Cherry blossoms are in their heights in April. During this time, people around the US gather around District of Columbia to enjoy Cherry Blossoms Festival. One of the best places to enjoy the festival is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the US. Coincidently, he was also born in April!
Thomas Jefferson accomplished a lot of things in the history of the US. Like the cherry blossoms which are the symbol of renewal, he contributed to the renewal of the US from a colony of Great Britain to an Independent country.
|[Cherry blossoms in Washington DC - Picture taken by Yejun Lee]
|[The Thomas Jefferson Memorial from the front - Picture taken by Yejun Lee]
|[The Statue inside the memorial - Picture taken by Yejun Lee]
Then, what did Thomas Jefferson do for the renewal of the US? He drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The Declaration of Independence was the document that America declared itself as independent from Great Britain. What the Declaration of Independence makes me interested is that he used it to show his intention against slavery.
Thomas Jefferson wanted to openly criticize slavery. On the draft of the Declaration of Independence, he referred to slavery as an “abominable crime.” But Thomas Jefferson’s opponents, who were mainly slave holders, prevented him from doing that. So, he expressed his belief indirectly by adding the phrase “Every man is created equal” in the Declaration of Independence. Interestingly, his father owned more than 600 slaves. When his father died, all his property went to his eldest son, Thomas Jefferson. Unlike his father who gave the slaves to his son, Thomas Jefferson freed some of his slaves, giving them a new life.
Another thing he achieved for the renewal of the US was to resolve the food shortage of the nation. Under the Louisiana Purchase, Thomas Jefferson bought from France Louisiana, which is called the Great Plains nowadays. The new land acquired was considered a tree-less waste land at first. But, Thomas Jefferson sent two explorers, Louis and Clark, to explore the new region, obtaining new information which helped the nation expand to the West. In addition, the Louisiana region is considered the Breadbasket of the US, meaning that it produces lots of food for the Americans.
|[This is the Louisiana Region Thomas Jefferson bought from France in green. HTTP://WWW.ILIBRARIAN.NET/HISTORY/LOUISIANA_PURCHASE_MAP_LG.JPG]
Also, Thomas Jefferson was the US ambassador of France. During that period, the French Revolution took place. He admired the revolution. One of the main points of the revolution was equality among all people. This resembles Thomas Jefferson's belief that all men are created equal. Even though lots of Americans opposed the revolution during the reign of terror, which was the period when the revolutionary leaders executed over 40,000 people, Thomas Jefferson still supported the Revolution. He thought the revolution was influenced by the War of Independence, which gave Americans equality. Like his Declaration of Independence was a renewal of US, his idea spread to France, which led to the renewal of France.
Visiting the Thomas Jefferson Memorial to see the cherry blossoms was a great opportunity for me to learn lots of accomplishments he achieved. Before this visit, I thought it was pure luck that made America prosperous. Now, I realized that it was not luck but efforts of people including Thomas Jefferson that have changed the country to become a super power.
Americans remember Thomas Jefferson as one of the greatest presidents thanks to his accomplishments. They built the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, inscribed his face on Mt. Rushmore during the Great Depression when money was scarce, and featured his portrait on the two-dollar bill.
People nowadays should not be satisfied with the present because history tells us that renewal for the better future is always in need. Thomas Jefferson said, "I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."
Longfellow Middle School
Yejun Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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