Presidency of Thomas Jefferson

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Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800.jpg
3rd President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809
Vice President Aaron Burr (1801–1805),
George Clinton (1805–1809)
Preceded by John Adams
Succeeded by James Madison
2nd Vice President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
President John Adams
Preceded by John Adams
Succeeded by Aaron Burr
1st United States Secretary of State
In office
September 26, 1789 – December 31, 1793
President George Washington
Preceded by None
Succeeded by Edmund Randolph
Personal details
Born April 13, 1743
Shadwell, Virginia
Died July 4, 1826(1826-07-04) (aged 83)
Charlottesville, Virginia
Nationality American
Political party Democratic-Republican
Spouse(s) Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson
Occupation Lawyer, Farmer (Planter)
Religion Deism (member of Episcopalian church)
Signature "Th: Jefferson"

Thomas Jefferson's Presidency of the United States, from March 4, 1801 to March 4, 1809, carried out what Jefferson called the "Revolution of 1800", as he attempted to put into action the principles of his Democratic-Republican Party. In domestic affairs Jefferson tried to weaken Federalist influences, especially in the judiciary, and succeeded in limiting the size of government by reducing taxes and the national debt.

In foreign affairs, the major developments were the acquisition of the gigantic Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803, an embargo against trade with both Great Britain and France, and worsening relations with Britain as the United States tried to remain neutral in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars that engulfed Europe. The war's effects reached throughout the Atlantic. While remaining "neutral," from early 1802 Jefferson allowed contraband goods and arms to reach Saint-Domingue during its slave rebellion and refused financial credit to France, aiding the slave and mulatto resistance that achieved independence in 1804. After that, however, with France removed and Congressional resistance high, he refused to recognize Haiti, and embargoed trade with it, causing severe difficulties for the second republic to rise in the Western Hemisphere.

Jeffersonian democracy[edit]

Historians have long portrayed the contest between Jefferson and Hamilton as iconic for the politics, political philosophy, economic policies and future direction of the United States. For example in the 1920s Claude Bowers, a historian and Democrat, wrote a best-seller that pitted good versus evil in Jefferson and Hamilton: The Struggle for Democracy in America (1925). The Jeffersonian position—called Jeffersonian democracy—won out in 1800 and Hamilton's Federalism died out (except on the Supreme Court of John Marshall). The historian Sean Wilentz in 2010 identified a scholarly trend in Hamilton's favor:

"In recent years, Hamilton and his reputation have decidedly gained the initiative among scholars who portray him as the visionary architect of the modern liberal capitalist economy and of a dynamic federal government headed by an energetic executive. Jefferson and his allies, by contrast, have come across as naïve, dreamy idealists. At best according to many historians, the Jeffersonians were reactionary utopians who resisted the onrush of capitalist modernity in hopes of turning America into a yeoman farmers' arcadia. At worst, they were proslavery racists who wish to rid the West of Indians, expand the empire of slavery, and keep political power in local hands -- all the better to expand the institution of slavery and protect slaveholders' rights to own human property."[1]

Elections[edit]

Jefferson had been elected Vice President under John Adams in the 1796 election, though he grew increasingly hostile to Adams while working for him. Working closely with Aaron Burr of New York, Jefferson rallied his party, attacking the new taxes especially, and ran for the Presidency in the 1800 election. Before the passage of the Twelfth Amendment, a problem with the new union's electoral system arose. Hamilton convinced his party that Jefferson would be a lesser political evil than Burr and that such scandal within the electoral process would undermine the new constitution. On February 17, 1801, after thirty-six ballots, the House elected Jefferson President and Burr Vice President. Jefferson owed his election victory to the South's inflated number of Electors, which counted slaves as part of the population for representation under the three-fifths compromise.[2][3] After his election in 1800, some called him the "Negro President", with critics such as the Mercury and New-England Palladium of Boston stating that Jefferson had the gall to celebrate his election as a victory for democracy when he won "the temple of Liberty on the shoulders of slaves."[3][4][dead link]

