What was Jefferson's vision for the new republic?

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Jefferson envisioned a nation of self-sufficient yeoman farmers who were all civic minded, guiding the decisions of the government by a direct form of democracy. It should be pointed out that the only people in the country who were considered citizens were Anglo landowners, so that should be understood when...

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Jefferson envisioned a nation of self-sufficient yeoman farmers who were all civic minded, guiding the decisions of the government by a direct form of democracy. It should be pointed out that the only people in the country who were considered citizens were Anglo landowners, so that should be understood when considering whose civic participation the government was supposed to follow. Also, his vision did not include enslaved Africans as having the same opportunities as the Anglo farmers.

Most Anglo Americans in the United States at the time earned their living from operating small farms in the countryside, and the United States at the time was only beginning to cross over into the Ohio Valley west of the Appalachians (the current Midwest). To accomplish his goal, he wanted every head of household to have access to a small plot of land that they could cultivate and make a living from. Jefferson saw the vast expanse of "open" land to the West as a good opportunity to be able to continue providing new land for farmers to obtain cheaply in order to sustain this economic model.

I put "open" in quotes because of course the land he saw as the means by which to continue to provide this opportunity to Anglo farmers was already occupied by Native peoples, which needed to be displaced in order for this model to work. He expected the Native peoples occupying said land to adopt the same model as the Anglos, thereby making it possible to contain them and thus make the needed land available to future generations of yeoman farmers.

Jefferson saw this model as a solution to avoid what was going on in Europe at the time, particularly England, where regular people were being displaced from their land by the wealthy elite and forced to work in terrible conditions in factories as England underwent industrialization. Jefferson did favor industrial development and international trade, but he mainly wanted it to benefit small farmers.

Here is a good article that further explains Jefferson's ideology.

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