Jackson and Jefferson: Philosophy and Presidency
The presidencies of Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson were based on similar political philosophies. Both men believed in the common man having a voice in government, and opposed too much power being given to the federal government. Both were educated men, with an extensive knowledge of the law, who believed that an agricultural based economy was the key to Americas economical growth. However, since they were both planters who owned slaves, and Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, it was obvious that their philosophy of defending the common man did not pertain to minorities. Jefferson was raised on a wealthy tobacco plantation, and Jackson, although born poor, was raised by a wealthy uncle after being orphaned at the age of fourteen. Even though they grew up in a wealthy lifestyle, they both opposed the corruption of a government that did not have the individual states needs at heart. Although there was controversy on their somewhat racist beliefs, their accomplishments during their presidencies set a precedent for a fair and democratic government that restrained the power of the wealthy and elite. (Boyer, et. al., 2008)
Jeffersons philosophy was based upon freedom of a nation, the voice of the common man being heard and acted upon, the Constitution being upheld, and freedom maintained through education. Being that Jefferson was one of the primary authors of The Declaration of Independence, he had a strong desire to expand territories within the United States to solidify independence from Britain with a democratic-based governmental system. His purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France enabled Americans to have control of the Mississippi River for the use of domestic and foreign trade. Although he believed in a strict interpretation of the Constitution, of which the power of the president to authorize land purchase was not included, he justified his actions of the Louisiana Purchase by stating that it was a necessary opportunity for expansion of America, and would benefit the country and the citizens that resided in this nation.
Jefferson conceded that foreign affairs and national defense were best controlled by the power of a large central government, but stood by his convictions that domestic affairs should be handled at a state level, common people should have power over their state governmental policies. (Boyer, et., al., 2008)
The controversy of how he can side with the common mans rights, and yet be a slave-owner is justified by his belief that African people did not know how to survive without the white man, their differences of culture and lack of independence would make living in Americas white society difficult, and because he treated his slaves in a humane manner, he felt he was giving them an acceptable existence in our country. (planetpapers.com)
Jefferson felt that education was an important factor in attaining freedom. An educated man was less likely...