In the 1804 election, Jefferson easily defeated Federalist Charles Pinckney by an electoral vote of 162-14 and was re-elected. With little strength outside of New England, the Federalists seemed to be fading away, but they became rejuvenated after his term during the War of 1812. Railing against the moderate Democratic-Republicanism of Jefferson, Congressmen John Randolph of Roanoke and John Taylor of Caroline broke with the president and called for a return to the "principles of '98," and a small weak national government. Known as the "Old Republicans" (or sometimes called Quids), the men targeted Madison and Gallatin as the primary sources of Democratic-Republican weakness. When Jefferson became embroiled in the Yazoo Land Fraud controversy, Randolph began to attack the president from the floor of the House. Randolph's actions had little effect other than to alienate the Quids from the rest of the Democratic-Republican Party.[5] The Marshall Court finally resolved the Yazoo issue in the case of Fletcher v. Peck. While Marshall reluctantly agreed to support Jefferson's interpretation of the controversy, he was also able to increase the power of the Court by giving it the right to review the constitutionality of state laws.

Inauguration[edit]

First inauguration[edit]

First Presidential Inauguration of Thomas Jefferson
Date March 4, 1801; 213 years ago (1801-03-04)
Location United States Capitol,
Washington, D.C.
Participants President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson
Assuming office
Chief Justice of the United States,
John Marshall
Administering oath
Vice President of the United States
Aaron Burr, Jr.
Assuming office

The first inauguration of Thomas Jefferson as the third President of the United States was held on March 4, 1801. The inauguration marked the commencement of the first four-year term of Thomas Jefferson as President and only four-year term of Aaron Burr as Vice President. Jefferson was sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall.

Jefferson was the nation's second Vice President under President John Adams, and ran against him as a Democratic-Republican in the 1800 presidential election with rival Aaron Burr. Back in those times, the person who came in first would be president and the person who came in second would be vice president. Burr and Jefferson tied in the Electoral College 36 times, so the choice was thrown to the House of Representatives, where Alexander Hamilton helped swing the vote in Jefferson's favor, thus making him 3rd president of the United States.

It was a mild day in Washington, D.C., the first time an inauguration had been held in the city, with a noon temperature estimated at 55 degrees Fahrenheit.[6] That morning an artillery company on Capitol Hill had fired shots to welcome the daybreak, and in a first for a newspaper, Jefferson gave a copy of his speech to the National Intelligencer for it to be published and available right after delivery.[7]

Jefferson was lodging at Conrad and McMunn's boarding house [8] on the south side of the Capitol building, and at roughly 10:00 am the Alexandria company of riflemen marched to the intersection of New Jersey Avenue and C Street.[7] Jefferson, dressed according to a reporter as "a plain citizen without any distinctive badge of office," became the first president to walk rather than ride a carriage to the ceremony,[6] setting off around noon with some congressmen, District marshals, and military officers from Alexandria, Virginia.[7] He delivered a 1721 word speech in the United States Capitol's Senate chamber, and then took the oath of office, administered by Chief Justice John Marshall.[6]

In what would become standard practice, the Marine Band played for the first time at the inauguration.[6]

Second inauguration[edit]

Second Presidential Inauguration of Thomas Jefferson
Date March 4, 1805; 209 years ago (1805-03-04)
Location United States Capitol,
Washington, D.C.
Participants President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson
Assuming office
Chief Justice of the United States,
John Marshall
Administering oath
Vice President of the United States
George Clinton
Assuming office

The second inauguration of Thomas Jefferson as the third President of the United States took place on Monday, March 4, 1805 in the Senate Chamber of the United States Capitol. The inauguration marked the commencement of the second four-year term of Thomas Jefferson as President and the first four-year term of George Clinton as Vice President. Giving the oath of office was Chief Justice John Marshall. Jefferson wore a black suit and silk stockings for the inauguration.[9]

Inaugural addresses[edit]

On March 4, 1801, Chief Justice John Marshall administered the first executive oath of office ever taken in the new capital city of Washington, DC, in the new Senate Chamber (now the Old Supreme Court Chamber) of the partially built Capitol building. Outgoing President John Adams, who lost reelection, left Washington on the day of the inauguration without attending the ceremony. Jefferson eschewed parades and ceremonies, and rode alone to the inauguration. He was not a strong speaker, and the audience could barely catch his words, which called for national unity. The speech was widely reprinted and celebrated by Democratic-Republicans across the country as a clear statement of the party's principles.[10] He began the practice of sending official messages to Congress by courier instead of reading them before Congress.

