Jeffersonian democracy

Jeffersonian democracy

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Jeffersonian Democracy, so named after its leading advocate Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, is a term used to describe one of two dominant political outlooks and movements in the United States from the 1790s to the 1820s. The term was commonly used to refer to the Democratic-Republican Party which Jefferson founded in opposition to the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

. The Jeffersonians believed in democracy and equality of political opportunity (for male citizens), with a priority for the "yeoman farmer" and the "plain folk"
Plain Folk of the Old South
The Plain Folk of the Old South refers to the middling class of white farmers in the Southern United States before the Civil War, located between the rich planters and the poor whites. At the time they were often called "yeomen". They owned land and had no slaves or only a few. Most of them were...

. They were antagonistic to the supposed aristocratic elitism of merchants and manufacturers, distrusted factory workers, and were on the watch for supporters of the dreaded British system of government. Above all, the Jeffersonians were devoted to the principles of Republicanism
Republicanism in the United States
Republicanism is the political value system that has been a major part of American civic thought since the American Revolution. It stresses liberty and inalienable rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, supports activist government to promote the common good, rejects...

, especially civic duty and opposition to privilege, aristocracy and corruption.

Positions


Jefferson has been called "the most democratic of the [Founding] fathers." The Jeffersonians advocated a narrow interpretation of the Constitution's Article I
Article One of the United States Constitution
Article One of the United States Constitution describes the powers of Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government. The Article establishes the powers of and limitations on the Congress, consisting of a House of Representatives composed of Representatives, with each state gaining or...

 provisions granting powers to the federal government. They strenuously opposed the Federalist Party, led by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

. President George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 generally supported Hamilton's program for a financially strong national government. The election of Jefferson in 1800, named by him as 'The revolution of 1800,' brought in the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson
Presidency of Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jeffersons 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...

 and the permanent eclipse of the Federalists, apart from the Supreme Court.

Politics


The spirit of Jeffersonian democracy dominated American politics from 1800 to 1824, the First Party System
First Party System
The First Party System is a model of American politics used by political scientists and historians to periodize the political party system existing in the United States between roughly 1792 and 1824. It featured two national parties competing for control of the presidency, Congress, and the states:...

, under Jefferson and succeeding presidents James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 and James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

. Prominent spokesmen for Jeffersonian principles included Madison, Albert Gallatin
Albert Gallatin
Abraham Alfonse Albert Gallatin was a Swiss-American ethnologist, linguist, politician, diplomat, congressman, and the longest-serving United States Secretary of the Treasury. In 1831, he founded the University of the City of New York...

, John Randolph of Roanoke
John Randolph of Roanoke
John Randolph , known as John Randolph of Roanoke, was a planter and a Congressman from Virginia, serving in the House of Representatives , the Senate , and also as Minister to Russia...

, Nathaniel Macon
Nathaniel Macon
Nathaniel Macon was a spokesman for the Old Republican faction of the Democratic-Republican Party that wanted to strictly limit the United States federal government. Macon was born near Warrenton, North Carolina, and attended the College of New Jersey and served briefly in the American...

, John Taylor of Caroline
John Taylor of Caroline
John Taylor usually called John Taylor of Caroline was a politician and writer. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates and in the United States Senate . He wrote several books on politics and agriculture...

, James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

, John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

, John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States . He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former...

 and Henry Clay
Henry Clay
Henry Clay, Sr. , was a lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented Kentucky separately in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives...

 (with the last three taking new paths after 1828). After 1830 the principles were still talked about but did not form the basis of a political party. Thus editor Horace Greeley
Horace Greeley
Horace Greeley was an American newspaper editor, a founder of the Liberal Republican Party, a reformer, a politician, and an outspoken opponent of slavery...

 in 1838 started a magazine, The Jeffersonian, that he said "would exhibit a practical regard for that cardinal principle of Jeffersonian Democracy, and the People are the sole and safe depository of all power, principles and opinions which are to direct the Government."

Core ideals


Jeffersonian Democracy is characterized by the following core ideals, which Jefferson and his followers expressed in their writings, speeches and legislation. "Jeffersonian Democracy" is an umbrella term, and some factions favored some position more than others. In terms of actual policy-making, sometimes different principles conflicted. Furthermore the Jeffersonians changed over time as new issues emerged, such as how to fight a major War of 1812 with a weak central government and militia that refused to leave their state:
  • The core political value of America is republicanism
    Republicanism in the United States
    Republicanism is the political value system that has been a major part of American civic thought since the American Revolution. It stresses liberty and inalienable rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, supports activist government to promote the common good, rejects...

    ; citizens have a civic duty to aid the state and resist corruption, especially monarchism and aristocracy.
  • Jeffersonian values are best expressed through an organized political party. The Jeffersonian party was officially the "Republican Party" (although historians later called it the Democratic-Republican Party.
  • It was the duty of citizens to vote, and the Jeffersonians invented many modern campaign techniques designed to get out the vote. Turnout indeed soared across the country. The work of John J. Beckley
    John J. Beckley
    John James Beckley was an American political campaign manager and the first Librarian of the United States Congress, from 1802 to 1807...

