Dbq #3 Thomas Jefferson and Philosophical Consistency Essay

685 Words Mar 14th, 2007 3 Pages
In the years prior to Thomas Jefferson's presidency, he was a very vocal critic of a centralized federal government and he was an avid follower of the constitution, yet once he became Commander in Chief he changed his tune towards these issues. The three largest contradictions that stand out amongst his actions were his war with the Barbary pirates, using restrictive economic policies to achieve his goals, and his acquiring of Louisiana. Although these contradictions were for the good of the country, he still went against the convictions that got him elected.

Critically, Thomas Jefferson went against his views of having "unnecessarily" large military that would intimidate other countries. When President John Adams proposed to expand
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Finally, Jefferson caved in to congressional pressure, and halted the paralyzing economic policy. Another example of Jefferson changing his point of view on economic policy is his view on free trade, which fit his libertarian use of thought. Jefferson used this vocal point in his election against John Adams, yet once in power he failed to install a free trading system with overseas nations. Jefferson realized that it was impossible to imply such a thing if the other nations would go along with it.

Most importantly, Thomas Jefferson deeply contradicted his views on land expansion and violated his policy on following the constitution completely. A prime example of this was the Louisiana Purchase, in which Napoleon offered Jefferson the opportunity to purchase all of France's American territory for only $15 million, doubling the physical size of the nation. The French needed the money to fight a war with the British, and Jefferson wanted the mouth of the Mississippi River for America. So, Jefferson "gave the Constitution a close reading" to seek authorization for such a move. Failing to find any, he decided to unconstitutionally take the offer anyway (Doc C). This clearly violated his previous views on such an issue. However, it is obvious that Jefferson made the right decision in the matter, and the American people should be very grateful for Jefferson's

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