What were some important aspects of domestic affairs during Jefferson's presidency?

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I must disagree with the above answer; as there were a number of domestic issues during Jefferson's presidency that were of the utmost concern:

  • There was the Essex Junto, a group of radical Federalists who saw the demise of their party if the territory gained in the Louisiana Purchase came into the Union. They planned to have New England secede from the Union under the leadership of New York. The scheme involved having Aaron Burr elected Governor of New York and then have him lead the effort. Alexander Hamilton discovered the plot, and exposed it, which ruined Burr's reputation. It was as a result of this dispute that Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel in which he killed him.
  • There was the Tertium Quid, a group of radical Republicans who opposed any move of Jefferson's which they considered "liberal." They were the first of several third party movements in the U.S.; none of which were successful.
  • There was the Burr conspiracy in which Aaron Burr and General James Wilkerson planned to have Louisiana secede from the U.S. and form their own Empire. The plot failed, and Burr was tried for treason. The trial was presided over by then Chief Justice John Marshall who would do anything to embarrass Jefferson. Marshall adopted a strangely strict interpretation of the burden of proof for treason which not only resulted in Burr's acquittal, it set a difficult precedent for future treason trials. At the same trial, Jefferson refused to honor a subpoena from Burr's attorneys, thereby laying the groundwork for executive privilege.
  • There was the Embargo Act, intended to keep America out of the war with France and Britain. It ended up ruining the American economy.
  • Most importantly, the Supreme Court of Marbury vs. Madison was issued during Jefferson's presidency. This all important case established the principal of Judicial Review.
  • Contrary to the position of the earlier post, Jefferson's purchase of Louisiana did not result in any great debate over Constitutional interpretation. Jefferson construed his power to make treaties in the name of the U.S. as sufficient to justify the purchase; a strangely broad construction. He justified his actions by writing:

the good sense of our country will correct the evil of loose construction when it shall produce ill effects.

  • All of this goes without mentioning the efforts of Louis and Clark, and the Jefferson's enormous popularity after doubling the size of the U.S.



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In domestic affairs, the US was relatively quiet during Jefferson's time as president.  As the first Democratic-Republican president, Jefferson did some things to reverse the policies of the Federalists, but not as many as might have been expected.  Mainly, he ended the excise taxes that caused the Whiskey Rebellion, reduced the size of the judiciary, and also reduced the size of the army and navy.

The main domestic controversy during Jefferson's time was about whether he could buy the Louisiana Purchase without approval from Congress.  This was a partisan issue that was couched in Constitutional terms.  The Constitution did not say that a president could buy territory from a foreign country so Jefferson's proposal led to a debate over whether the Constitution should be interepreted strictly (the president could only do what it specifically said he could) or loosely (allowing him to do things so long as the Constitution did not forbid them).

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