    , Jefferson's agent in Pennsylvania, set new standards in the 1790s. In the 1796 presidential election he blanketed the state with agents who passed out 30,000 hand-written tickets, naming all 15 electors (printed tickets were not allowed). Historians consider Beckley to be one of the first American professional campaign managers, and his techniques were quickly adopted in other states.
  • The Federalist Party, especially its leader Alexander Hamilton
    Alexander Hamilton
    Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

    , was the arch-foe, because of its acceptance of aristocracy and British methods
  • The yeoman
    Yeoman
    Yeoman refers chiefly to a free man owning his own farm, especially from the Elizabethan era to the 17th century. Work requiring a great deal of effort or labor, such as would be done by a yeoman farmer, came to be described as "yeoman's work"...

     farmer best exemplifies civic virtue
    Civic virtue
    Civic virtue is the cultivation of habits of personal living that are claimed to be important for the success of the community. The identification of the character traits that constitute civic virtue have been a major concern of political philosophy...

     and independence from corrupting city influences; government policy should be for his benefit. Financiers, bankers and industrialists make cities the 'cesspools of corruption', and should be avoided.
  • The national government is a dangerous necessity to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation or community; it should be watched closely and circumscribed in its powers. Most Anti-Federalists
    Anti-Federalism
    Anti-Federalism refers to a movement that opposed the creation of a stronger U.S. federal government and which later opposed the ratification of the Constitution of 1787. The previous constitution, called the Articles of Confederation, gave state governments more authority...

     from 1787–88 joined the Jeffersonians.
  • Separation of church and state
    Separation of church and state
    The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

     is the best method to keep government free of religious disputes, and religion free from corruption by government.
  • The federal government must not violate the rights of individuals. The Bill of Rights
    United States Bill of Rights
    The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and...

     is a central theme.
  • The federal government must not violate the rights of the states
    States' rights
    States' rights in U.S. politics refers to political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government. It is often considered a loaded term because of its use in opposition to federally mandated racial desegregation...

    . The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
    Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
    The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were political statements drafted in 1798 and 1799, in which the Kentucky and Virginia legislatures took the position that the federal Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional...

     of 1798 (written secretly by Jefferson and James Madison
    James Madison
    James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

    ) proclaim these principles.
  • Freedom of speech
    Freedom of speech
    Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

     and the press
    Freedom of the press
    Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

     are the best methods to prevent tyranny over the people by their own government. The Federalists' violation of this freedom through the Alien and Sedition Acts
    Alien and Sedition Acts
    The Alien and Sedition Acts were four bills passed in 1798 by the Federalists in the 5th United States Congress in the aftermath of the French Revolution's reign of terror and during an undeclared naval war with France, later known as the Quasi-War. They were signed into law by President John Adams...

     of 1798 became a major issue.
  • The United States Constitution
    United States Constitution
    The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

     was written in order to ensure the freedom of the people. However, "no society can make a perpetual constitution or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation."
  • All men had the right to be informed, and thus, to have a say in the government. The protection and expansion of human liberty was one of the chief goals of the Jeffersonians. They also reformed their respective state systems of education. They believed that their citizens had a right to an education no matter their circumstance or status in life.
  • The judiciary should be subservient to the elected branches and the Supreme Court should not have the power to strike down laws passed by Congress. The Jeffersonians lost this battle to Chief Justice John Marshall
    John Marshall
    John Marshall was the Chief Justice of the United States whose court opinions helped lay the basis for American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court of the United States a coequal branch of government along with the legislative and executive branches...

    , a Federalist, who dominated the Court from 1801 to his death in 1835.
  • The Jeffersonians also had a distinct foreign policy:
    • Americans had a duty to spread what Jefferson called the "Empire of Liberty
      Empire of Liberty
      The Empire of Liberty is a theme developed first by Thomas Jefferson to identify America's world responsibility to spread freedom across the globe. Jefferson saw America's mission in terms of setting an example, expansion into the west, and by intervention abroad...

      " to the world, but should avoid "entangling alliances
      United States non-interventionism
      Non-interventionism, the diplomatic policy whereby a nation seeks to avoid alliances with other nations in order to avoid being drawn into wars not related to direct territorial self-defense, has had a long history in the United States...

      ."
    • Britain was the greatest threat, especially its monarchy, aristocracy, corruption, and business methods; the Jay Treaty
      Jay Treaty
      Jay's Treaty, , also known as Jay's Treaty, The British Treaty, and the Treaty of London of 1794, was a treaty between the United States and Great Britain that is credited with averting war,, resolving issues remaining since the Treaty of Paris of 1783, which ended the American Revolution,, and...

       of 1794 was much too favorable to Britain and thus threatened American values.
    • France, at least in the early stages of the French Revolution
      French Revolution
      The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

      , was the ideal European nation.