Jefferson's domestic policies[edit]

Political beliefs[edit]

Jefferson's agenda was to implement his Democratic-Republican vision for the nation. In what historians later call Jeffersonian democracy, the new president set out an agenda that was marked by his belief in agrarianism and strict limits on the national government. The most powerful appointees were James Madison as Secretary of State and Albert Gallatin as Secretary of the Treasury. Jefferson worked smoothly at first with John Randolph of Roanoke and other leaders of his party in Congress, as the Federalist Party continued to weaken. Jefferson never once had to use his veto power.

Handling of Federalist policies[edit]

Jefferson continued the basic Hamiltonian programs of the national bank and tariffs. After the Sedition Act expired on schedule in 1801, and one of the Alien acts was repealed, those who were imprisoned under the Sedition Act were released. The Federalists also allowed Jefferson to select his own cabinet members and other high level appointees.

Eliminate the national debt[edit]

Jefferson wanted to eliminate the national debt because he saw it as a cesspool of patronage and corruption. He warned his Treasury Secretary that debt would commit the nation "to the English career of debt, corruption and rottenness, closing with revolution."[11] Nevertheless the Louisiana Purchase was such a golden opportunity that Jefferson borrowed the gold in England with Treasury bonds to pay for it.

Jefferson believed that the nation did not need to carry a line of debt in order to build foreign credit, a policy that Hamilton vigorously advocated while in the Washington cabinet. Jefferson repealed many Federalist taxes including the tax that prompted the Whiskey Rebellion which was made up of many Democratic-Republican supporters. Jefferson believed that the federal government was able to operate exclusively on customs revenue and need no direct taxation. While initially successful, this policy would later prove disastrous when trade to the United States was interrupted by the Napoleonic Wars between Great Britain and France.

Jefferson also cute the size of the military, which he believed was an unnecessary drain on the resources of the republic. Much of the navy that was created under the Adams administration was mothballed. When Federalists criticized this policy as leaving the nation vulnerable to foreign attack, Jefferson responded that he believed citizen soldiers would arise to defend the country in case of attack, much as they did in 1775. Recognizing that military leadership would be more crucial when taking civilians into battle, Jefferson did create the Army Corps of Engineers and established the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1802 in order to train repoblican officers untained with Federalism.

Patronage and the Federalists[edit]

When Adams took office in 1796, he carried many of Washington's supporters over into his new administration. As a result, there was little change in the federal government when the first national transition of power occurred. With Jefferson's election in 1800, there was a transfer of power between parties, not simply a transition. As president, Jefferson had the power of appointment to fill many government positions that had long been held by Federalists. It was widely anticipated that this use of patronage was the privilege of a new party when it assumed power. Jefferson resisted the call of his fellow Democratic-Republicans to remove all Federalists from their appointed positions. Instead he felt that it was his right to replace the top government officials, such as the cabinet and the politically motivated midnight judges appointed by Adams. Feeling that most Adams Federalists, who were more moderate in outlook than the High Federalists who followed Hamilton, could be turned to the Democratic-Republican Party, Jefferson kept most in their existing positions. Jefferson's refusal to call for a complete replacement of federal appointees under the spoils system was followed by U.S. Presidents until the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828.

