Lives, Attitudes and Presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson

  Leadership Paper

Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson once served as Presidents of the United States of America. The two leaders had similar and contrasting views concerning various issues during their reigns as Presidents. Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States but the first elected President of the country. Jefferson bought Louisiana from France and he is also the author of the declaration of American Independence. He also passed a bill that stopped importation of slaves into the United States. Many Americans remember Jefferson as one of the greatest Presidents of the United States. Andrew Jackson is known by Americans as a strong democratic President. Jackson was the seventh President of the United States who protected democracy and liberty in the country, and pushed for the passage of the Indian Removal Act. Jackson was strongly against the central bank during his reign as the President of the United States1.

Both Jefferson and Jackson supported the views of the American people and worked hard to inspire them. According to Jefferson, egalitarian citizens are eligible for office as this was the major way through which democracy could be strengthened. Similarly, Jackson believed that egalitarian citizens empowered democracy. In addition, both Jefferson and Jackson owned slaves with the only source of difference being their views on slavery. Jefferson associated slavery with evil and believed that it is something that would soon come to an end. Conversely, Jackson did not have any specific views about slavery.

Another similarity between Jefferson and Jackson is on their economic views. Both Jefferson and Jackson supported state banks viewed in Jackson’s opposition of the United States Bank and Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana from the French. Moreover, both Jefferson and Jackson had negative attitudes towards Native Americans. The two leaders never viewed Native Americans as equals. Again, both Jefferson and Jackson had similar views concerning the election process. The two Presidents had similar experiences concerning the election process despite the fact that they had been elected Presidents in different ways. The two leaders believed that a candidate had to have a majority of popular votes in order to be declared a winner.

The leadership effectiveness of Jefferson and Jackson can be compared based on the differences in their political, economic, and social views during their reigns as American Presidents. An effective leader is one who produces results that are desired by his or her followers. One of the main differences in the political views of the two leaders was on the voting requirements in the two democracies. During Jefferson’s democracy, property requirement had to be met for a man to be allowed to vote and only educated persons were supposed to be given the opportunity to rule as they were believed to possess management skills. However, property requirement had been eliminated during Jackson’s democracy. Jackson believed that all white men were capable of holding office irrespective of whether one owned property or not. Unlike Jefferson whose policies did not give all American equal voting opportunities, Jackson tried to promote equality among American voters.

In addition, Jefferson and Jackson had contrasting opinions about education. According to Jefferson, an educated nation is capable of governing itself and he pushed for the passage of the Bill of Education. The main reason behind the passage of this bill was to assist the poor people to attain education. Jefferson believed that every person needed to attend elementary school and if possible, every person should possess college level of education. Jackson however opposed the issue of education claiming that public education hampered the freedom of religion. In Jackson’s opinion, education interfered with parental guidance and made people to ignore instructions that they received from the society. Jackson recognized the importance of parental instruction in the future lives of America citizens6. Furthermore, Jefferson feared the impacts of industrialization claiming that it would interfere with the interests of farmers. On the contrary, Jackson strongly supported industrialization arguing that it contributed greatly to national development.

Jefferson and Jackson also differed in their foreign accomplishments. During Jefferson’s reign, all European trades were banned from the American ports because France and Britain had violated the neutrality of the United States. It is during Jefferson’s time when the United States economy was negatively impacted by the Embargo Act. As Jefferson’s actions devastated the United States economy, Jackson’s moved enhanced growth of the United States economy. One of Jackson’s moves that positively impacted the American economy is successful negotiation of the shipping rights in 1830 by the British West Indies.

In conclusion, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson played very important roles in building a very strong democracy in the United States. The two leaders had similar views concerning the role played by American citizens in building a strong democracy, ownership of slaves, economic views, as well as concerning election processes. However, the two leaders had different opinions concerning political, economic, and social issues. Comprehensive analysis of these differences reveal that Jackson was a more effective leader than Jefferson because he promoted equality among American voters, enhanced economic growth, and recognized the importance of parental instruction in shaping the future lives of American citizens.

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