Jeffersonian Democracy, so named after its leading advocate Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, is a term used to describe one of two dominant political outlooks and movements in the United States from the 1790s to the 1820s. The term was commonly used to refer to the Democratic-Republican Party which Jefferson founded in opposition to the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

. The Jeffersonians believed in democracy and equality of political opportunity (for male citizens), with a priority for the "yeoman farmer" and the "plain folk"
Plain Folk of the Old South
The Plain Folk of the Old South refers to the middling class of white farmers in the Southern United States before the Civil War, located between the rich planters and the poor whites. At the time they were often called "yeomen". They owned land and had no slaves or only a few. Most of them were...

. They were antagonistic to the supposed aristocratic elitism of merchants and manufacturers, distrusted factory workers, and were on the watch for supporters of the dreaded British system of government. Above all, the Jeffersonians were devoted to the principles of Republicanism
Republicanism in the United States
Republicanism is the political value system that has been a major part of American civic thought since the American Revolution. It stresses liberty and inalienable rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, supports activist government to promote the common good, rejects...

, especially civic duty and opposition to privilege, aristocracy and corruption.

Positions


Jefferson has been called "the most democratic of the [Founding] fathers." The Jeffersonians advocated a narrow interpretation of the Constitution's Article I
Article One of the United States Constitution
Article One of the United States Constitution describes the powers of Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government. The Article establishes the powers of and limitations on the Congress, consisting of a House of Representatives composed of Representatives, with each state gaining or...

 provisions granting powers to the federal government. They strenuously opposed the Federalist Party, led by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

. President George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 generally supported Hamilton's program for a financially strong national government. The election of Jefferson in 1800, named by him as 'The revolution of 1800,' brought in the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson
Presidency of Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jeffersons 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...

 and the permanent eclipse of the Federalists, apart from the Supreme Court.

Politics


The spirit of Jeffersonian democracy dominated American politics from 1800 to 1824, the First Party System
First Party System
The First Party System is a model of American politics used by political scientists and historians to periodize the political party system existing in the United States between roughly 1792 and 1824. It featured two national parties competing for control of the presidency, Congress, and the states:...

, under Jefferson and succeeding presidents James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 and James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

. Prominent spokesmen for Jeffersonian principles included Madison, Albert Gallatin
Albert Gallatin
Abraham Alfonse Albert Gallatin was a Swiss-American ethnologist, linguist, politician, diplomat, congressman, and the longest-serving United States Secretary of the Treasury. In 1831, he founded the University of the City of New York...

, John Randolph of Roanoke
John Randolph of Roanoke
John Randolph , known as John Randolph of Roanoke, was a planter and a Congressman from Virginia, serving in the House of Representatives , the Senate , and also as Minister to Russia...

, Nathaniel Macon
Nathaniel Macon
Nathaniel Macon was a spokesman for the Old Republican faction of the Democratic-Republican Party that wanted to strictly limit the United States federal government. Macon was born near Warrenton, North Carolina, and attended the College of New Jersey and served briefly in the American...

, John Taylor of Caroline
John Taylor of Caroline
John Taylor usually called John Taylor of Caroline was a politician and writer. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates and in the United States Senate . He wrote several books on politics and agriculture...

, James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

, John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

, John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States . He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former...

 and Henry Clay
Henry Clay
Henry Clay, Sr. , was a lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented Kentucky separately in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives...

 (with the last three taking new paths after 1828). After 1830 the principles were still talked about but did not form the basis of a political party. Thus editor Horace Greeley
Horace Greeley
Horace Greeley was an American newspaper editor, a founder of the Liberal Republican Party, a reformer, a politician, and an outspoken opponent of slavery...

 in 1838 started a magazine, The Jeffersonian, that he said "would exhibit a practical regard for that cardinal principle of Jeffersonian Democracy, and the People are the sole and safe depository of all power, principles and opinions which are to direct the Government."

Core ideals


Jeffersonian Democracy is characterized by the following core ideals, which Jefferson and his followers expressed in their writings, speeches and legislation. "Jeffersonian Democracy" is an umbrella term, and some factions favored some position more than others. In terms of actual policy-making, sometimes different principles conflicted. Furthermore the Jeffersonians changed over time as new issues emerged, such as how to fight a major War of 1812 with a weak central government and militia that refused to leave their state:
  • The core political value of America is republicanism
    Republicanism in the United States
    Republicanism is the political value system that has been a major part of American civic thought since the American Revolution. It stresses liberty and inalienable rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, supports activist government to promote the common good, rejects...

