Important lessons from President Jefferson to President Obama
Important lessons from President Jefferson to President Obama – Congress, Presidency, Courts, and Bureaucracy
Lessons from Jefferson
History, and more so a country’s history is usually very important for its future, as it usually in a way, provides a functional blueprint for subsequent administrations. By following precedent, most administrations actually create baseline behavior that ensures the survival of appropriate governance behavior. This also ensures that subsequent Presidents remain aware of the responsibility that awaits them once they take the oath of office. Further basing current actions on the past serves to allay anxiety, by ensuring that citizens as well as any high ranking government employees are aware of what to expect, regardless of who is in power. As such, basing current practice on successful approaches of the past would in my opinion be a very shrewd way of ensuring that government is as effective as it has been or has the capability to be.
One regime that current President Obama can definitely borrow from, is the Thomas Jefferson regime. As a President, Thomas Jefferson’s performance remains to date as a model worth emulating. The President effectively utilized Congress, the Presidency, the Courts and the bureaucracy to create a legacy that has lasted more than two centuries. The impressive manner with which Jefferson reached to all arms of government to create an impressively effective government capable of meeting the people’s demands while at the same time maintaining its role in ensuring that the welfare of the citizens is well taken care of, while at the same time those charged with taking care of these needs are also significantly happy with their situation. The main objective behind Jefferson’s governance is one that must be borrowed by all regimes: securing the greatest degree of happiness of not just the general masses, but also those associated under it. Jefferson was therefore willing, based on this primary objective, to seek out and to engage in all measures possible to realize the happiness of the general masses, including wooing the support of congress, establishing a strong judiciary, motivating the bureaucrats and offering strong leadership through a strong Presidency.
President Jefferson realized the fact that political competition does not in any way negate the common goal that leaders have to satisfy the needs of their constituents and as a result lead to the happiness of the electorate. As a result, President Jefferson, out of the realization that achieving his administrations objectives would require the full cooperation of congress regardless of party affiliations went on a charm offensive leading to the passage of key legislations that helped his administration realize a number of its goals. Key to achieving this cooperation were strong leadership skills exhibited by President Jefferson, who was able to effectively garner support for his doctrine on the main role of government as being the guardian of the liberties enjoyed by citizens, as well as the main protagonist in the quest for the happiness of all citizens. Jefferson was ideally act as a common unifying factor capable of uniting not just the citizens as a symbol of unity and hope, but also congress , to the extent that a significant majority felt persuaded to follow the example followed by the president. Through the creation of a significantly strong legislature and household name, President Jefferson was able to restore the hope that a significant majority within the senate and house of representatives had in electing officials. President Jefferson created a united congress within which the party one supported during the elections became nothing more than just simple history. A number of members of congress bought into the idea being sold to them by President Jefferson, and as a result, a number opted to support what he stood for, as the president of the United States of America, rather than simply a president fronting a partisan agenda aimed at achieving particular selfish need. Even the members of the two houses of parliament recognized the importance of Jefferson’s agenda for the country hence approved it without considerations of party lines or political loyalty.
There is a need for the Obama administration to reach out to other political competitors in order to make them realize that once President Obama was re-elected, partisan interests that most of the congress must then give way to nationalistic values and sacrifice on behalf of the constituents. One of the greatest challenges and hindrances to the Obama administration has always been a divided house. It is time that the power of the presidency was reawakened and fully utilized to marshall up support for government bills that both sides agree could be key to fulfilling promises made to the public. President Obama must rise above party interests and project the national unity that is currently being sought after, by reigning in a rogue congress incapable of functioning efficiently. The presidency must regain its lost glory, with the president exercising or displaying the charisma that won him the seat in the first place. Rather than simply signing the bills, the president similar to President Jefferson, must roll up his sleeves and display the strong leadership that is sorely lacking ensuring that congress fulfills its mandate to the people of the United States.
Liberty is one of the easy ways to attaining social systems and having the ability to control political problems. According to President Jefferson, people are generally attracted to each other can diminish individual liberty without physical systems. Strengthening equal rights will draw society and individuals towards the common good and therefore assist in fighting social injustices such as corruption and unequal practices. By allowing individual rightful liberty, will limit people infringing the liberty of others and therefore the United States government should not only embrace political philosophies and social systems but strive to active individual dependence. By allowing individual dependence, Jefferson argues that leaders should understand that it will free dependencies especially that which is caused by banking and other royal influences. With the help of the courts and other scientific influences, Jefferson builds the idea that individual liberty can assist a leader counter some of the challenges that face a country which are brought about by unequal treatments and infringing of other individual’s liberty.
By placing extra emphasizes on using the courts to uphold individual liberty though bill of rights and or strengthening the powers of the supreme courts, a president is actually recreating a balance between states and federal government. Other presidents such as Barrack can learn from Jefferson’s actions and decisions, that harmonizing the states and federal government can easily be achieved through focusing of individual rights. Therefore, current leaders should understand that liberty can only be managed and retained in small homogenous groups. As President Jefferson believed federalist system should be encouraged because it does not only improve royalty to the authority but also acts as the patronage to corruption and dependence (Lang 89). Strengthening individuals may be contradictory to the supremacy of the courts with the assistance of law or offer contradictory statement but rather provide reasonable belief in government performance and political participation essential for government political debates and democracy.
In the struggle to maintain democracy leaders should consider the federal government as well as the bureaucracies, who may not be actively involved in the maintenance of constitution statement. Jefferson’s reduction of federal bureaucracy received too many criticisms because it was viewed to be an action that opposed the upholding the rules of the constitution. Even so, he continued to encourage abolishment of federal bureaucracy meaning that he was advocating for reforms that would call for cutting down taxes and reducing the army by about 50%. By doing so, leaders are in a better position to prohibit bias laws, maintain right of arms using federal territories as well as prohibit any acts the deprive liberty and illegal property acquisition ( Jon 349).
In conclusion, President Obama can learn a lot from the decisions and actions of the previous president, Thomas Jefferson. By following his decisions regarding presidency, courts, congress and bureaucracy he can confidently attain loyalty through attaining American democracy. President Jeffesson leadership encourages self determination, expresiion of societies as well as cultural uniformity and education for each and everyone which are some of the strong pillars to democracy. Though some multiracial republic may not assimilate all republican values abolishing some unjust reforms such as any form of slavery and allowing free press will assist in depicting leadership that allows personalized American ideas.
Lang, Stephen, The Complete Book of Presidential Trivia, Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna, 2011
The Presidents of the United States. 17th April 2013. Retrieved from
Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power part VII-IX (pp. 347-506).