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How can Thomas Jefferson be seen as an ideological President of the United States of...

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talkingcarl579 | eNoter

Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:33 PM via web

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How can Thomas Jefferson be seen as an ideological President of the United States of America?

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

Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:45 PM (Answer #1)

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One part of the case to be made for Jefferson being considered an ideological president was that he was the first Republican elected to the position.  Jefferson was a major force behind the "Revolution of 1800."  This was a shift in federal governmental policy from the Federalist point of view.  It sought to bring the Republican focus into federal government.  Emphasizing "laissez faire" ideals and a smaller view of centralized authority, Jefferson was committed to Republican ideology as he took office.  He pared down the military, consistent with his Republican ideology of reducing the size of government.  He sought to forge greater connection between government and its people, embracing the Republican ideological tenets that stressed government should be for all people as opposed to merely the wealthy and most intelligent. Citing his own Republican ideology, Jefferson preached US neutrality in European affairs. Jefferson could be seen as ideological in how he wanted to assert the power of local governments in place of a dominant federal one.  

In these instances, Jefferson can be seen as an ideological president because he wanted to bring about a new way of thought and action into the office of the Presidency.  To do so meant that he  had to embrace an ideology that had not been seen in American national politics up to that point.

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