    ; citizens have a civic duty to aid the state and resist corruption, especially monarchism and aristocracy.
  • Jeffersonian values are best expressed through an organized political party. The Jeffersonian party was officially the "Republican Party" (although historians later called it the Democratic-Republican Party.
  • It was the duty of citizens to vote, and the Jeffersonians invented many modern campaign techniques designed to get out the vote. Turnout indeed soared across the country. The work of John J. Beckley
    John J. Beckley
    John James Beckley was an American political campaign manager and the first Librarian of the United States Congress, from 1802 to 1807...

    , Jefferson's agent in Pennsylvania, set new standards in the 1790s. In the 1796 presidential election he blanketed the state with agents who passed out 30,000 hand-written tickets, naming all 15 electors (printed tickets were not allowed). Historians consider Beckley to be one of the first American professional campaign managers, and his techniques were quickly adopted in other states.
  • The Federalist Party, especially its leader Alexander Hamilton
    Alexander Hamilton
    Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

    , was the arch-foe, because of its acceptance of aristocracy and British methods
  • The yeoman
    Yeoman
    Yeoman refers chiefly to a free man owning his own farm, especially from the Elizabethan era to the 17th century. Work requiring a great deal of effort or labor, such as would be done by a yeoman farmer, came to be described as "yeoman's work"...

     farmer best exemplifies civic virtue
    Civic virtue
    Civic virtue is the cultivation of habits of personal living that are claimed to be important for the success of the community. The identification of the character traits that constitute civic virtue have been a major concern of political philosophy...

     and independence from corrupting city influences; government policy should be for his benefit. Financiers, bankers and industrialists make cities the 'cesspools of corruption', and should be avoided.
  • The national government is a dangerous necessity to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation or community; it should be watched closely and circumscribed in its powers. Most Anti-Federalists
    Anti-Federalism
    Anti-Federalism refers to a movement that opposed the creation of a stronger U.S. federal government and which later opposed the ratification of the Constitution of 1787. The previous constitution, called the Articles of Confederation, gave state governments more authority...

     from 1787–88 joined the Jeffersonians.
  • Separation of church and state
    Separation of church and state
    The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

     is the best method to keep government free of religious disputes, and religion free from corruption by government.
  • The federal government must not violate the rights of individuals. The Bill of Rights
    United States Bill of Rights
    The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and...

     is a central theme.
  • The federal government must not violate the rights of the states
    States' rights
    States' rights in U.S. politics refers to political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government. It is often considered a loaded term because of its use in opposition to federally mandated racial desegregation...

    . The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
    Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
    The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were political statements drafted in 1798 and 1799, in which the Kentucky and Virginia legislatures took the position that the federal Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional...

     of 1798 (written secretly by Jefferson and James Madison
    James Madison
    James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

    ) proclaim these principles.
  • Freedom of speech
    Freedom of speech
    Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

     and the press
    Freedom of the press
    Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

     are the best methods to prevent tyranny over the people by their own government. The Federalists' violation of this freedom through the Alien and Sedition Acts
    Alien and Sedition Acts
    The Alien and Sedition Acts were four bills passed in 1798 by the Federalists in the 5th United States Congress in the aftermath of the French Revolution's reign of terror and during an undeclared naval war with France, later known as the Quasi-War. They were signed into law by President John Adams...

     of 1798 became a major issue.
  • The United States Constitution
    United States Constitution
    The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

     was written in order to ensure the freedom of the people. However, "no society can make a perpetual constitution or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation."
  • All men had the right to be informed, and thus, to have a say in the government. The protection and expansion of human liberty was one of the chief goals of the Jeffersonians. They also reformed their respective state systems of education. They believed that their citizens had a right to an education no matter their circumstance or status in life.
  • The judiciary should be subservient to the elected branches and the Supreme Court should not have the power to strike down laws passed by Congress. The Jeffersonians lost this battle to Chief Justice John Marshall
    John Marshall
    John Marshall was the Chief Justice of the United States whose court opinions helped lay the basis for American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court of the United States a coequal branch of government along with the legislative and executive branches...

    , a Federalist, who dominated the Court from 1801 to his death in 1835.
  • The Jeffersonians also had a distinct foreign policy:
    • Americans had a duty to spread what Jefferson called the "Empire of Liberty
      Empire of Liberty
      The Empire of Liberty is a theme developed first by Thomas Jefferson to identify America's world responsibility to spread freedom across the globe. Jefferson saw America's mission in terms of setting an example, expansion into the west, and by intervention abroad...

      " to the world, but should avoid "entangling alliances
      United States non-interventionism
      Non-interventionism, the diplomatic policy whereby a nation seeks to avoid alliances with other nations in order to avoid being drawn into wars not related to direct territorial self-defense, has had a long history in the United States...

