Thomas Jefferson: A Controversial Man

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Most people only know Thomas Jefferson as the third President of the United States but he was much more than that. Thomas Jefferson was a very controversial man. From his work as a Founding Father to the mysteries of his personal life, Americans continue to find him to be very intriguing. He challenged the way the government was run previously by the first two presidents and became an advocate for the people. This paper talks about Jefferson’s role as a leader during the creation of the Declaration of Independence, his life before he became well-known, and the controversies related to his relationship with his slave named Sally Hemings. Thomas Jefferson was one of the most famous of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Jefferson was a tall and awkward man. He had sandy hair and many freckles. He was a delegate in the Second Continental Congress (Crawford 10) and assisted with the writing of the Declaration of Independence but not in the way most people know. It is assumed that Thomas Jefferson wrote most of the Declaration of Independence but he did not. Many of the words used in the Declaration of Independence “…were inserted into the Declaration by the Continental Congress in place of Jefferson's text” (Maier web). The Continental Congress edited most of what Thomas Jefferson wrote so that the document would sound better. Jefferson was very upset about this but the decision of the Continental Congress shaped Jefferson’s legacy. For centuries, people have read the Declaration of Independence believing that it was Jefferson’s words that they were reading but it was actually the Continental Congress’s interpretation of Jefferson’s words. Even President Abraham Lincoln used Thomas Jefferson’s work in t... ... middle of paper ... ... in Conflict.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 1998. Web. 5 Feb 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/11/07/books/the-enigma-of-jefferson-mind-and-body-in- conflict The Miller Center. The University of Virginia, 2013. Web. 26 March 2014. http://millercenter.org/president/jefferson/essays/biography/1 Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, 2014. Web. 26 March 2014. http://www.monticello.org/ Outline I. Thomas Jefferson Public Figure A. Founding Father Identity B. Jefferson as Governor C. Jefferson’s Presidencies II. Jefferson’s Personal Life A. Jefferson as Inventor B. Family Life at Monticello III. Jefferson and Slavery A. Jefferson’s Relationship with Sally Hemings B. Jefferson as a Slave Owner IV. Jefferson’s Final Years

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