Friday, April 24, 2009

Homestead Act Influencer: Thomas Jefferson

This man had many accomplishments in life. He greatly influenced the history of the Homestead Act, and he worked his way to becoming the third president of the United States of America. This man was Thomas Jefferson.
Lindsey Katz
Southeast Community College

After reading more and more about Thomas Jefferson, I have gained much more appreciation of and admiration for him. I would like to recognize Thomas Jefferson for the positive accomplishments throughout his life.

Thomas Jefferson should be thought about with the utmost respect for his belief that all humans are equal, for the many things he did for the United States and for how he has made a positive impression.

Thomas Jefferson believed very strongly that all men were created equal, and while paradoxically, he had slaves of his own, equality was still important to him. One of Thomas Jefferson’s goals was to eliminate the increase of slavery throughout America as he felt that everyone had the right to personal liberty (Thomas Jefferson, 1985).

Early in his political career Jefferson took actions that he hoped would end in slavery's abolition. He tried many things to help end slavery, even coming up with different laws. For example, in 1778, Jefferson drafted the Virginia law that banned the importation of enslaved Africans. Then, in 1784 he proposed an ordinance prohibiting slavery in the new territories of the Northwest (Thomas Jefferson, 1985).

If Thomas Jefferson hadn’t bought the Louisiana Purchase, America wouldn’t be anywhere near what it is today. Jefferson knew that in order for the United States to grow, this purchase was vital. According to an online article, Why the Homestead?, published July 19, 2008, by coming up with an agreement, Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase which was 870,000 acres for $15 million.

Jefferson doubted whether he had the constitutional authority to purchase this land. Nowhere in the Constitution did it say that the Chief Executive was empowered to purchase external territory (Homestead, 2008). But the Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the United States (Thomas Jefferson, 1985) and Homesteading may never have existed without this purchase. This land was a great addition.

Finally on December 20, France officially transferred the territory to the Americans, and the United States took formal possession on December 30 (Thomas Jefferson, 1985). Jefferson knew he had made the right choice by making this essential purchase.

Thomas Jefferson has been acknowledged by many. According to the book I Love My Country: Purity’s Body by Sri Chinmoy (1975), Jefferson’s personal qualities are those that many would like to have said about themselves. Thomas Jefferson seemed to go the extra mile to make things happen. He was one who always tried to be optimistic. Many say that he was the most exquisitely gifted man of his time (Chinmoy, 1975).

Clarity, luminosity and vastness: these were just some of the attributes that he displayed (Chinmoy, 1975). Jefferson devoted himself to his estate and family and pursued various agricultural, architectural, scholarly, and scientific projects (Thomas Jefferson, 1985).

Jefferson's achievements were fundamental to the development of political liberty in the United States. Jefferson was a legislator and executive, his passionate and constant support and his values helped define, establish, and maintain political liberty.

America thrives today thanks to Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson should be appreciated with the highest admiration and honor for his belief that all are equal, the many things he did for the United States and how he has made a positive impression.

By being a believer, a dreamer and an achiever, Thomas Jefferson made things happened. He always had the faith, and was able to influence America and make her what she is today.

Title: Thomas Jefferson. Copy of painting by Rembrandt Peale, circa 1805, 1942-1945
Creator: Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Overseas Operations Branch. New York Office. News and Features Bureau. (Most Recent)
ARC Identifier: 535935

Chinmoy, S. (1975). I love my country: purity’s body. Agni Press.

Homestead Congress. (2008, July 19). Why the Homestead Act? Retrieved February 21, 2009 from

Thomas Jefferson. (1985). American reformers. Retrieved February 23, 2009, from Biographies Plus Illustrated database.

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