Thomas Jefferson

Essay by dogteen250 March 2003

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Jefferson had destroyed political traditions. From his contradictions and defecting his principles, Jefferson destroyed the political precedent who can be seen throughout his administration. Jefferson was an admired statesman who was grappling unsuccessfully with the moral issue of slavery. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, opposed slavery his whole life, yet he never freed his own slaves. He championed Enlightenment principles, yet never freed himself of the prejudices of his society. Jefferson was extremely hypocritical in the issue of slavery. Jefferson was a plantation owner early in his life, and had slaves working for him throughout his life. Jefferson had tolerated while he didn't accept others who owned slaves. Jefferson denounced the slave owners, while he was owning and using slaves. Although Jefferson was supposedly a good slave owner, his hypocritical nature made him accuse others not to own slaves while he, himself was owning slaves.

Another part of the hypocrisy was that Jefferson believed that the slaves were dependent upon the white man, while he was dependent upon the slaves. Jefferson also was hypocritical in his acquisition of the Louisiana territory. In Jeffersonian principles, large expansive governments were bad, and small was good. This was an antithesis of that principle. Jefferson knew that the acquisition of the Louisiana territory was beneficial to the welfare of the U.S. According to the constitution, nowhere in the constitution is the acquisition of land a right of the government, Jefferson's' predisposition was to strictly go by the constitution (as seen with the national bank controversy); this is another contradiction during his administration. Since the appropriation of the Louisiana territory was important for the expansion of the United States, he temporarily dismissed his principles, therefore destroying political traditions. Another hypocritical event during Jefferson's' administration was his acceptance of the...