Thomas Jefferson Pros and Cons of Presidency

Topics:
Words:
554
Page:
1
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Cite this essay cite-image

Jefferson was one of the most brilliant men ever to serve as president. His interest in geography and natural science helped him to understand the true significance of the Louisiana Territory, and when Napoleon made his fateful offer, Jefferson acted swiftly and decisively to accept it, thereby doubling the land area of the U.S. He then dispatched his personal secretary, Meriwether Lewis, along with William Clark, on a scientific expedition to explore the new territory.

While undoubtedly a great mind, and perhaps a great man, Jefferson was certainly not a great--or even a particularly effective--president. In purchasing Louisiana from France, he did no more than any other reasonable man might have done in the same situation. Historians have praised him for showing flexibility in his principles of strict constitutional construction and limited presidential authority. What his actions on Louisiana really demonstrate is that these often-enunciated principles were only matters of convenience with Jefferson, used to justify certain ends but then abandoned when they stood in his way. The pronouncements of Jefferson, like those of any other politician, must be taken with a grain of salt.

Jefferson corrected many of the authoritarian excesses of the Adams administration-ending the celebrated 'reign of terror' and returning to the people their rights of free speech and free press.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order
document

Here is another prime example of Jeffersonian hypocrisy. The President took a civil libertarian position only when it was convenient for him to do so. His interference in the Aaron Burr treason trial makes even Richard Nixon's much-publicized meddling in the Ellsberg case seem like child's play by comparison. Jefferson was determined to see his former rival hanged as a traitor, and he was ready to abandon all constitutional restraints in the process. He not only announced his opinion that Burr was guilty before the jury could consider the case, but he attempted to bribe witnesses with promises of presidential pardons if only they would testify against Burr. Concerning this case, Jefferson was the author of this incredible statement: 'There are extreme cases when the laws become inadequate even to their own preservation, and where the universal resource is a dictator, or martial law.'

Jefferson's cool leadership helped avoid American involvement in the Napoleonic wars that were raging in Europe. At his insistence, an embargo was placed on all American foreign trade, in hopes of forcing the European powers into respecting American maritime rights. Though this policy created considerable economic hardship, it was certainly preferable to a war for which America was woefully unprepared.

Jefferson himself must take responsibility for the difficult position in which he found himself as president. He had cut back the army and navy to such a pitiful level that the European powers could afford to ignore all American threats and requests. Even given this unnecessary situation, the embargo was a hopelessly misguided idea. It forced no concessions from the European powers, while creating widespread unemployment and considerable economic hardship for hundreds of thousands of Americans. Moreover, Jefferson's wholesale arrest of individuals and seizure of cargoes on the merest suspicion of intent to export, once more demonstrates his total disregard for civil liberties. According to Leonard Levy, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning expert on the Constitution: 'To this day, the Embargo Act remains the most repressive and unconstitutional legislation ever enacted by Congress in time of peace.'

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this paper

Thomas Jefferson Pros and Cons of Presidency. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/thomas-jefferson-pros-and-cons-of-presidency/
“Thomas Jefferson Pros and Cons of Presidency.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/thomas-jefferson-pros-and-cons-of-presidency/
Thomas Jefferson Pros and Cons of Presidency. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/thomas-jefferson-pros-and-cons-of-presidency/> [Accessed 18 Apr. 2024].
Thomas Jefferson Pros and Cons of Presidency [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2024 Apr 18]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/thomas-jefferson-pros-and-cons-of-presidency/
copy

Join our 150k of happy users

  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
Place an order

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via support@edubirdie.com.

Check it out!
close
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.