What was one obstacle Thomas Jefferson overcame?

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There are a few ways to view this question. Thomas Jefferson had some diplomatic obstacles he had to overcome as a President. He also had to deal with philosophical obstacles. I will share one example of each obstacle.

One philosophical obstacle dealt with the Louisiana Purchase. When Napoleon offered to sell all of the Louisiana Territory to the United States, we knew this was a great deal. However, President Jefferson hesitated to buy this land because he believed in a strict interpretation of the Constitution. The Constitution said nothing about the President buying land. He was persuaded to support the Louisiana Purchase. We bought the Louisiana Territory in 1803.

While he was President, Great Britain and France were at war. Both countries interfered with our trade. Thomas Jefferson didn’t want to go to war with either nation. As a result, he signed the Embargo Act. This law prevented the United States from trading with most countries. He believed if we didn’t trade, our ships wouldn’t be attacked. However, we needed to trade. This law did help keep us out of war at that time. However, it eventually had to be repealed because our economy depended on trade.

Thomas Jefferson had some obstacles to overcome while he was President.

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What are some challenges Thomas Jefferson faced?

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) faced many challenges of a political and personal nature during his lifetime. He beloved wife Martha died in 1782, and it is believed by many historians that Jefferson had a long relationship with his slave, Sally Hemings, and may have had children with her. He wrestled with the issue of slavery and thought the institution of slavery was damaging to master and slave. However, he did not act to abolish or limit slavery when he was President (though he had earlier proposals that limited slavery).

After he won the presidential election of 1800 in a contested election with Aaron Burr (that was in itself a struggle), he also wrestled with the size and mission of the federal government. While his idea as a Democratic-Republican (or Republican, as his party was then called) President was to limit the size of the federal government, he actually expanded the size and power of the government in some ways when he made the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. He also struggled with British impressment of American sailors, meaning that Britain tried to force Americans into their navy. As a result, Jefferson imposed an embargo on British goods. This also was a show of the power of the federal government--a principle that he was opposed to--and it was largely ineffective, only hurting the United States. He was unable in the end to stop British impressment. 

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What were some challenges for Thomas Jefferson while he was writing the Declaration of Independence?

Jefferson had to deal both with the contradictions within his own life and thought, as well as with the possible objections by much of Congress either to his saying too much on "sensitive" topics or not saying enough.

As is well known, his initial draft included a paragraph criticizing the King for allowing the slave trade to continue. This, as Jefferson...

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later indicated, was not acceptable to those members of Congress who themselves held enslaved people. But Jefferson himself, of course, was a practitioner of slavery. My guess is that he must have realized, at least on a subconscious level, that it was hypocritical for him to blame the King for the continuance of either the slave trade or the institution of slavery itself. The onlyallusion to slavery in the final version of the Declaration is a euphemistic one, saying of the King that "he has incited domestic insurrections among us." This refers to the sporadic recruiting by the British of enslaved people as troops with the promise of freedom to them. One also must ask if Jefferson might have struggled inwardly over the clause concerning the indigenous Americans in which they are described as "merciless savages." Jefferson was an admirer in general of the spirit and character of Native Americans, as he expressed in other writings.

A second major issue, though this has received less attention by commentators over the years, involves religion. Jefferson and many others in Congress were deists, rejecting not only organized religion but also, for the most part, the belief that God actively influences human affairs. Interestingly, however, Jefferson's original version stated, "We hold these truths to be sacred and inviolable: that all men are created equal." Most scholars believe that when Franklin and Adams made their preliminary review of the draft, it was Franklin who amended "sacred and inviolable" to "self-evident." Though there is not necessarily anything "spiritual" or based on religious belief in the use of the word "sacred" in this context, Franklin's word choice is more purely secular and "human." It is also more eloquent.

It was when Congress as a whole reviewed the draft that more extensive changes were made. Jefferson had already written that men "are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights," but Congress made additional references to God which, in my opinion, actually improved the document. The phrases "appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions" and "with a firm reliance on Divine Providence" lend a gravity to passages which in Jefferson's original seem more lightweight and dry.

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