      ."
    • Britain was the greatest threat, especially its monarchy, aristocracy, corruption, and business methods; the Jay Treaty
      Jay Treaty
      Jay's Treaty, , also known as Jay's Treaty, The British Treaty, and the Treaty of London of 1794, was a treaty between the United States and Great Britain that is credited with averting war,, resolving issues remaining since the Treaty of Paris of 1783, which ended the American Revolution,, and...

       of 1794 was much too favorable to Britain and thus threatened American values.
    • France, at least in the early stages of the French Revolution
      French Revolution
      The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

      , was the ideal European nation.

Jeffersonian Democracy, so named after its leading advocate Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, is a term used to describe one of two dominant political outlooks and movements in the United States from the 1790s to the 1820s. The term was commonly used to refer to the Democratic-Republican Party which Jefferson founded in opposition to the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

. The Jeffersonians believed in democracy and equality of political opportunity (for male citizens), with a priority for the "yeoman farmer" and the "plain folk"
Plain Folk of the Old South
The Plain Folk of the Old South refers to the middling class of white farmers in the Southern United States before the Civil War, located between the rich planters and the poor whites. At the time they were often called "yeomen". They owned land and had no slaves or only a few. Most of them were...

. They were antagonistic to the supposed aristocratic elitism of merchants and manufacturers, distrusted factory workers, and were on the watch for supporters of the dreaded British system of government. Above all, the Jeffersonians were devoted to the principles of Republicanism
Republicanism in the United States
Republicanism is the political value system that has been a major part of American civic thought since the American Revolution. It stresses liberty and inalienable rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, supports activist government to promote the common good, rejects...

, especially civic duty and opposition to privilege, aristocracy and corruption.

Positions


Jefferson has been called "the most democratic of the [Founding] fathers." The Jeffersonians advocated a narrow interpretation of the Constitution's Article I
Article One of the United States Constitution
Article One of the United States Constitution describes the powers of Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government. The Article establishes the powers of and limitations on the Congress, consisting of a House of Representatives composed of Representatives, with each state gaining or...

 provisions granting powers to the federal government. They strenuously opposed the Federalist Party, led by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

. President George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 generally supported Hamilton's program for a financially strong national government. The election of Jefferson in 1800, named by him as 'The revolution of 1800,' brought in the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson
Presidency of Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jeffersons 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...

 and the permanent eclipse of the Federalists, apart from the Supreme Court.

Politics


The spirit of Jeffersonian democracy dominated American politics from 1800 to 1824, the First Party System
First Party System
The First Party System is a model of American politics used by political scientists and historians to periodize the political party system existing in the United States between roughly 1792 and 1824. It featured two national parties competing for control of the presidency, Congress, and the states:...

, under Jefferson and succeeding presidents James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 and James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

. Prominent spokesmen for Jeffersonian principles included Madison, Albert Gallatin
Albert Gallatin
Abraham Alfonse Albert Gallatin was a Swiss-American ethnologist, linguist, politician, diplomat, congressman, and the longest-serving United States Secretary of the Treasury. In 1831, he founded the University of the City of New York...

, John Randolph of Roanoke
John Randolph of Roanoke
John Randolph , known as John Randolph of Roanoke, was a planter and a Congressman from Virginia, serving in the House of Representatives , the Senate , and also as Minister to Russia...

, Nathaniel Macon
Nathaniel Macon
Nathaniel Macon was a spokesman for the Old Republican faction of the Democratic-Republican Party that wanted to strictly limit the United States federal government. Macon was born near Warrenton, North Carolina, and attended the College of New Jersey and served briefly in the American...

, John Taylor of Caroline
John Taylor of Caroline
John Taylor usually called John Taylor of Caroline was a politician and writer. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates and in the United States Senate . He wrote several books on politics and agriculture...

, James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

, John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

, John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States . He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former...

 and Henry Clay
Henry Clay
Henry Clay, Sr. , was a lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented Kentucky separately in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives...

 (with the last three taking new paths after 1828). After 1830 the principles were still talked about but did not form the basis of a political party. Thus editor Horace Greeley
Horace Greeley
Horace Greeley was an American newspaper editor, a founder of the Liberal Republican Party, a reformer, a politician, and an outspoken opponent of slavery...

 in 1838 started a magazine, The Jeffersonian, that he said "would exhibit a practical regard for that cardinal principle of Jeffersonian Democracy, and the People are the sole and safe depository of all power, principles and opinions which are to direct the Government."

Core ideals


Jeffersonian Democracy is characterized by the following core ideals, which Jefferson and his followers expressed in their writings, speeches and legislation. "Jeffersonian Democracy" is an umbrella term, and some factions favored some position more than others. In terms of actual policy-making, sometimes different principles conflicted. Furthermore the Jeffersonians changed over time as new issues emerged, such as how to fight a major War of 1812 with a weak central government and militia that refused to leave their state:
  • The core political value of America is republicanism
    Republicanism in the United States
    Republicanism is the political value system that has been a major part of American civic thought since the American Revolution. It stresses liberty and inalienable rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, supports activist government to promote the common good, rejects...

