Jeffersonian democracy

Jeffersonian democracy

Jeffersonian democracy is the set of political goals that were named after Thomas Jefferson. It dominated American politics in the years 1800-1820s. It is contrasted with Jacksonian democracy, which dominated the next political era. The most prominent spokesmen included Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Albert Gallatin, John Randolph of Roanoke, and Nathaniel Bacon.

In its core ideals it is characterized by the following elements, which the Jeffersonians expressed in their speeches and legislation:

* The core political value of America is representative democracy; citizens have a civic duty to aid the state and resist corruption, especially monarchism and aristocracy. [ Banning (1978) pp 79-90]
* The yeoman farmer best exemplifies virtue and independence from corrupting city influences; government policy should be for his benefit. Financiers, bankers and industrialists make cities the cesspools of corruption, and should be avoided. [ Elkins and McKitrick. (1995) ch 5; Wallace Hettle, "The Peculiar Democracy: Southern Democrats in Peace and Civil War" (2001) p. 15]
* Americans had a duty to spread what Jefferson called the "Empire of Liberty" to the world, but should avoid "entangling alliances." [ Hendrickson and Tucker. (1990)]
* The national government is a dangerous necessity to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation or community; it should be watched closely and circumscribed in its powers. Most Anti-Federalists from 1787-88 joined the Jeffersonians. [ Banning (1978) pp 105-15]
* Republicanism, also known as representative democracy, is the best form of government and representative democracy is needed to prevent the tyranny by the majority, as Madison explained in Federalist No. 10.
* The wall of separation between church and state is the best method to keep religion free from intervention by the federal government, government free of religious disputes, and religion free from corruption by government. [Philip Hamburger, "Separation of church and state" Harvard University Press, 2002. ISBN: 0674007344 OCLC: 48958015 ]
* The federal government must not violate the rights of individuals. The Bill of Rights is a central theme. [Robert Allen Rutland; "The Birth of the Bill of Rights, 1776-1791" University of North Carolina Press, (1955)]
* The federal government must not violate the rights of the states. The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 (written secretly by Jefferson and Madison) proclaim these principles. [ Banning (1978) pp 264-66]
* Freedom of speech and the press is the best method to prevent the tyranny of the people by their own government. The Federalists' violation of this idea through the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 became a major issue. [ Banning (1978) pp 255-66-3]
* A standing army and navy are dangerous to liberty and should be avoided; much better was to use economic coercion such as the embargo. [ Banning (1978) pp 292-3]
*The United States Constitution was written in order to ensure the freedom of the people. A strict view of how the constitution was written is kept.

ee also

* Jacksonian democracy
* Liberal democracy
* American election campaigns in the 19th century
* Jeffersonian political philosophy
* Republicanism in the United States


* Banning, Lance. "The Jeffersonian Persuasion: Evolution of a Party Ideology"(1978)
* Brown; Stuart Gerry. "The First Republicans: Political Philosophy and Public Policy in the Party of Jefferson and Madison" [ (1954) online]
* Stanley M. Elkins and Eric L. McKitrick. "The Age of Federalism: The Early American Republic, 1788-1800" (1995)
* David C. Hendrickson and Robert W. Tucker. "Empire of Liberty: the statecraft of Thomas Jefferson" (1990)
* [ Vernon Parrington, "Main Currents in American Thought" (1927) v 2 online]
* Onuf, Peter S., ed. "Jeffersonian Legacies." (1993).
* Merrill D. Peterson. "The Jefferson Image in the American Mind" (1960)
* Taylor, Jeff. "Where Did the Party Go?: William Jennings Bryan, Hubert Humphrey, and the Jeffersonian Legacy" (2006)
* Wilentz, Sean. "The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln" (2005)
* Wiltse, Charles Maurice. "The Jeffersonian Tradition in American Democracy" (1935)

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