Jefferson, Thomas, 3d president of the United States, was born at Shadwell, Albemarle county, Va., April 2, 1743. A mention of him in connection with the history of Kansas is appropriate because to him, more than to any other one man, is due the acquisition of the territory now forming the state through the Louisiana purchase in 1803. Mr. Jefferson was educated at William and Mary College, and after graduating he began the practice of law in 1767. His first public service was as a member of the Virginia house of burgesses, where he served from 1769 to the beginning of the Revolution. In 1775 he was elected to the Continental Congress and the following year was one of the committee of five to draft the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted on July 4. In October following he resigned his seat in Congress to become a member of the Virginia legislature, and on June 1, 1779, he succeeded Patrick Henry as governor of that state. In 1800 he was elected president, and soon after his inauguration learned that the province of Louisiana had been ceded back to France by the secret treaty of St. Ildefonso. Late in the year 1802 W. C. C. Claiborne, governor of Mississippi territory, wrote to the secretary of state that the Spanish authorities, still in control of Louisiana affairs, were about to restrict the navigation of the Mississippi river and the right of deposit at New Orleans. The correspondence was submitted to Congress in December, and on Jan. 11, 1803, the president sent to the senate a message nominating Robert R. Livingston as minister plenipotentiary and James Monroe as minister extraordinary "to enter into a treaty or convention with the First Consul of France for the purpose of enlarging and more effectually securing our rights and interests in the river Mississippi and in the territories eastward thereof."
In the same message, not knowing the exact provisions of the St. Ildefonso treaty, he named Charles Pinckney and James Monroe as ministers plenipotentiary to enter into a convention with the king of Spain for the same purpose. It was not Mr. Jefferson's intention to purchase the province of Louisiana, and when the word came from Paris that Livingston and Monroe had concluded a treaty by which the entire territory was ceded to the United States, he had some doubts as to the constitutionality of the action, as well as misgivings as to whether the cession would meet the approval of Congress and the people. That these doubts and misgivings were without cause is seen in the fact that Congress promptly ratified the treaty and the people in 1804 reëlected Mr. Jefferson to the highest office within their gift. Hence, it was under his administration that new territoryan empire in extentwas added to the United States, and Kansas is a part of that territory. Mr. Jefferson retired from public life at the close of his second term, and died on July 4, 1826. (See Louisiana Purchase.)Pages 26-27 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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