While Jefferson preferred to practice political moderation towards the Federalists, the party itself was torn apart by political in-fighting. Keeping with their high-minded roots, the Federalists refused to accept the political campaigning practiced by the Democratic-Republicans and were aghast at populist appeals made by that party. Federalist leaders John Adams and John Jay retired from public life and Alexander Hamilton was killed in a duel with Vice-President Aaron Burr. As the nation began to expand (Vermont, Kentucky and Tennessee became states in the 1790s and Ohio joined in 1803), the ideas of Jeffersonian democracy appealed more to the voters than the Federalist calls for stronger central government and higher taxation. By 1805, the Federalists remained strong only in the New England states and Delaware while moderate Federalists joined the Democratic-Republican Party, most notably John Quincy Adams, son of Federalist President John Adams.

Judiciary[edit]

Jefferson was highly suspicious of the judges appointed by his predecessors; his opinion of good judges was much higher: one of his arguments for a bill of rights would be the power they would give the judiciary.[12] At his urging, Congress repealed the Judiciary Act of 1801, and abolished the numerous district courts created at the end of the Adams presidency. The battle to repeal the Judiciary Act was not an easy one. Federalists argued that once the courts were created and judges were appointed, the Constitution directs that they serve for life unless impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors". The Democratic-Republican leadership, prompted by Jefferson, chose not to argue the political manipulation of the courts but instead chose to attack them based on the cost to the nation. Since many of the courts were created to pack the judiciary with lifetime Federalist judges, in some circumstances, Jefferson's administration thought there no need for a court at all.[citation needed] The Democratic-Republicans argued that the unwarranted nature of the courts, combined with their excessive cost, justified repeal for the Judiciary Act. This argument required a "loose" interpretation of the Constitution, a strategy which Jefferson rallied against when he fought the creation of Hamilton's First Bank of the United States, but the Congress was successful in reversing the law.

Numerous Federalist "midnight judges" were left without positions. Since the creation of these "midnight judge" positions was done to protect the courts from Democratic-Republican appointees, Jefferson felt justified in not awarding the commissions creating the new federal judges. One commission that he was unable to prevent was the appointment of former Secretary of State John Marshall to the position of Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Although Marshall was a cousin of Jefferson, he was a strong Federalist in the tradition of John Adams. Marshall's influence on the Court would help to develop the supremacy of the federal government. One of the first cases Marshall was asked to decide was that of William Marbury, one of the "midnight judges" who was requesting that the Court issue a writ of mandamus to Secretary of State James Madison ordering the delivery of the judicial commissions. The resulting case, Marbury v. Madison, set the landmark precedent of judicial review for the Supreme Court.

The Democratic-Republicans next planned to impeach existing federal judges to remove them from office. The first case was John Pickering, a Federalist judge who exhibited signs of insanity and public drunkenness. At Jefferson's instigation, the House of Representatives impeached Pickering in 1804 and the Senate removed him from the bench later that year. Jefferson next set his sights on the Supreme Court. Reading that Federalist Justice Samuel Chase told a grand jury that the Democratic-Republicans threatened "peace and order, freedom and property," Jefferson urged Congressional leaders to begin impeachment hearings based on sedition. Believing that this accusation was too reminiscent of the Federalist Sedition Act that had been repealed early in Jefferson's presidency, Democratic-Republicans were unwilling to remove a Supreme Court justice on purely political accusations. The Senate acquitted Chase of all charges in 1804. The case of Samuel Chase has been the only impeachment trial of a Supreme Court justice in United States history. By rebelling against Jefferson's wishes, the Democratic-Republican Senators sent a message that the independence of the judiciary was not open to political manipulation.[citation needed]

Jefferson's foreign policies[edit]

The Louisiana Purchase[edit]

In his first Inaugural Address, Jefferson outlined a vision of the United States eventually expanding into the Louisiana Territory west of the Mississippi River.[13] When he became president, the territory was the property of Spain, which had acquired it by the Treaty of Paris (1783). But, when Napoleon Bonaparte annexed Spain into his French Empire in 1801, the territory secretly reverted to French ownership. When France closed the port of New Orleans to U.S. commercial trade in 1802, Jefferson realized that he must take action in order to protect the economy of the western states and territories that relied on the Mississippi and New Orleans. The president sent James Monroe and Robert Livingston to Paris to inquire about purchasing New Orleans from the French. At the same time, Napoleon was fighting a losing war in Haiti, where he lost more than two-thirds of his invasion forces, mostly to disease, such as yellow fever. Desperate for gold, Napoleon made Monroe and Livingston an offer through his representative Talleyrand to purchase the territory for $15 million.

