Thomas Jefferson


Pragmatist (noun)

a person who takes a practical approach to problems and is concerned primarily with the success or failure of her actions

1) Jefferson Takes Office

When Jefferson took office there were financial policies previously placed by Hamilton that did not agree with his principles, including the national bank and the the idea of funding the states’ debt at par. When these ideas were first proposed Jefferson was against them, but when he later took office he realized that these policies were working for the betterment of the country (and it would be impractical to get rid of them) so he kept them in tack.

2) Louisiana Purchase

When Jefferson became president France had control of New Orleans. Jefferson feared that if they held this land our national security would be at stake. He sent James Monroe to France to make a treaty to acquire the port of New Orleans. Monroe came home with the entire area of Louisiana. This created a complicated situation for Jefferson because he favored a strict interpretation of the constitution, which did not give the executive the power to purchase land. But he knew that this offer would never appear again and that if he did not by the land France would stay, a looming threat.

3) Pirates In the North Bay

Jefferson was against holding a standing army and reduced the military force to a few policemen, he wanted to avoid bloody wars, and an invitation to dictatorship. But he had to bend his principles when Pirates in the North Barbary seas declared war on the United states. Although he was a critic of big ship navy’s he organized a Navy and sent them to the shores of Tripoli because he knew we had to defend our ships.

4) Embargo Act

Jefferson was a strong advocate for individual and state rights. When he passed the embargo against France and Britain many felt that he was damaging the economy and limiting their rights to pursue commerce. Jefferson was trying to keep America neutral and remove us from their war by removing us from trade. Even though this went against his principles he thought this was best for the country.

5) The Whiskey Act

When Jefferson took office the tariff and whiskey act previously placed by Hamilton were still in place. Jefferson saw that these ideas went against his belief that the government should not give the people high taxes, so he was prepared to remove them. He repealed the whiskey act but when he saw how well the tariff was bringing in much needed money for the government, he decided to go against his principles for the good of the country.