Jefferson And Madison's Presidency Ap U.S. History Essay

1426 words - 6 pages

In the early years of the U.S. republic, Jefferson and Madison were the opposition to the Federalist presidents. The federalist presidents were George Washington and John Adams. They believed that America required a strong national government and should become a nation-state with centralized authority. In other words they wanted a strong central government. The anti-federalists like Thomas Jefferson, believed American society should have a central government of modest size and powers that would leave most power in the hands of the states. The anti-federalists opposed many of the federalist’s ideas. One of their ideas was to have a National Bank because they believed that it would help fill the void that the absence of a well developed banking system had created. Jefferson and Madison on the other hand thought that a national bank would violate state’s rights and cause a federal monopoly. Alexander Hamilton, a federalist, also recommended that the federal government take over the debt the states had accumulated during the Revolution but Madison and Jefferson wanted the states to pay off their own war debt because they believed it wouldn’t be fair for the other states to pay the debt when they did not have much of it. So Madison and Jefferson had a philosophy very different than the federalists. During their own presidency, Jefferson and Madison consistently tried to practice their political philosophy but on the other hand, the impressment of American sailors by the British and the War of 1812 changed some of their views on their own philosophy, making them take actions they normally would not take.
Thomas Jefferson had some inconsistencies during his presidency. He took some actions that some of his supporters would question because they believed he wouldn’t ever take them. For example, the impressment of American sailors by British ships because the British were in need of soldiers and would take any seamen they would find and force them into their navy, caused Thomas Jefferson to enforce the Embargo Act in 1807. Britain, France, and America were having trouble because of the War of 1812 and Jefferson wanted the nation to be neutral but this impressment caused problems that Jefferson believed needed resolving. As a result of this act, America stopped importing and exporting goods to Britain and France so their sailors would not be taken and war would not start between the three countries. This action was inconsistent for Jefferson because Jefferson believed America should have a stable economy but because of this act, Northern people suffered much loss because their main income came from trading and sailing goods and when all of that stopped, these people’s jobs were gone and the economy was in trouble. Then Jefferson’s popularity plunged and people believed that his decisions damaged the economy and left America unprotected. Another example was when Thomas Jefferson’s presidency started to look more like the federalists. Congress...

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