Jefferson was pleased at the offer but felt that he lacked the constitutional power to purchase the land. Following his doctrine for "strict" interpretation of the Constitution, Jefferson prepared to draft an amendment to the Constitution giving Congress the express power to purchase land. Hearing of the delay in the United States and rapidly running out of money, Napoleon ordered Talleyrand to leak information that hinted he would offer the territory to Great Britain if the U.S. did not act quickly. At the urging of Monroe and Livingston, Jefferson relented and sent the annexation treaty to the Senate for approval without the benefit of an amendment. With only a small group of Federalists resisting, the US acquired the territory of Louisiana as the Louisiana Purchase. The size of the United States was doubled, and Jefferson was confronted with governing the diverse population of ethnic French, Spanish, Mexican, most of whom were Catholic, and Native Americans who lived in the territory and had lived under both French and Spanish law. To this end, Jefferson proposed the Louisiana Government Bill, which created an appointed government for the territory and established a system for collection of taxes. Treasury Secretary Gallatin successfully financed the purchase by selling U.S. bonds in London for gold, then shipping the gold to Paris.

Governing the Louisiana Territory was more difficult. There were large slave populations in several slave states, especially present-day Louisiana. Southern slaveholders widely feared that American slaves would follow the example of those in Saint-Domingue, and revolt. Southerners wanted slavery legalized in Louisiana, both so they could ship their slaves to the new territory for agricultural development and to reduce the threat of future slave revolts.[14] Congress passed the law to institute slavery in the acquired territory, which Jefferson signed. This contributed to the crisis of the Union a half century later.[15]

Before the purchase was complete, Jefferson had commissioned the Lewis and Clark expedition to survey the new territory. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were sent out by Jefferson to collect scientific data on the new territory, write an ethnography of the native peoples, establish a trade network between native nations and the United States, and discover the extent of the purchased land. They traveled to the Pacific Coast to establish a national claim there.[16]

Burr conspiracy[edit]

Popular discontent in the west led to the Burr conspiracy, in which former Vice President Aaron Burr hinted at plans to break off the Louisiana Territory into an independent state. Chafing at his rejection from Washington and later his home state of New York, Burr organized a private militia. Jefferson sent in the army[where?] as soon as he heard; it captured a fleeing Burr. Jefferson ordered a trial on the grounds of treason, with the death penalty in mind. Chief Justice John Marshall, acting as a circuit judge in Richmond, defined treason narrowly and threw out the charges. The federal prosecutors argued that Burr did discuss an "overt Act of War"—the Constitution's definition of treason—and that was tantamount to committing the act. Marshall ruled that there had been no overt act because neither discussion nor conspiracy met the Constitutional standard. Burr went free and moved to Europe.[17]

Florida and Haiti[edit]

The Prairie Dog is an anti-Jefferson satire, relating to Jefferson's covert negotiations for the purchase of West Florida from Spain in 1804

Jefferson wanted to follow up the acquisition of the Louisiana territory with the acquisition of Florida. Jefferson thought that Florida could be acquired as readily as Louisiana, but did not realize the different circumstances with Spain. He issued vague threats while offering to purchase the land, but Spain would not consider his offers.[18] Jefferson claimed jurisdiction over west Florida, but Spain ignored that.

