Jefferson: A Pragmatic Leader

The 5 Reasons Why

Reason 1: Jefferson Kept Hamilton's National Bank

Before taking office as president, Jefferson was very clear on the fact that he did not approve of Hamilton’s Financial Plan, especially the establishment of a national bank. Upon becoming president and seeing that the national bank was working, however, he made a pragmatic decision and kept the national bank as it was.

Reason 2: Jefferson Kept Hamilton's Way of Paying Off the War Debt

Jefferson opposed Hamilton's plan to have the government assume all of the debt left over from the Revolutionary War, including that of the states. Jefferson went back on that principle when he took office, however, and kept that aspect of Hamilton's plan intact. In some ways, this was a hypocritical decision. It was mostly a pragmatic decision, however, because he went back on his principles to support something that was benefiting the nation.

Reason 3: Jefferson Approved the Louisiana Purchase

Jefferson believed that the Constitution should be interpreted very literally. When faced with the opportunity of buying a large amount of land for a very low price, he was torn because the Constitution did not say that the president could take this action. He decided to buy the land, however, because he knew that it would help the nation grow even though the Constitution did not explicitly allow him this action.

Reason 4: Jefferson Passed the Embargo Act of 1807

The Embargo Act was passed in an effort to avoid war with Great Britain and France by keeping American ships out of European waters and also making their nations live without necessary American supplies. The Embargo Act forbade the shipping of all supplies from the US, which hurt the agricultural workers because they had nowhere to send their crops to. Although this was hypocritical of Jefferson because he swore to protect the rights of the agricultural workers, it was mainly pragmatic because he was keeping the nation out of war.

Reason 5: Jefferson Tried to Maintain Balance Between the Political Parties After Marbury vs. Madison

The Marbury vs. Madison decision established the idea of judicial review, which gave the Supreme Court the final say in what is Constitutional. Jefferson did not agree with this Federalist decision and believed that the states should have this power. To to make sure that the Democratic-Republicans were as strong as the Federalists, Jefferson sought for the removal of a Federalist Supreme Court judge. This decision was hypocritical in some ways, because Jefferson was not exactly following the Constitution, but it was mainly pragmatic because he wanted the Democratic-Republicans to be heard.