He then helped negotiate a peace treaty with Great Britain, signed in Paris in 1783, known as the Treaty of Paris. He remained in France for nine years, working on trade treaties.
Franklin became a hero to the French, and his company was sought by diplomats and nobility. He was honored by Louis XVI, and his portrait was placed on everything Returning to the U. S. in 1785, Franklin served as a member at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 for 2 years. In 1787, he was elected the first president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery cause. Franklin was bedridden during the final year of his life and died on April 17, 1790. As one of his final public acts, he signed a petition to the U. S. Congress urging the abolition of slavery, just two months before his death at the age of 84 in 1790.
Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, in Shadwell, Virginia. His father, Peter Jefferson, was a surveyor who built a substantial estate; he died in 1757 leaving Jefferson and his family a very wealthy will. His mother, the former Jane Randolph, was a member of one of Virginia’s most wealthy and respected families. Jefferson was the oldest of two sons; he also had six sisters. In 1760, Jefferson entered the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He studied law with the state’s leading legal scholar, George Wythe from 1762 to 1767. Jefferson then began practicing his law, mostly handling cases involving land claims.
He practiced until 1774 when the American Revolution closed the courts. In 1768 , he won a seat in the Virginia legislature, then called the House of In the years leading up to the American Revolution, Jefferson was a powerful and well known voice in the growing opposition within Virginia to the British Parliament’s taxation policies and Britain’s general control over the American colonies. In a book entitled A Summary View of the Rights of British America (published without his permission in 1774), Jefferson argued that America’s bonds to Britain and King George III were voluntary and Parliament has no authority in the Colonies.
The colonies were taxed internally and externally; their essential interests sacrificed to individuals in Great Britain; their legislatures suspended; charters annulled; trials by jurors taken away; their persons subjected to transportation across the Atlantic, and to trial by foreign judicatories; their supplications for redress thought beneath answer, themselves published as cowards in the councils of their mother country, and courts of Europe; armed troops sent amongst them, to enforce submission to these violences; and ctual hostilities commenced against them.
No alternative was presented, but resistance or unconditional submision. Between these there could be no hesitation. They closed in In the spring of 1775, Jefferson was appointed as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A shy and quiet man, he was regarded as a superior writer and was named to a five-person committee (also including Benjamin Franklin) in charge of drafting a formal statement of the reasons for the colonies’ potential break with Britain. In just a few days, Jefferson wrote the first draft of he document that became known as the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence listed the grievances against George III and offered statements of Inspired by writing the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson returned to Virginia in October 1776 and began his efforts to reform the state’s legal code in order to bring it more in line with the revolutionary principles of equality, especially in the areas of distribution of property and education. Jefferson also caused controversy with his strong proclamations of religious freedom and the separation between church and state.
As the Revolutionary War drew to a close, Jefferson was called upon to serve as a delegate to the Continental Congress in December 1782, during which he drafted the policy regarding the entrance of the Western territories into the new United States, which became known as the Northwest Territory. Soon after, he agreed to succeed Benjamin Franklin as the American minister to France, moving to Paris in 1784. Jefferson was fortunate enough to leave France in late 1789, just before Paris erupted into mob violence.
Upon his return to America, he took office as the first ecretary of state under George Washington, the heroic Revolutionary general and newly elected president of the United States. As secretary of state, Jefferson was largely responsible for the new nation’s foreign policy; he took a pro-French viewpoint in the conflict between Britain and France. Jefferson was extremely vocal in the debate surrounding the new Constitution—his greatest concern about the important document was that it made the federal government too powerful because it lacked a bill of rights to protect the rights of states and individuals from federal overpowerment.
In 1793, Jefferson stepped down from the office of secretary of state and returned Three years later, he finished second in the race for the presidency against John Adams, all the while denying publicly that he was even a candidate. As the runner-up, Jefferson became Adams’ vice president. In that office he continued opposing the emphasis on a strong federal government, such men as Washington, Adams, and Alexander Hamilton supported. These men had then become known as Federalists.
By the mid-1790s, two distinct parties had emerged: the Federalists and the Republicans, led by Jefferson and James Madison, which represented America’s first opposition party. During this period, his critics labeled Jefferson a traitor and hypocrite, pointing out that even as he denounced divisions as destructive to government, he himself started a The presidential election of 1800 was a very close and heated debate. Jefferson and his chosen vice presidential candidate Aaron Burr tied for the most votes. The election was then thrown into the House of Representatives, where Jefferson proved victorious after several weeks of debate.
As president, Jefferson voiced his desire to return to the principles of the Revolution and of the Declaration of Independence and spoke his faith in the power of human reason as the guiding principle of self-government. His ideas were based on the limited central authority and protection of individual rights. The major accomplishment of Jefferson’s first term undoubtedly came in 1803, when France sold the United States the entire Louisiana region—land stretching from the Mississippi Valley to the Rocky Mountains—for $15 million.
The Louisiana Purchase, along with the journey throughout the new territory led by Jefferson’s private secretary Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, expanded America’s knowledge of the western Jefferson was reelected by a landslide in 1804, but nonetheless faced attacks on his administration from the small but vocal groups of Federalist opponents that remained. His second term was hurt by the highly unpopular Embargo Act in 1807 which prohibited U. S. exports in order to protest British and French violations of American neutrality following the renewal of the Napoleonic Wars.
The embargo stunted the younger nation’s economy and had little effect on France or Britain. Another unpleasant happening during Jefferson’s second term was the trial for treason of ex-Vice President Aaron Burr after Burr arranged a suspicious expedition into areas of the American Southwest in order to detach that region from the U. S. An angry Jefferson demanded Burr’s conviction, but Burr was eventually acquitted by Chief Justice John Marshall of the Supreme Court in a Jefferson declined to seek a third term in 1808, retiring to his home in Virginia.
Jefferson’s passionate love for architecture, philosophy, and education came together in the founding of the University of Virginia (UVA) at Charlottesville, in 1819. He had great influence on the school, as he designed the buildings, planned the curriculum, and selected the faculty. At the time of its opening in 1825, UVA was unique among American universities because it had no religious affiliation or requirements and no president or administration, except for a self-enforced honor system.
Jefferson died at his home on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In his chosen epitaph, Jefferson made no mention of his eight years as America’s president, leaving behind a vision the way he himself wanted to e remembered: “Thomas Jefferson: Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Father of the These two men were very important role models in shaping our countries history.
They supplied our country with a great deal of knowledge and commitment, and fought for the freedom of all who inhabited this country. They set up the basic structure of our nation, with right to freedom. Without these men, their ideas, and their determination, our country would not be as it is today.