After early 1802, when he learned that Napoleon intended to regain a foothold in Saint-Domingue and Louisiana, Jefferson proclaimed neutrality in relation to the slave rebellion there. The US allowed war contraband to "continue to flow to the blacks through usual U.S. merchant channels and the administration would refuse all French requests for assistance, credits, or loans."[19] When Jefferson's concerns related to the balance of power in the Caribbean, the "geopolitical and commercial implications" of Napoleon's plans outweighed his fears of a slave-led nation.[20]

After the rebels in Saint-Domingue proclaimed independence from France in the new republic of Haiti in 1804, Jefferson refused to recognize the nation. In part he hoped to win Napoleon's support over the Florida issue.[21] American slaveholders had been frightened and horrified by the slave massacres of the planter class during the rebellion and after, and a southern-dominated Congress was "hostile to Haiti."[22] They feared its success would encourage slave revolt in the American South. The historian Tim Matthewson notes that Jefferson "acquiesced in southern policy, the embargo of trade and nonrecognition, the defense of slavery internally and the denigration of Haiti abroad."[23] The historian George Herring suggests that, for reasons of race and diplomatic expediency, Jefferson ceded to the British the wealth of the sugar island trade and moral leadership in the western hemisphere.[24] Haiti, the first republic outside of the United States in the western hemisphere, was deprived of United States recognition until 1862. According to the historian George Herring, "the Florida diplomacy reveals him [Jefferson] at his worst. His lust for land trumped his concern for principle."[25]

In this case, unlike that of the Louisiana Territory, the dynamics of European politics worked against Jefferson. Napoleon had played Washington against Madrid to see what he could get, but by 1805 Spain was his ally. Spain had no desire to cede Florida, part of its leverage against an expanding America. Revelations of the bribe which Jefferson offered to France over the matter provoked outrage and weakened Jefferson's hand, and he subsequently gave up on Florida.[26]

The Barbary War[edit]

Painting of Jefferson wearing fur collar by Rembrandt Peale, 1805
Painting of Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale (1805)

Under George Washington, the United States had agreed to pay tribute to the Barbary States of North Africa in order to protect American shipping in the Mediterranean Sea. Jefferson, fearing that the increased cost of tribute may financially devastate the federal treasury, decided to send in both naval and United States Marine Corps forces into Tripoli. The First Barbary War saw a victory for the U.S. Marines who "marched to the shores of Tripoli". Thomas Jefferson had previously disbanded John Adams' Navy, so when time came he used small gunboats. These were called the "jeffs" or mosquito fleet. Jefferson handled the Barbary Wars based upon the precedent of undeclared war set by John Adams when he fought the French in the Atlantic. The First Barbary Wars lasted from 1801 to 1805. The last conclusive battle took place at Derne in 1805 and considered the United States's first military victory on foreign soil after the American Revolution.

Native American relations[edit]

When Jefferson assumed power, the Shawnee leader Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa were leading raids against American settlements in the Ohio Valley, with munitions provided by British traders in Canada. Attempting to form a confederation of Indian people in the Northwest Territory, the two brothers would be a continual source of irritation to westward settlers. The Indian Nations followed Tenskwatawa (the Shawnee Prophet and the brother of Tecumseh, who had a vision of purifying his society by expelling the "children of the Evil Spirit" (the American settlers).[27] The success of the Indians gave Britain hope that it could create an Indian satellite nation in parts of the American territory.[28] The raids became a major cause of the later War of 1812.[29]

Jefferson, while he studied and admired the native people, could not tolerate their attacks on settlers. He felt that they should be assimilated into a more "civilized" culture or be removed to the west. Under Jefferson the first Indian relocation began from the southern states. Only the Five Civilized Tribes were allowed—for the moment—to retain their ancestral territory and this was because they adapted to white culture.

Banning the slave trade[edit]

During his presidential term, Jefferson was disappointed that the younger generation was making no move to abolish slavery; he largely avoided the issue until 1806. He did succeed in convincing Congress to block the foreign importation of slaves into the newly purchased Louisiana Territory.[30] The President immediately instructed the Navy to concentrate its efforts on stopping the smuggling of slaves into Louisiana.[31]

Seeing that in 1808 the twenty-year constitutional ban on ending the international slave trade would expire, in December 1806 in his presidential message to Congress, he called for a law to ban it. He denounced the trade as "violations of human rights which have been so long continued on the unoffending inhabitants of Africa, in which the morality, the reputation, and the best interests of our country have long been eager to proscribe." Jefferson signed the new law and the international trade became illegal in January 1808. The legal trade had averaged 14,000 slaves a year; illegal smuggling at the rate of about 1000 slaves a year continued for decades.[32] "The two major achievements of Jefferson's presidency were the Louisiana Purchase and the abolition of the slave trade," according to historian John Chester Miller.[33]

