What obstacles did Thomas Jefferson face while he was President?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Thomas Jefferson faced several obstacles while he was President. One obstacle was trying to stop the midnight appointments of former President John Adams. John Adams appointed many federalists as judges just before he left office. Some of these appointments did get completed before the term of President Adams ended. President Jefferson ordered his Secretary of State, James Madison, not to complete the appointments that weren’t completed.

Another obstacle President Jefferson faced was the court system. President Jefferson knew the judiciary would be an issue for him since many of the judges that were appointed by John Adams throughout his presidency were Federalists. Some of President Jefferson’s initiatives were blocked by the courts, which were controlled by Federalist judges.

President Jefferson faced some issues in foreign policy. The countries on the North African coast supported pirates. These pirates attacked our shipping unless we paid them a bribe to leave us alone. When we began to refuse to pay the bribe, we fought those countries supporting the pirates for the right to be able to freely trade. We were successful and no longer paid bribes to them. We also had issues with Great Britain and France. Both countries were interfering with our trade because they were at war with each other. Neither country wanted us to trade with the other country. When we decided to stop all trade with the Embargo Act, this policy failed, as trade was too important for our country. Even cutting off trade only with Great Britain and with France didn’t work because most of our trade involved these countries.

President Jefferson faced many obstacles while he was President.