By Lillian DeMarco and Kaytlyn Walter
Who Was Thomas Jefferson and How Was He Pragmatic?
- Jefferson often contradicted what he believed in. He supported the rule of the common man, and not the exclusive rule of the rich and well-born. Jefferson, however, was a man of great wealth, property, and status. This reveals itself as hypocritical at first, but proves to be pragmatic when considering people's natural tendency to listen to individuals of wealth. He wouldn't have much say or attention if he was just some unknown country farmer from some random town. He needed power and status to help him represent the common folk, and get his say.
- Jefferson interpreted the constitution word for word and believed that it should be strictly followed. His view was contradicted by his actions during a certain land purchase called the Louisiana Purchase. He felt that he was going through with this deal was the best way to save the Union, even if this went against his beliefs.
- Jefferson did in fact believe in the natural rights for all men, even slaves. Ironically, Jefferson owned about 2,000 slaves. He did not release them for fear of what the society may do to them or think of them.
Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase
1. Jefferson was pragmatic when he placed the safety of the country before his belief in the strict interpretation of the constitution. When Jefferson decided to go through with the Louisiana Purchase, he literally said he felt that the whole act was somewhat unconstitutional. This point will be proven further by the examination of his intentions when the purchase took place. Jefferson wanted to obtain the land because he saw the French as a threat towards America's boarders. The country was weak, and he was under no illusion otherwise. To prevent the French from possibly taking over in later years, Jefferson sent in his men and sealed the deal.
2. When Jefferson bought the land in the Louisiana purchase, he entered a peace treaty with France. Jefferson agreed with Washington on the topic of creating no permanent alliances with other countries. Again, however, Jefferson thought of only avoiding the destruction of the U.S. by the French and made the decision to break this rule, thus he is pragmatic.
When Jefferson became president, he recognized the country's debt. It was a huge, towering foe that was around since the revolutionary war. Jefferson decided to keep 3 main parts of Hamilton's plans for the sake of the people, even if he disagreed strongly. They were the National Bank, the founding of the debts at par, and assuming the Revolutionary war debts of the states.