The Full Wiki

More info on Jeffersonian political philosophy

Jeffersonian political philosophy: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jeffersonians, so named after Thomas Jefferson, support a federal government with greatly constrained powers, and are strong advocates and followers of a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Jefferson himself followed and exhibited these principles. Jeffersonian philosophy also called for state and local governments to safeguard the rights and property of citizens. Jeffersonians recognized both private and common property. During his early public career, Jefferson hoped that each State and County would be smaller examples of the national American Republic. He believed that republican governments established and governing at these levels would best keep the federal government in check.

The Jeffersonian philosophy held that all men had the right to be informed, and thus, to have a say in the government. The protection and expansion of human liberty was one of the chief goals of the Jeffersonians. They also reformed their respective state systems of education. They believed that their citizens had the right and should be educated no matter their circumstance or status in life.

Internationally, Thomas Jefferson and the Jeffersonians believed that America was "the world's best hope." They believed that the United States would be an example to the rest of the world in establishing their own sovereign constitutional republics. When the French Revolution broke out, American supporters and allies of France had hopes that the monarchy would fall and the people would form a government of themselves. Domestically, original Jeffersonian thought also had agrarian elements, and believed that the farmer should be the backbone of any nation, supplying it with a strong work ethic and virtue.


Jeffersonian view of US westward expansion

Territorial expansion of the United States was often controversial. When the Louisiana Purchase was completed in 1803, established New England political interests and many in the Federalist Party opposed the purchase. Jeffersonians, however, thought the new territory would help maintain their vision of the ideal republican society, based on agricultural commerce, governed lightly and promoting self-reliance and virtue.[1]

Jeffersonian economics

Jeffersonian agrarians held that the economy of the United States should rely more on agriculture for strategic commodities, than on industry. Jefferson specifically believed "Those who labor in the earth... are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people."

However, Jeffersonian ideals are not opposed to all manufacturing. The belief was that unlimited expansion of commerce and industry would lead to the growth of a class of wage laborers that relied on others for income and sustenance, as happened during the Industrial Revolution and Gilded Age. Such a situation, they feared, would leave the American people vulnerable to political subjugation and economic manipulation.

See also


  • America, A Narrative History, vol. 1 Chapter 8. (ISBN 0-393-92426-2)


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address