Saturday, October 27, 2007

Evaluate the presidency of Thomas Jefferson.

John Adams's one term presidency lead to the Revolution of 1800. This was the peaceful transition of power from the Federalist party to the Democratic-Republicans. Their leader, Jefferson, had a smooth first term. However, in his second term, he had to deal with international issues, which led to problems at home. The purchase of the Louisiana Territory, the undeclared Barbary war, and his trade acts were all key events during his presidency.

Jefferson's astute thinking lead him to purchase the Louisiana Territory in 1803, during France's time of need. France was a war with Britain, and needed money to continue fighting. Jefferson was a strict interpreter of the constitution, so he went against his beliefs when he followed through with this purchase. However, he had acquired a vast amount of land, and doubled the size of the United States. The public agreed that fifteen million dollars was a good deal.

Upon acquiring the new land, Jefferson organized an expedition to find out more about it. Lewis and Clark lead this exploration westward, along with a translator Sacajawea. They published journals about their findings, and encouraged further westward exploration in the future.

Jefferson accomplished great things during his first term. Yet his leadership skills were challenged during his second term. Northern African nations, Barbary states, often seized American ships and held the crews for ransom. Jefferson wanted to steer clear of was. However, he did what needed to be done in order to protect his people. It wasn't until 1815, when he defeated these pirates, that they stopped seizing American ships.

In addition to dealing with Barbary states, the United States also suffered consequences from the war between Britain and France. In order to cease trade between the United States and France, Britain passed several acts that angered the American people. Within these were the Essex decision, which prohibited the United States from trading with the French West Indies, and the Leopard-Chesapeake Incident, which forced captured American sailors into the British navy. In Jefferson's effort to stay out of was, he passed a series of trade acts. The Nonintercourse Act stopped the importation of British goods. However, this did little to harm the British, so the Nonintercourse Act of 1809 reopened trade. Perhaps the most harmful act was the Embargo Act, which prohibited all foreign trade. It was meant to harm the French and British, but it hurt New England's economy the most. It left the American angry, and ready to shift to Federalist rule in the upcoming election.

Jefferson's presidency quickly shifted from a smooth ride, to a bumpy affair with foreign issues. Although some of his policies infuriated the public, he managed to keep the United States out of declared war. In addition, he increased American territory, thus further empowering the fairly new nation.

1 comment:

Mr. Brush said...


Pretty good job except for leaving out important domestic issues such as the Marshall Court (Marbury vs. Madison and others) and what Federalist ideas and policies Jefferson kept and which ones he didn't.