Sectional Issues Essay

Submitted By candybar124
Words: 999
Pages: 4

Thomas Jefferson was one of the most eloquent writers and highly respected people of his time, resulting to his win in the Election of 1800. Jefferson was the first Democratic-Republican to be elected as president; therefore, he had a different philosophy of government than any previous president had believed. Democratic-Republicans followed a strict interpretation of the Constitution. They believed in a weak federal government and a small, peacetime military or navy; they also opposed tariffs and favored agricultural lifestyles. Once president, Jefferson exercised the power of the national government; however, his original philosophy remained unchanged. Jefferson eliminated a number of federal jobs, he emphasized the importance of peoples’ and states’ rights, and he reduced the size of America’s military. During Jefferson’s presidency he fired many men that were in the executive and judiciary cabinet, leaving it Republican based so that he could avoid the internal divisions that had troubled Washington. “It is in this case of a guardian, investing the money of his ward in purchasing an adjacent territory; and saying to him when of age ‘I did this for your good’,” (Jefferson, letter 1803). The Louisiana Purchase (1803) was the most important achievement made by Jefferson during his first presidential term. This new vastness of land practically doubled the size of America, and opened up plenty of land for farmers to claim and build upon. Jefferson hoped that the Louisiana Purchase would transform the future of his country. His dream of America was to live in an agrarian society of independent farmers rather than in an urban and industrialized nation. This was Jefferson’s way to ensure that Americans could find work other than federal employment. The Purchase also protected peoples’ rights because a weak government would not interfere with an agrarian society. Jefferson believed that small government was the most effective way to limit American debt. Although Jefferson used the power of national government to purchase this vast amount of land, he did so in order to fulfill his philosophy. Jeffersonian Republicans firmly opposed the excise taxes as well as the Alien and Sedition Acts that were passed in 1793. They felt that the acts violated rights guaranteed to them by the First Amendment of the Constitution. “The excise law is an infernal one… The third and last error will be to make it the instrument of dismembering the Union, and setting us all afloat to choose which part of it we will adhere to,” (Jefferson, letter 1794). Jefferson believed that the excise law would be the distinction between mending the Union and razing it to shreds. He thought that the excise law and the Alien and Sedition Acts were too risky; therefore, he repealed them all. Before Jefferson became president, he wrote the Kentucky Resolutions which were secretly made to get the rights back that were taken away by the Alien and Sedition Acts. These laws took away freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. These resolutions also brought about the later compact theory which gave the states more power than the federal government. The last thing Jefferson needed was a broken country—half Democratic-Republican and the other half Federalists—each side having a strong animosity toward the other side. To avoid the Union from dismembering, Jefferson immediately repealed the excise taxes and suspended the Alien and Sedition Acts. In doing so, Jefferson, during his presidency, pursued his plan to give states more rights than the federal government. Barbary pirates began to seize United States merchant ships because they demanded that Jefferson pay a larger tribute than Adams and Washington paid during their presidency. Even though Jefferson did not believe in a large military or navy, he had no other choice but to fight against the Barbary governments. Latter incidents at sea, in which Britain and France continuously harassed the United…