Determine to what extent Jefferson, after entering the White House maintained or altered his earlier philosphy of government?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Jefferson was able to maintain much of his philosophy of government.  He believed in the Republican ideals of "laissez faire" and also demonstrated the idea that government should not be intrusive, along with a strict interpretation of the Constitution.  For the most part, I think that Jefferson acted with these ideas in the forefront of his policy making decisions.  The purchase of Louisiana is one interesting element where one can see Jefferson having drifted into a type of gray zone that might enable discourse about his own commitment to Republican ideas.  His purchase from France was done without much in way of Congressional approval and demonstrated an active central government.  The strict interpretation of the Constitution that Jefferson favored was one in which government operated in a very restrained manner, something that was not entirely evident in the Louisiana Purchase.  The Republican president who was not entirely an advocate of the federal government ended up using the federal government in the most centralized of manners in the young nation's history.


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