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Jefferson's Leap of Faith: the Embargo Acts of 1807-1809 as a Failure of Jeffersonian Ideology

Description: Thomas Jefferson's political ideology centered on the importance of individual liberty and choice for the common person. Activities throughout his career were grounded on this concept. It is interesting, therefore, that events during the final years of his presidency appear to have prompted him to abandon this philosophy in favor of a more pragmatic, less democratic, approach. The embargo acts which Congress passed at Jefferson's request in between December 1807 and January 1809 outlawed all foreign commercial activities and provided harsh penalties for violations. The president's failure to communicate publicly the reasons he believed these drastic measures were required stand in stark contrast to his political philosophy and left a cloud over his presidency when he left office.
Date: December 1994
Creator: Hamilton, James M. (James Milburn)
Partner: UNT Libraries