Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) was the third American President (1801 – 1809). Owing to his tremendous policies and changes he has brought to the country, he is considered to be one of the America’s greatest presidents. This essay will discuss and analyze why Thomas Jefferson is considered to be the greatest American President.
Why Thomas Jefferson Is the Greatest President
Type of Government Jefferson Established
Thomas Jefferson is remembered for his influence on the development of a federal government through correspondence while he was serving as a U.S. minister in France. His subsequent election as the third U.S. president was crucial in shaping the country and defining the nature of the kind of republic to emerge. Jefferson wanted to establish a federal government, one with limited powers. When he defeated incumbent John Adams, Jefferson helped establish the principle that power can be peacefully passed over to victors from losers. He called this election “the second American Revolution.” (Thomas Jefferson: Establishing a federal republic).
Jefferson’s thinking about Agricultural Economy
As a republican, Jefferson believed that the economy should be based on European style of agriculture. He believed that European style agriculture was very superior and in fact he believed that natives should give up their lifestyles and practice this kind of agriculture. He thought that in that way the economy could then become more dependent on trade rather than agriculture. He believed in an agrarian economy. He talked about mercantilism which was an economic theory popularized in the 18th century. Jefferson’s famous quote about agriculture sums how much he liked agriculture, “those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God.” He continued to build on the old age ideas that agricultural people were more virtuous, moral, and more godly than the people who resided in cities (Thomas Jefferson on manufacturing and commerce).
Why Jefferson Changed His Belief about Agriculture
Jefferson realized that for a country to increase its supply of specie, it must export more than it imports. He realized that the political economists in Europe had established a principle that each state should try its best to manufacture goods, at least for itself. This is the principle which Jefferson transferred to America. Obviously, agricultural goods cost less than manufactured products and this will require a country to import more manufactured goods if it depended on agriculture. He thus argued that the new America should expand its manufacturing. He reasoned that then the country could be able to export expensive and quality goods or that at least the U.S. could not have to import its goods from Europe (Thomas Jefferson on manufacturing and commerce).
Jefferson Views about Education and Economy
Jefferson was committed to expand education and this became one of his supreme strengths. He insisted on a public funded system and advocated for creation of the University of Virginia that stand out as highest achievements. He conceptualized education for democracy separating religion from education while using universities to expand learning into different fields. He was of the opinion that education is vital to democracy and will result in preservation of freedom. He struggled to raise funds for his proposed school system. It is through education that Jefferson believed that people will be able to improve their economic opportunities, and that is why Jefferson insisted on public education. Clearly, more than any other president, Jefferson had a prophetic vision for education that was helpful in defining the principles that led to public education system in America (Glass, et al., 2004).
Jefferson believed that the central bank would result in putting too much power over the federal government and in the hands of the owners of the bank. He was against the banks as he regarded bankers as swindlers and never trusted them. Jefferson had the belief in democracy and liberty which he attributed to being the greatest virtues that a society could strive for and he thought that an agrarian civilization made of independent farmers was the best for the country (The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis).