Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural Address

Topics: Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams Pages: 2 (560 words) Published: November 17, 2005
Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural Address
The election of 1800 marked the first time in United States history in which there was a transfer of power from one political party to another. The transfer of power was peaceful even though it followed a heated campaign. Thomas Jefferson, former Secretary of State under George Washington and creator of the Democratic-Republican Party, defeated the Federalist, John Adams, for the presidency. In March 1801, Jefferson delivered a memorable inaugural address. It was memorable for its "consummation of eighteenth-century elegance in style", for its conciliatory tone, and for its restatement of Republican principles. (1) Jefferson indirectly ‘addressed' his speech to Samuel Adams. Jefferson hoped the principles expressed in the Inaugural Address were in the spirit of Samuel Adams. He wanted Adams to approve of the principles he would put into place as president. (2)

Jefferson wanted to make sure the American people approved of his principles as well. He maintained a conciliatory tone in his address to ensure the people's trust. He maintained this tone by humbling himself before the people by asking for their "guidance and support" in helping him steer the country in the right direction. He also called the nation and leaders to unite in effort to better the country, in spite of differences. Jefferson wanted to reconcile differences and make peace. (3) Jefferson also called all political leaders to remember the "sacred principle" that said, "though the will of the majority would always prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protest, and to violate would be oppression". This means the will of the majority is to prevail as long as the will is reasonable and as long as the minority still has their rights which are protected by the law. (4) Jefferson took a relaxed approach towards those who would wish to dissolve the Union. He took...
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