Jeremy Keeshin

Jefferson’s Idealistic Presidency
The presidency of Thomas Jefferson was a presidency of many contradictions. This style of presidency was inherent to a man whose life was governed by liberty for people, but who still managed to have slaves, the complete antithesis. His principles and philosophies of government were no exception. His ideologies were a combination of both idealism and pragmatism for the future of the United States. The ideas that left the greatest legacy on his presidency were those of idealism, because they had the largest impact in shaping the central events of this era. Jefferson was a man who knew his beliefs and was firm in them and getting them approved and made into law. He was an unyielding Republican, and against the Federalist idea and their legislation. Ideally, he wanted all of their legislation repealed. The Alien and Sedition Acts were the main laws that provoked this unrest between Jefferson and the rest of the Republicans. His idealistic view of the way the government should be led him to pushing for the expiration of these acts. Another important aspect of the Jeffersonian Presidency was that he was a great expansionist. He acquired the Louisiana Territory in the Louisiana Purchase from France. His vehement passion for expansion and the territorial wants of the Northerners and Southerners were main causes of the War of 1812. This was another prime example of how Jefferson’s ideas of agrarian expansionism had a great impact on the country. Jefferson and his idealistic views on the Hamilton’s economic plans had a drastic effect. Jefferson was for a new banking system, not the one that was currently in place from Hamilton’s ideas. He pushed for a new bank, and to let the old one expire, but installing a new system into the country would be more of a hassle than it would do good. This was an instance where Jefferson had his ideas and backed them, but they did not get put into action. A vital Jeffersonian idea that dictated the foreign events of this era was the 1807 Embargo Act. Jefferson was avidly behind this because since England and France were attacking United States commerce, he wanted a means to make them suffer the loss of American goods. This plan to revive trade was a complete failure and this idealistic endeavor by Jefferson caused somewhat of an economic crash and severe consequences to those places that depended on trade. The whole era was a function of the way that Jefferson wanted things to be, and how he went about trying to make those changes a reality. His idealistic views of agrarianism, expansionism, decentralization of the bank, and of a self-sufficient country were all themes behind his presidency and this period of United States history.