    ; citizens have a civic duty to aid the state and resist corruption, especially monarchism and aristocracy.
  • Jeffersonian values are best expressed through an organized political party. The Jeffersonian party was officially the "Republican Party" (although historians later called it the Democratic-Republican Party.
  • It was the duty of citizens to vote, and the Jeffersonians invented many modern campaign techniques designed to get out the vote. Turnout indeed soared across the country. The work of John J. Beckley
    John J. Beckley
    John James Beckley was an American political campaign manager and the first Librarian of the United States Congress, from 1802 to 1807...

    , Jefferson's agent in Pennsylvania, set new standards in the 1790s. In the 1796 presidential election he blanketed the state with agents who passed out 30,000 hand-written tickets, naming all 15 electors (printed tickets were not allowed). Historians consider Beckley to be one of the first American professional campaign managers, and his techniques were quickly adopted in other states.
  • The Federalist Party, especially its leader Alexander Hamilton
    Alexander Hamilton
    Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

    , was the arch-foe, because of its acceptance of aristocracy and British methods
  • The yeoman
    Yeoman
    Yeoman refers chiefly to a free man owning his own farm, especially from the Elizabethan era to the 17th century. Work requiring a great deal of effort or labor, such as would be done by a yeoman farmer, came to be described as "yeoman's work"...

     farmer best exemplifies civic virtue
    Civic virtue
    Civic virtue is the cultivation of habits of personal living that are claimed to be important for the success of the community. The identification of the character traits that constitute civic virtue have been a major concern of political philosophy...

     and independence from corrupting city influences; government policy should be for his benefit. Financiers, bankers and industrialists make cities the 'cesspools of corruption', and should be avoided.
  • The national government is a dangerous necessity to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation or community; it should be watched closely and circumscribed in its powers. Most Anti-Federalists
    Anti-Federalism
    Anti-Federalism refers to a movement that opposed the creation of a stronger U.S. federal government and which later opposed the ratification of the Constitution of 1787. The previous constitution, called the Articles of Confederation, gave state governments more authority...

     from 1787–88 joined the Jeffersonians.
  • Separation of church and state
    Separation of church and state
    The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

     is the best method to keep government free of religious disputes, and religion free from corruption by government.
  • The federal government must not violate the rights of individuals. The Bill of Rights
    United States Bill of Rights
    The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and...

     is a central theme.
  • The federal government must not violate the rights of the states
    States' rights
    States' rights in U.S. politics refers to political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government. It is often considered a loaded term because of its use in opposition to federally mandated racial desegregation...

    . The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
    Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
    The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were political statements drafted in 1798 and 1799, in which the Kentucky and Virginia legislatures took the position that the federal Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional...

     of 1798 (written secretly by Jefferson and James Madison
    James Madison
    James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

    ) proclaim these principles.
  • Freedom of speech
    Freedom of speech
    Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

     and the press
    Freedom of the press
    Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

     are the best methods to prevent tyranny over the people by their own government. The Federalists' violation of this freedom through the Alien and Sedition Acts
    Alien and Sedition Acts
    The Alien and Sedition Acts were four bills passed in 1798 by the Federalists in the 5th United States Congress in the aftermath of the French Revolution's reign of terror and during an undeclared naval war with France, later known as the Quasi-War. They were signed into law by President John Adams...

     of 1798 became a major issue.
  • The United States Constitution
    United States Constitution
    The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

     was written in order to ensure the freedom of the people. However, "no society can make a perpetual constitution or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation."
  • All men had the right to be informed, and thus, to have a say in the government. The protection and expansion of human liberty was one of the chief goals of the Jeffersonians. They also reformed their respective state systems of education. They believed that their citizens had a right to an education no matter their circumstance or status in life.
  • The judiciary should be subservient to the elected branches and the Supreme Court should not have the power to strike down laws passed by Congress. The Jeffersonians lost this battle to Chief Justice John Marshall
    John Marshall
    John Marshall was the Chief Justice of the United States whose court opinions helped lay the basis for American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court of the United States a coequal branch of government along with the legislative and executive branches...

    , a Federalist, who dominated the Court from 1801 to his death in 1835.
  • The Jeffersonians also had a distinct foreign policy:
    • Americans had a duty to spread what Jefferson called the "Empire of Liberty
      Empire of Liberty
      The Empire of Liberty is a theme developed first by Thomas Jefferson to identify America's world responsibility to spread freedom across the globe. Jefferson saw America's mission in terms of setting an example, expansion into the west, and by intervention abroad...

      " to the world, but should avoid "entangling alliances
      United States non-interventionism
      Non-interventionism, the diplomatic policy whereby a nation seeks to avoid alliances with other nations in order to avoid being drawn into wars not related to direct territorial self-defense, has had a long history in the United States...

