You Are At: AllSands Home > History > People > Thomas Jefferson: biography
Thomas Jefferson was the third U.S. President. He served from 1801 to 1809, he served two terms as President. After becoming President for his first term, he tried to calm the nation, from the uproar of the vicious campaign. He quickly asked Congress to repeal the Alien and Sedetion Act, and the people jailed under these laws were soon released.

Jefferson's first crisis as President came in foreign affairs. The Barbary pirates were vicious buccaneers who operated out of North African states of Morocco, Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli. They attacked merchant ships and kidnapped sailors, imprisoning and often torturing them.

Another foreign involvement also occupied the President's time. Napoleon's military victories in Europe had recently forced Spain to turn over many of its North American colonies to France, including the Mississippi River.
At the campaign of 1804, Jefferson was once again the Presidential candidate of the Democratic-Republicans. The Federalist weren't much of a factor in this election, their candidate Charles Pinckney was an experienced and qualified statesman. But, Jefferson was a popular President and won easily.

In his second inaugural address, Jefferson summed up the successes of his administration and looked to the future. He announced plans to build new roads to the western lands as well as canals in the east to connect that regions major waterways. What Jefferson did not know was that his second term would be marred by a dangerous conspiracy.

Aaron Burr was a jealous and bitter man. After losing the fight for the presidency in 1800, Burr was desperate to get even with Jefferson.
Burr had to promise that if he became Governor of New York, that New York would secede from the Union and join Massachusetts in a New Federalist country.

Although he lost the election in New York, Burr still pursued his treasonous activities. He met with the British minister to the United States, asking him for half a million dollars and the help of the British navy in taking over the Louisiana Territory. The British ignored him, but Burr went to Louisiana anyway.

Jefferson was told of Burr's plans by General James Wilkinson. Burr had approached Wilkinson with the idea of establishing a new empire.
In 1807, Burr was arrested for Treason. But, he was acquitted due to his plotting did not break any laws.

It was near the end of Jefferson's second term that Jefferson faced his most dangerous foreign crisis. The trouble began, when the British warship Leopard fired on the American frigate, Chesapeake. Despite the public's demand for war, Jefferson wanted to remain reasonable. He told his minister to Great Britain to demand an apology.

The British refused, Jefferson believed by asking Congress to authorize an embargo on all of Europe, it would bring both France and Britain to respect U.S. Neutrality. The embargo was a disaster, hurting Americans much more than the British or the French. A year later, Congress passed a bill repealing the embargo, which Jefferson signed on March 1, 1809, three days before leaving office.

Jefferson thought his Secretary of State would make a fine President, so James Madison ran as the Democratic-Republican candidate for President in 1808.