(1) Some English observers may have viewed Jeffersonian Republicans as hypocritical for several reasons. Jefferson ran for the presidency in order to achieve specific goals such as, the reduction of the size and cost of the federal government, the repeal of Federalist legislation, and to maintain international peace. Jefferson was successful for some time in reducing the size and cost of the federal government.
He closed several American embassies in Europe. He cut military spending by reducing the size of the U.S. Army by 50 percent and retiring a majority of the navy’s warships. However, despite all these cut expenses, Jefferson found it suitable to accommodate the Louisiana Purchase. As the United States increased its land territory westward, the Jeffersonian democracy continued and sought to remove Native Americans from the path of the white man’s progress.
Indians were often murdered even though Jeffersonians disclaimed any intention to destroy Indians. Jefferson later increased federal power to enforce the Embargo Act of 1807. His recommendation for an embargo of American goods failed to win foreign respect for American neutrality during the French Revolution. Jefferson nearly led the country to the brink of war. The Embargo policy succeeded only in depressing the economy and angering northern merchants and was later repealed in 1809.
Jefferson also signed another bill in 1807 for a law that prohibited the importation of slaves into the United States. Poor enforcement by America resulted in illegal operations of slave smugglers. Southerners did not cooperate, and for many years African slaves continued to poor into southern ports.
It is easy to conclude that the members of Jeffersonian democracy declared their passion for liberty and equality, but in practice, they lived in a society whose members accepted slavery and sought to remove Native Americans out of the white man’s path. While some Americans praised Jefferson’s pragmatism, others felt betrayed.(2) It is clear that progress had been achieved between 1741 and 1791 regarding the murder of slaves. From the reading, we can see that slaves were recognized as somewhat equal to a free white man. It is stated a man should receive the same punishment for murdering a slave as he would for murder of a free white man. However, the nature of punishment for the murder in State v.
Boon cannot be decided. The Law of 1791 was insufficient because the question remained What is the proper punishment for the murder of a slave? Some believed slaves had no rights and our constitution was not made for them while others saw them as equal men and women. (3) From the earliest days of independence, a tension between mechanization and handcraft marked the American quest for technological advance.
Some Americans, however, expressed grave misgivings about the new technology. As inventions such as the spinning jenny and the cotton gin promised to save time and labor some Americans refused to accept the new methods of production. Tradition and disbelief was the reason for such behavior. Many people insisted to practice methods they were taught by their parents and were afraid to modernize their lifestyle. Today we see the same thing everyday.
This computer I’m writing on, for example. Who would’ve ever thought a machine would allow us to type by the push of a button and then print in seconds. When computers and the internet were first being introduced many people didn’t know what to think. Some people were eager to purchase one and explore the possibilities while others may have failed to believe such technology was possible. We still don’t even know where computers will take us.
Today they’re used in cars, space exploration, TV, and music production. And today like the 1700’s, we will continue to be faced with new forms of technology everyday and some people will adapt and grow with it while others stick to the traditional methods they were taught by previous generations.(4) Chief Justice John Marshall did not want to jeopardize the independence of the Supreme Court over the minor issue of Marbury v.
Madison. In his decision of February 1803, Marshall scolded the secretary of state for withholding Marbury’s commission. Marshall stated it clearly that the Supreme Court did not have the jurisdiction to handle such matters as the Marbury v. Madison case. With this action the Republicans proclaimed victory, but Marshall protected himself and the other Federalists positions in the courts.
Marshall, however, for the first time asserted the Supreme Court’s right to judge the constitutionality of congressional acts. Marbury v. Madison served as an important precedent for judicial review of federal laws.(5) In Marbury v. Madison the Republicans were so pleased with the outcome of the case, they failed to examine the logic of Marshall’s decision. The act of Congress, on which Marbury based his appeal was ruled unconstitutional by Marshall.
With the Fletcher v. Peck case, a corrupt Georgia assembly had supposedly sold 35 million acres of land to private companies at bargain prices. Under Jefferson, a federal commission tried to clean up the mess by setting aside 5 million acres of the land for the innocent buyers who purchased land from the discredited companies.
Marshall’s Supreme Court upheld the rights of the original purchasers. The justices declared that legislative fraud did not impair private contracts and that the Georgia assembly of 1796 did not have the authority to take away lands sold to innocent buyers. This case upheld the Supreme Court’s authority to rule on the constitutionality of state laws.
And lastly, Marshall once again stuck to the words of the constitution protecting all Americans’ civil rights in the trail of Aaron Burr. Political interest in the case clearly found Burr guilty of treason. Marshall expressed the constitutional definition of treason and refused to listen to testimonies regarding Burr’s intentions.
Marshall wanted evidence submitted and ignored Jefferson’s pleas. Marshall and the Supreme Court jury found Burr not guilty by any evidence submitted. Marshall displayed the Constitution’s protection of civil rights regardless of political view. History Reports