In a time when America was but a wee nation, its economy struggling for stability, its people divided by lifestyle and political viewpoint, Thomas Jefferson ascended to presidency in what was said to be a revolution of politics and democracy. Creator and leader of his own political party, Jefferson sat his Democratic-Republican buttocks upon a Federalist presidential throne. Tom proceeded to convert the tariff-oriented, pro-upper class government into one more for the common man, yet early into his presidency, the revolution seemed to be happening more within his political thinking than his government. The self-proclaimed anti-federalist made a steady descent into the dark side.
Jeffersons Jeffersonian priorities seemed to take on a gradual shade of Federalist, tainting his supposed identity as a passionate anti-Federalist.
As the new president reshaped the government, Alexander Hamiltons framework was left practically untouched, with the exception of the excise tax. In fact, Jefferson later became a great supporter of the industry aiding tariffs, defying his Democratic-Republican ideal of a laissez-faire, pro-agricultural economy. He also wound up supporting previously set plans for a central national bank, a completely Federalist idea. The Louisiana Purchase was possibly the greatest real estate deal ever made at 3 cents an acre, but Jefferson succumbed to the deal biting his lip. Attempting strict Jeffersonian frugality and adherence to the constitution, he allowed himself $10 million to spend on this deal. When the price tag showed itself at $15 million and pressure was laid on the man to swiftly finish the deal, Jefferson agreed, quietly condemning its unconstitutionality.
Possibly Jeffersons greatest example of Federalist thinking was the Embargo Act of 1807, where his interesting interpretation of the constitution brought him to believe control over commerce allowed the president to stop all foreign trade. This directly opposed Democratic-Republican ideals of loose control over economy, as well as making him seem like not a nice guy.
Jeffersons presidency changed his policies drastically, thus it is not difficult to find quotes of the man contradicting himself. It matters not; whatever Jefferson was doing, he did it well and brought many a legacy to the presidency. Jefferson was the true father of the two year presidential term, implementing it for fear that a third would tempt dictatorship. His democratic legacy lives on in todays government, and his liberal ideas are legendary.
At the completion of his second term, he left vacant a presidential position difficult to fill. For seldom does a man with Jeffersons magnetic influence, paradoxical mindset, and homely charm grace the face of the Earth.