Mr. Hodgson- Period 4
AP U.S. History
Hofstader Essay “Jeffersonian political philosophy, the Aristocrat as Democrat was consistently inconsistent.” Evaluate and comment on this statement based on Hofstader Reading Chapter 2.
Thomas Jefferson was a very peculiar man. He was a wealthy aristocrat from the colony of Virginia and was a Democrat in the government. His ideas were very inconsistent with the life he lived. Many of his ideas contradicted his own life which made him a consistently inconsistent man. Thomas Jefferson’s political philosophy contradicted Jefferson’s own life and allow for the less fortunate colonists to prosper. Thomas Jefferson lived a very prosperous and comfortable life in which his political philosophy was the opposite. He was the son of Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph. His father was a self-made man but his mother came from a distinguished Virginia family which assured the social position of Thomas. In 1575, Thomas’s father died leaving him with over 2,700 acres and a large number of slaves. This privilege Thomas had allowed him to write about human liberty which was supported by the three generations of slaves he encountered. With Thomas writing about human liberty, he was contradicting his own beliefs because he had over 200 slaves himself. Also, under the leadership of Jefferson, Virginia reformers abolished primogeniture. The policy of primogeniture however was the basis of Jefferson’s social and economic success. If the policy of primogeniture was not in place, Jefferson would not have succeeded to the position he had because he would not have received the land his father had after his father passed away. Jefferson also represented a number of different groups in politics that were very different. In American politics, he became the leader of the yeoman farmers and was also the leader of great planters. These two groups were exact opposites which revealed the nature of Jefferson’s political basis-