      ."
    • Britain was the greatest threat, especially its monarchy, aristocracy, corruption, and business methods; the Jay Treaty
      Jay Treaty
      Jay's Treaty, , also known as Jay's Treaty, The British Treaty, and the Treaty of London of 1794, was a treaty between the United States and Great Britain that is credited with averting war,, resolving issues remaining since the Treaty of Paris of 1783, which ended the American Revolution,, and...

       of 1794 was much too favorable to Britain and thus threatened American values.
    • France, at least in the early stages of the French Revolution
      French Revolution
      The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

      , was the ideal European nation. Napoleon was the antithesis of republicanism and could not be supported.
    • Louisiana and the Mississippi River were critical to American national interests. Control by Spain (a weak power) was tolerable; control by France was unacceptable. See Louisiana Purchase
      Louisiana Purchase
      The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S...

    • A standing army
      Standing army
      A standing army is a professional permanent army. It is composed of full-time career soldiers and is not disbanded during times of peace. It differs from army reserves, who are activated only during wars or natural disasters...

       and navy are dangerous to liberty and should be avoided; much better was to use economic coercion such as the embargo
      Embargo
      An embargo is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country, in order to isolate it. Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is...

      . See Embargo Act of 1807
      Embargo Act of 1807
      The Embargo Act of 1807 and the subsequent Nonintercourse Acts were American laws restricting American ships from engaging in foreign trade between the years of 1807 and 1812. The Acts were diplomatic responses by presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison designed to protect American interests...

    • The militia was adequate to defend the nation. But it proved inadequate in a major War of 1812
      War of 1812
      The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

       when miitia units refused to leave their state to attack the British.

Factions


The Jeffersonians occasionally split into factions. John Randolph
John Randolph
John Randolph may refer to:* John Randolph, 3rd Earl of Moray , 3rd Earl of Moray, regent of Scotland.* Sir John Randolph , Virginia colonial politician, Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses...

, after leading the party in Congress, formed the "Old Republicans" or Tertium Quids
Tertium quids
The tertium quids refers to various factions of the American Democratic-Republican Party during the period 1804–1812. In Latin, tertium quid means "a third something"...

 or "Quid" faction, saying Jefferson had strayed too far from the core values of republicanism. Jefferson never trusted Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr, Jr. was an important political figure in the early history of the United States of America. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr became a successful lawyer and politician...

, who became his vice president. They split and Jefferson put Burr on trial for treason (he was acquitted and left the country). After the Madison administration experienced serious trouble financing the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

, and discovered the Army and militia were unable to make war effectively, a new generation of Republican nationalists emerged. They were supported by President James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

, an original Jeffersonian, and included John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States . He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former...

, Henry Clay
Henry Clay
Henry Clay, Sr. , was a lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented Kentucky separately in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives...

 and John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

. Adams defeated Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

, who had support from the Quids, in 1824 and in a few years two successor parties had emerged, the Democratic Party, which formulated Jacksonian Democracy
Jacksonian democracy
Jacksonian democracy is the political movement toward greater democracy for the common man typified by American politician Andrew Jackson and his supporters. Jackson's policies followed the era of Jeffersonian democracy which dominated the previous political era. The Democratic-Republican Party of...

 and which still exists; and Henry Clay's Whig Party
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

. Their competition marked the Second Party System
Second Party System
The Second Party System is a term of periodization used by historians and political scientists to name the political party system existing in the United States from about 1828 to 1854...

.

Westward expansion


Territorial expansion of the United States was a major goal of the Jeffersonians because it would produce new farm lands for yeomen farmers. The Jeffersonians wanted to integrate the Indians into American society, or remove further west those tribes that refused to integrate. However Sheehan (1974) argues that the Jeffersonians, with the best of goodwill toward the Indians, destroyed their distinctive cultures with its misguided benevolence.

The Jeffersonians took enormous pride in the bargain they reached with France in the Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S...

 of 1803. It opened up vast new fertile farmlands from Louisiana to Montana. However, established New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 political interests and many in the Federalist Party opposed the purchase. Jeffersonians, however, thought the new territory would help maintain their vision of the ideal republican society, based on agricultural commerce, governed lightly and promoting self-reliance and virtue.

Economics


Jeffersonian agrarians held that the economy of the United States
Economy of the United States
The economy of the United States is the world's largest national economy. Its nominal GDP was estimated to be nearly $14.5 trillion in 2010, approximately a quarter of nominal global GDP. The European Union has a larger collective economy, but is not a single nation...

 should rely more on agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 for strategic commodities than on industry
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

. Jefferson specifically believed, "Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if He ever had a chosen people, whose breast He has made His peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue." However, Jeffersonian ideals are not opposed to all manufacturing; rather, he believed that all people have the right to work to provide for their own subsistence and that an economic system which undermines that right is unacceptable. Jefferson's fear was that unlimited expansion of commerce and industry would lead to the growth of a class of wage laborers who relied on others for income and sustenance. The workers would no longer be independent voters.