Relations with Europe[edit]

In Jefferson's second term, the Napoleonic Wars broke out in Europe as Great Britain and France battled for international supremacy. Initially following Washington's Neutrality Act, Jefferson did not commit the United States to either side and continued to trade with both nations. Needing sailors, the British Royal Navy seized hundreds of American ships and impressed 6,000 sailors from them, angering Americans. The British Parliament also passed the Orders in Council which barred any trade with the European continent. Napoleon responded with the Berlin Decree in 1806 and the Milan Decree in 1807, both of which effectively cut Europe from British trade and threaten seizure of neutral ships. Jefferson became increasingly agitated with both nations as American neutrality was ignored. Tensions flared when the Chesapeake-Leopard Incident took place off the coast of Virginia. A British warship, The Leopard ordered the American ship The Chesapeake to submit to a search. The American captain refused and shots were exchanged leaving three men dead and eighteen wounded. Public outrage demanded that Jefferson take action.

In response, Jefferson and Congress passed the Embargo Act in 1807. The act was designed to force Britain and France into respecting US neutrality by cutting off all American shipping to either nation. Almost immediately the Americans began to turn to smuggling in order to ship goods to Europe. Jefferson was forced to call out the military and expand the power of the federal government by patrolling the American coast, cutting off trade routes to Canada, seizing the ships of suspected smugglers, and ordering that no ship could be loaded without the approval of a customs officer and the military. The effects of the Embargo Act backfired on the Democratic-Republicans. New England, which depended on trade for economic survival, turned again to the Federalist Party. Jefferson lost many supporters who resented the intrusion into their personal lives by the national government. Even Britain and France scoffed at the Act as neither economy was severely damaged due to smuggling. By the time Jefferson surrendered the presidency to James Madison in 1808, his reputation was severely damaged by his support of the Embargo Act.

Speeches[edit]

State of the Union Address[edit]

Jefferson, a poor public speaker, ended the tradition of delivering a State of the Union speech and instead just sent a copy, which Congress then published. Woodrow Wilson restored the personal appearance of the president before Congress.

Administration and Cabinet[edit]

The Jefferson Cabinet
Office Name Term
President Thomas Jefferson 1801–1809
Vice President Aaron Burr 1801–1805
George Clinton 1805–1809
Secretary of State James Madison 1801–1809
Secretary of Treasury Samuel Dexter 1801
Albert Gallatin 1801–1809
Secretary of War Henry Dearborn 1801–1809
Attorney General Levi Lincoln, Sr. 1801–1804
John Breckinridge 1805–1806
Caesar A. Rodney 1807–1809
Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert 1801
Robert Smith 1801–1809

Judicial appointments[edit]

Jefferson appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:

States admitted to the Union[edit]

