Jeffersonian Politics


The politics of the US originated from ideas and theories that were developed a long time ago. In that respects, Thomas Jefferson is one of the personalities that may never be forgotten in the history of America. His theories came to be in action between in the late 70 and the early 80s. Jeffersonian politics were the basis of the formation of the Republican Party, one that was formed to oppose the federalists, led by Hamilton. Basically, the Jeffersonian politics opposed aristocracy which they accused with things such as corruption and inequality. Jefferson advocated for equal rights for all the male white citizens in the US. In this paper, different aspects and issues on Jeffersonian politics have been discussed.

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Ideological differences between Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans

There were major ideological differences that existed between the federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans. The first major difference in their ideologies was brought about by their beliefs on the national government. Jefferson came to oppose the federalists, since they are the ones who were, already, in government. Therefore the understanding of this difference would start with an analysis of the beliefs by federalists. For the federalists, aristocracy was the order of the day. In this, they believed that the brightest people in the society are the ones that should lead the nation. Therefore, they believed that when these bright people were in the government, the decisions that would be made for the country were the best. Therefore, there was no need to incorporate the ideas and thoughts of other citizens in America. In their ideology, they believed that all the activities and decisions of the state should be decided by the national government. They, thus, decided that the government should be an expansive entity. This was an ideology that was highly opposed by the republicans.

The Democratic - Republican Party believed that the federal government had been bestowed with much power and roles in the nation. For this reason, they advocated for local governments. They believed that these could be more instrumental in the delivery of services to the citizens. In such a system, more common people could be involved, considering that they were more that those who controlled the country under the federalists. Hamilton’s government favored the wealthy individuals, since they could influence the few individuals, upon whom power had been bestowed. Jefferson believed that power had to be taken to the people. Leadership had to be taken to the local government, where local leaders would take charge. These are leaders who had closer touch to the American citizens, including the poor farmers. Therefore, the perspective that each of these two parties had on the national government was a major source of their ideological differences.

According to the democratic republicans, the states should have had more power than the federal government. He explained a fault that existed from the system that was being used by the federalists. Before he came to power, there was a huge national debt, which had been obtained to suit the interests of the richer individuals. This is why the Federalist Party was supported by lawyers, doctors and businessmen. Their system favored their activities and ambitions. On the other hand, Jefferson believed that the best way to boost the economy of the country was not favoring the rich people. He believed that agriculture would be the major contributor to the economy of America. In this view, agriculture would favor the plantation owners and the farmers who depended on it for their livelihood. This explains why one of his major agendas and achievements in the period he reigned was the significant reduction of the national debt. This conflict of ideologies caused the differences that existed between these two parties. The effects of this conflict were positive, in the sense that it gave America a choice, on which was the best system of government. Most of the virtues and ideologies that exist in Americans originate from this important time in the history of the country.

Achievements and Failures of Jefferson’s Administration

Advocating for certain virtues, beliefs and ideas is never enough, for any politician. With his ideology, Jefferson won the hearts of most Americans. However, the true test on his abilities and competency was tested when he got into power. There were a few achievements that he made, based on his ideologies. This saw him become one of the most important presidents in America. This did not come without hardships and difficulty. There were some failures that Jefferson experienced, while in power. These have been, extensively discussed in this part of the paper.


The first achievement of the Jefferson administration was the writing of the declaration of independence. Along with four other individuals, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, Jefferson wrote the first draft of this declaration. This happened in the first 17 days and a presentation done to the congress. In connection to this, Jefferson made a huge step towards the achievement of religious freedom in America. He achieved this through writing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1777. Apart from these drafts he made, Jefferson looked into the territorial factors of the United States. In a bid to expand the territories of America, Jefferson was the man responsible for the purchase of Louisiana. Before that, this land was owned by France. At a price of 15 million dollars, he was able to purchase 800,000 square miles of this territory.

The library of the congress can be said to have had multiple founders. However, if a single individual was to be picked in this list, Jefferson would be the man. He advocated for this library and supported its founding. History records that he sold his personal library to the federal government. They were a major contribution to this library. In his quest to increase the education levels of Americans, he founded the University of Virginia. In this endeavor, he argued that there was need for the state to educate leaders. The next major achievement for Jefferson was in agriculture. He helped to improve the agricultural practices by the farmers, through the introduction of different techniques. He is credited for helping farmers to understand, adopt and implement sustainable agriculture. These were the major achievements made by this leader in America.


Even with the brilliance of Jefferson, perfection is difficult to achieve. There were some failures that were observed and experienced during his administration. Without any doubt, the biggest failure in the administration of Jefferson was in the fight against slavery. Jefferson was not able to fight slavery in America, since his ideologies and administration favored the while citizens. However, this does not mean that he supported slave trade. As a matter of fact, he publicly denounced it, especially in the declaration of independence. However, his attempts kept failing. He did not persevere and push on with the fight, which resulted to his failure. Some argue that he was just using his instincts, as a politician. He was, only, ready to fight battles for which he could foresee victory. There were other leaders who had started freeing their slaves. Even though, Jefferson did not free his own slaves, during his administration. The other huge failure by Jefferson was in education. Before he got to power, Jefferson also wanted power to be transferred to the people, through education. True to his belief, he advocated for free public education, when he came to power. He presented this bill to the state legislature. Unfortunately, there were many factors that he had not considered. Therefore, the state legislature rejected it, which counted as a failure of his part.

The Irony of Jefferson’s Policies

The policies by Jefferson were ironic, in different ways. First, he claimed that he advocated and supported equality in America. However, he, specifically, stated that this was equality for all white males. Therefore, his policies did not show any gender, or racial equality. This was one of the major flaws that caused some people to lose trust in his ideologies. Additionally, he advocated for better agricultural methods, in a bid to raise the standards of living in America. However, he was unable to fight the slave trade that was in the South. As a president, he had the power to carry out major steps in ending slavery. However, he could not enact his policies, causing the identification of irony in their mentioning.

Effects of the War of 1812 have on the Politics Parties

The War of 1812 had significant effects on these two major parties in America. The first effect was the collapse of the Federalist Party. This was a party whose beliefs, practices and ideologies were pro-British. This caused them to be less supportive of the war. As a result of the war, the federalists met in 1814, where they aired their opinion on the war. They mentioned the three-fifths compromise, as well as succession. These were issues that caused people to lose trust in the party, due to their unpatriotic beliefs. On the other hand, republicans gained more power, with their major opposition eliminated. These effects would, later, shape the direction taken by American politics.


The description above is a summary of the different ideas held by democratic republicans. From the comparison that has been made between them and the federalists, there has been a clear statement of the advantages and disadvantages of the republican politics. Some of the ideologies and beliefs that they held can be observed, even, in today’s America. The transformation that they brought to American politics can never be ignored. Jeffersonian politics were the major reason for the consideration of common citizens in the constitution. They are the major reason as to why the federal government does not have overreaching abilities, which can be abused by a few individuals. Despite the shortcomings of Jefferson’s administration, it was one of the most important ones in America’s history.

Dec 19, 2019 in Informative
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