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Domestic and Foreign Policy Issues of Jefferson and Madison

Domestic and Foreign Policy Issues of Jefferson and Madison

During the course of the years, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison dealt with major domestic and foreign policies. These policies helped shape the way for the United States of America. Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States between 1743-1826. He was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. James Madison was the fourth President of the United States between 1808-1817 and the Father of the Constitution.

Thomas Jefferson’s accession to the presidency is notable in American history because it marked the first transfer of national authority from one political group to another, and it is especially significant that, despite Federalist obstructionism for a time, the transition was effected by peaceful and strictly constitutional means. Furthermore, Jefferson and the Republicans felt the federal judiciary constituted a branch of the opposing party. The Republicans repealed the Judiciary Act of 1801 with his full approval. But he was rebuked by Chief Justice John Marshall in the famous case of Marbury v. Madison (1803) for withholding the commission of a Late-hour appointee as justice of the peace. The most notable policy of Jefferson’s presidency was the purchase of Louisiana in 1803. His concerns for the free navigation of the Mississippi River had caused him, while secretary of state, to assume a more belligerent tone toward Spain, which controlled the mouth of the river, than toward any other nation. Meanwhile, Jefferson had to deal with the conspiracy of former Vice President Aaron Burr. He took steps in the fall of 1806 that led to the seizure of most of Burr’s boats on the Mississippi. American commerce was caught in the crossfire between British Order in Council and Napoleonic decrees. Recognizing the impossibility of coping with both blockades, but determined not to take sides in this conflict and convinced that peace was in the best interest of his young country, Jefferson and his government sought to safeguard American life and shipping and to bring pressure on the rival powers by suspending commerce. The embargo, adopted in December 1807 and strengthen by later legislation, was regarded by Jefferson as the only alternative to war and submission. The act barred all exports to Britain and France.

During the first years of Madison’s administration, the United States prohibited...

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