Limited government


While the Federalists advocated for a strong central government, Jeffersonians argued for strong state and local governments and a weak federal government. Self-sufficiency, self-government, and individual responsibility, were, in the Jeffersonian worldview, among the most important ideals that formed the basis of the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

. In Jefferson's opinion, nothing that could feasibly be accomplished by individuals at the local level ought to be accomplished by the federal government. The federal government would concentrate its efforts solely on national and international projects. Jefferson's advocacy of limited government led to sharp disagreements with Federalist
Federalist
The term federalist describes several political beliefs around the world. Also, it may refer to the concept of federalism or the type of government called a federation...

 figures such as Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

. Jefferson felt that Hamilton favored plutocracy
Plutocracy
Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth. The combination of both plutocracy and oligarchy is called plutarchy. The word plutocracy is derived from the Ancient Greek root ploutos, meaning wealth and kratos, meaning to rule or to govern.-Usage:The term plutocracy is generally...

 and the creation of a powerful aristocracy in the United States which would accumulate increasingly greater power until the political and social order of the United States became indistinguishable from those of the Old World.

After initial skepticism, Jefferson supported the ratification of the United States Constitution and especially supported its stress on checks and balances. The ratification of the United States Bill of Rights
United States Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and...

, especially the First Amendment
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

, gave Jefferson even greater confidence in the document. Jeffersonians favored a strict construction
Strict constructionism
In the United States, Strict constructionism refers to a particular legal philosophy of judicial interpretation that limits or restricts judicial interpretation. The phrase is also commonly used more loosely as a generic term for conservatism among the judiciary.- Strict sense of the term :Strict...

 interpretation of federal government powers described in Article I of the Constitution. For example, Jefferson once wrote a letter to Charles Wilson Peale explaining that, although a Smithsonian-style national museum would be a wonderful resource, he could not support the use of federal funds to construct and maintain such a project. The 'strict constructionism' of today is a remote descendant of Jefferson's views.

Jefferson and Jeffersonian principles


Jeffersonian democracy was not a one-man operation. It was a large political party with many local and state leaders, and various factions, and they did not always agree with Jefferson or with each other.

Jefferson was accused of inconsistencies by his opponents. The "Old Republicans" said that he abandoned the Principles of 1798. He believed the national security concerns were so urgent that it was necessary to purchase Louisiana without waiting for a Constitutional amendment. He enlarged federal power through the intrusively-enforced Embargo Act of 1807
Embargo Act of 1807
The Embargo Act of 1807 and the subsequent Nonintercourse Acts were American laws restricting American ships from engaging in foreign trade between the years of 1807 and 1812. The Acts were diplomatic responses by presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison designed to protect American interests...

. He idealized the "yeoman farmer" despite being himself a gentleman plantation owner. The disparities between Jefferson's philosophy and practice have been noted by numerous historians: Staaloff proposed that it was due to his being a proto-Romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

; John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States . He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former...

 claimed that it was a manifestation of pure hypocrisy, or 'pliability of principle;' and Bailyn asserts it simply represented a contradiction with Jefferson, that he was “simultaneously a radical utopian idealist and a hardheaded, adroit, at times cunning politician.” However, Jenkinson argued that Jefferson's personal failings ought not to influence present day thinkers to disregard Jeffersonian ideals.

Kuehnelt-Leddihn, a European nobleman who opposes democracy, argues that "Jeffersonian democracy" is a misnomer, because Jefferson was not a democrat but in fact believed in rule by an elite: "Jefferson actually was an Agrarian Romantic who dreamt of a republic governed by an elite of character and intellect."

See also

  • First Party System
    First Party System
    The First Party System is a model of American politics used by political scientists and historians to periodize the political party system existing in the United States between roughly 1792 and 1824. It featured two national parties competing for control of the presidency, Congress, and the states:...

  • Jacksonian democracy
    Jacksonian democracy
    Jacksonian democracy is the political movement toward greater democracy for the common man typified by American politician Andrew Jackson and his supporters. Jackson's policies followed the era of Jeffersonian democracy which dominated the previous political era. The Democratic-Republican Party of...

  • American election campaigns in the 19th century
    American election campaigns in the 19th Century
    In the 19th century, a number of new methods for conducting American Election Campaigns developed in the United States. For the most part the techniques were original, not copied from Europe or anywhere else...

  • Republicanism in the United States
    Republicanism in the United States
    Republicanism is the political value system that has been a major part of American civic thought since the American Revolution. It stresses liberty and inalienable rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, supports activist government to promote the common good, rejects...

  • Democratic-Republican Party
    Democratic-Republican Party (United States)
    The Democratic-Republican Party or Republican Party was an American political party founded in the early 1790s by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Political scientists use the former name, while historians prefer the latter one; contemporaries generally called the party the "Republicans", along...