How did Jefferson's governmental philosophy shape his presidential policies?

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Thomas Jefferson was a committed political philosopher, some of whose ideas are presented in the Declaration of Independence. He valued a restrained, frugal central government and popular will, which would be expressed primarily through elections.

In his inaugural address and in policies he favored while president, these views are apparent. His inaugural speech refers specifically to the protection of the equal rights of the minority. He also pushed programs that reduced government spending, including for the military, and taxes.

Much has been written about the obvious limits of these ideals and related actions. By "minority" Jefferson meant other white male property owners, as they were the only voters. As a slave owner, he thought African Americans should not have the same rights.

Jefferson also advocated for reduced government spending, but during his administration the U.S. made the Louisiana Purchase. In this land deal with France, along with paying France for the land, the U.S. agreed to forgive some French debt. Though considered a bargain, the deal not only committed the U.S. financially to France, but also to the cost of expansion for many decades; as the colonial ruler, France (and previously Spain) had barely begun to settle land claims with the Native American residents.

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