  • Ohio – March 1, 1803

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sean Wilentz, "Book Reviews," Journal of American History Sept. 2010 v. 97# 2 p 476.
  2. ^ Kenneth C. Davis, "An American History Lesson For Pat Buchanan", Huffington Post, July 18, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Thomas Jefferson, the 'Negro President', Garry Wills on The Tavis Smiley Show, February 16, 2004.
  4. ^ " Review of Garry Wills, Negro President: Jefferson and the Slave Power", WNYC, 16 February 2004
  5. ^ Norman K. Risjord, The Old Republicans: Southern Conservatism in the Age of Jefferson (1965)
  6. ^ a b c d "Inauguration of President Thomas Jefferson, 1801". Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  7. ^ a b c Hayes, Kevin J. (2008). "The First Inaugural Address". The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 978-0-19-530758-0. 
  8. ^ "Conrad and McMunn Hotel Plaque". The Architect of the Capitol (AOC). 
  9. ^ "Inauguration of President Thomas Jefferson, 1805". Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  10. ^ Peterson, Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation, p 655-59
  11. ^ Letter to Albert Gallatin, 1809 in John P. Foley , ed. The Jeffersonian cyclopedia (1900) p. 236
  12. ^ Letter to Madison, March 15 1789: "In the arguments in favor of a declaration of rights, you omit one which has great weight with me, the legal check which it puts into the hands of the judiciary. This is a body, which if rendered independent & kept strictly to their own department merits great confidence for their learning & integrity. In fact what degree of confidence would be too much for a body composed of such men as Wythe, Blair & Pendleton?."
  13. ^ Junius Rodriguez, ed. The Louisiana Purchase: An Encyclopedia (2002)
  14. ^ Herring, George. From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1776, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, p104
  15. ^ Herring (2008), p. 104
  16. ^ Stephen Ambrose, Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West (1997)
  17. ^ Peter Charles Hoffer, The Treason Trials of Aaron Burr (2008)[page needed]
  18. ^ Herring (2008), p. 106
  19. ^ Matthewson, Tim. "Jefferson and Haiti", The Journal of Southern History 61, no. 2 (May, 1995), p. 221
  20. ^ Matthewson (1995), pp. 226-227
  21. ^ Herring (2008), p. 107
  22. ^ Matthewson (1996), p. 22
  23. ^ Matthewson, Tim. "Jefferson and the Non-recognition of Haiti", American Philosophical Society 140, no. 1 (March, 1996), p. 22
  24. ^ Herring (2008), p108
  25. ^ Herring (2008), p. 108
  26. ^ Herring (2008), p. 109
  27. ^ John Sugden, Tecumseh: A Life (1999) p 144
  28. ^ Dwight L Smith, "A North American Neutral Indian Zone: Persistence of a British Idea", Northwest Ohio Quarterly (1989) 61 (2-4): 46–63
  29. ^ Timothy D. Willig, Restoring the Chain of Friendship: British Policy and the Indians of the Great Lakes, 1783-1815 (2008)
  30. ^ Peterson, Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation p 781, 783
  31. ^ Gene A. Smith, "U.S. Navy Gunboats and the Slave Trade in Louisiana Waters, 1808-1811," Military History of the West, 1993, Vol. 23 Issue 2, pp 135-147
  32. ^ Dumas Malone, Jefferson and the President: Second Term, 1805-1809 (1974) pp. 543-4
  33. ^ Miller, John Chester, The wolf by the ears: Thomas Jefferson and slavery (1980) p 142

Bibliography[edit]

  • Adams, Henry. History of the United States of America during the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson. Library of America edition, (1986). Classic in-depth history.
  • Channing, Edward. The Jeffersonian System, 1801-1811 (1906) full text online, older scholarly survey
  • Cunningham, Noble E., Jr. The Jeffersonian Republicans in Power: Party Operations 1801–1809 (1963), highly detailed party history
  • Cunningham, Noble E., Jr. The Process of Government Under Jefferson (1978)
  • McDonald, Forrest. The Presidency of Thomas Jefferson (1987), intellectual history approach to Jefferson's presidency
  • Malone, Dumas. Jefferson the President: First Term 1801 - 1805; v. 5: Jefferson the President: Second term, 1805-1809; v.6: The Sage of Monticello (1948–70), the standard scholarly biography; short bio by Malone; a standard scholarly biography
  • Peterson, Merrill D. Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation: A Biography (1986), long, detailed biography by leading scholar; online edition; also excerpt and text search; a standard scholarly biography
  • Peterson, Merrill D. ed. Thomas Jefferson: A Reference Biography. (1986), long essays by scholars
  • Rodriguez, Junius, ed. The Louisiana Purchase: An Encyclopedia (2002)
  • Smelser, Marshall. The Democratic Republic: 1801-1815 (1968), standard scholarly history of presidencies of Jefferson and Madison
  • Tucker, Robert W. and David C. Hendrickson. Empire of Liberty: The Statecraft of Thomas Jefferson (1992), best guide to foreign policy excerpt and text search, diplomatic history
  • Wilentz, Sean. The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln. (2005), broad-scale interpretation of political history

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