US Presidents
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson Davis

What did Jefferson do as president?



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Well, if you want to know...

From the moment that Jefferson was inaugurated, he began what he described as the Revolution of 1800. This was his attempt to repeal major actions that he felt the Federalists had taken to needlessly strengthen the hand of the Federal government. This included allowing the Alien and Sedition Act to lapse and the repeal of the federal whiskey tax. For all Jefferson's changes, his Presidency was more one of stability than of change.

Jefferson was a leading advocate of strict interpretation of the Constitution. Despite this fact, he took two major actions in his first term that, under a strict interpretation of the Constitution, he lacked the power to do. The first was to send forces against the Barbary Pirates. His orders to the force commander instructed him to take military action to end forced payment of ransom. The policy was successful, but Jefferson did not consult Congress before instructing this use of force.

Second, in secret negotiations, Jefferson agreed to purchase the Louisiana Territory from France. This purchase, for $15 million, doubled the size of the United States. There was, however, no provision in the constitution that provided for the purchase of land.