12 March 2012
Thomas Jefferson: Hero or Hypocrite
Few men can compare to Thomas Jefferson in terms of articulation and benevolent philosophical views. He was a brilliant man whose verbalization formulated the United States’ Declaration of Independence from mother England. Jefferson was a man who believed in the preservation of individual liberties and equality, principles that are necessary for a nation to flourish. He was the country’s first secretary of state, and eventually he would become the third president of the United States. Jefferson helped establish the country that exists today, and his contributions remain observable 186 years after his passing. His likeness is now etched upon a mountainside in South Dakota, as if he is still watching down on the country his hands helped mold. He consistently opposed formation of strong central authority for fear it would dawn tyranny. Instead, he much preferred small government intervention. Jefferson is known as a wise and influential founding father by historians and scholars alike. Upon reviewing Jefferson’s credentials and beliefs, one would conclude him to be a great American hero. Yet, deeper investigation proves that Jefferson’s ideologies often strayed far from his actions. Although this is true, I believe Jefferson’s actions, though detested today, were essential for his time and should not be scrutinized by our modern-day values. Jefferson tirelessly argued for less government authority. He believed that those who held political positions should be granted limited powers that are strictly expressed by the constitution. When America’s National Bank was being conjured, Jefferson strongly opposed. He relentlessly objected its creation, deeming it unconstitutional (Carnes 156-157). When Jefferson took office, he had finally gained authority to repeal the National Bank, yet he did not. This may seem hypocritical, yet Jefferson’s decision to sustain the bank was backed...