Thomas Jefferson's Presidency

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What obstacles did Thomas Jefferson face throughout his presidency?

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Especially during his second term, Jefferson had to contend with growing conflicts between the French and the British. Both sought an elite status of supreme power in Europe, and Jefferson tried to sidestep the conflict by remaining neutral, believing that aligning himself with either side would destroy the American progress he had been able to forge.

United States relations with Britain became increasingly tense following Napoleon's Berlin Decree, which forbade travel with Britain; Britain responded with Orders in Council, which initiated a blockade of French-controlled Europe. Jefferson decided to proclaim an embargo on all foreign trade, which actually did not have much effect on Britain's economy. This balance of maintaining peace with both world powers at the time was a tricky sea to navigate.

As pirates from North Africa increasingly raided supply ships in the Mediterranean, Jefferson felt compelled to increase safety in trading. He ultimately gave orders for American warships to...

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