Pragmatist vs. Hypocrite


One who deals with problems in a sensible and pratical way, instead of following a set of ideas.


Someone who pretends to have certain beliefs or opinions that they do not really have.

Was Jefferson a Pragmatist or a Hypocrite?

Keeping Hamilton’s Financial Plans

When Jefferson became president, he decided to keep certain parts of Hamilton's federalist financial plan. This included funding the debt at par, assuming Revolutionary war debts of the states, and he kept the bank and tariffs.

In this situation, Jefferson was Pragmatic because even though he went against his principles it was better for the country.

Reaction to “Judicial Review”

After Marshall set the precedent of judicial review, Jefferson and his supporters were enraged. They seeked revenge on the Federalists of the Supreme Court. Jefferson encouraged the impeachment of Samual Chase.

In this situation Jefferson was hypocritical becuase he wanted to violate Samuel Chase's individual rights and Chase hadn't done anything wrong. Going against Samual Chase, or one of "the people" is hypocritical of his beliefs to defend the people.

The Louisiana Purchase

Jefferson sent Monroe and Livingston to Paris to negoiate the U.S. buying New Orleans and land to the east. He told them to go no higher than ten million. They ended up getting the land, but the extra being on the West and for fifteen million.

Jefferson and his followers negoiating with France was pragmatic. This is because though entangling the nation with foreign nations was not constitutinal, and against his beliefs, he did it for the better of the country, giving the United States more land.

Jefferson's Support of the Embargo Act

Jefferson created the embargo act to cut off trade with Europe because the war between France and Britain was effecting the United States in a negative way. It was an alternative to war. Although, it had a bad effect on the United State ecomony and Jefferson started acting like a tyrant.

Jefferson's Support of the Embargo Act makes him a pragmatist. This because, he supported independence and not having strong ties with foreign countries. However, his reaction to the bad effects the act had was going against his belief that the people should have the power. This is pragmatic because he went against his principles to try and get the country back on track.

Jefferson: Slavery

Jefferson said to believe in individual rights and freedom. He wrote "all men are created equal" in The Declaration of Independence, and other evidence of his equality of man kind beliefs. However, he owned many slaves and has also written remarks about white superiority.

Jefferson's beliefs on slavery make him hypocritical because he claimed to believe in equality in all men, and not to be a racist, but owned a slaved and had also said things that agree with inequality between races ,going against what he had claimed to believe.

Was Jefferson a Pragmatist or a Hypocrite?

With a 3 to 2 overrule, we've determined that Jefferson was a Pragmatist.

By Kayla Derstine and Kendall McKeever