What was the overall effectiveness of Jefferson as president considering his handling of both domestic and foreign policy issues.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Thomas Jefferson's main domestic priority was to establish a prudent and economical government which would target resources usefully but frugally. In terms of legislation he wanted citizens to keep the peace and not harm each other or their affairs but at the same time give them as much freedom as was practicable. He hoped that the government's role would accept individual state authority and support each one but that it would be able to function with less red tape and management tiers thereby saving unnecessary expense. Rather, he would increase discipline for example in the ranks of the army in case the country was attacked. He recognised the vital role that farmers play in a country's economy and well-being, with the business side of it playing only a supporting role. The civil service, navy, and mail sectors were all cut and the direct tax was abolished with the result that the country's national debt was cut from $80 million down to about $57 million 

Jefferson got in with a burning ambition to harness the powers of federal government at home but foreign policy was to overshadow that aim. He soon realised that a Federalist policy would be necessary for certain issues and this challenged his philosophy regarding politics. One issue he had to deal with was taking on Barbary piracy. This had been previously achieved through bribes by the western countries  to the Barbary areas from Tunisia to Morocco to buy them off from intimidating America's ships - a situation which was affecting world  trade traffic also. Jefferson eventiually refused payment when it went up and sent battle ships instead. He tried a blockade and then tried to encourage a coup to disturb the royal status quo in the area. He ended that war with some agreements involving a so-called last time 'tribute' payment. He thus realised that an outstanding navy was essential and stopped cutting it's size and power.

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