2188 HIST 1311
September 24, 2018
The context that had created and supported the Jeffersonian world view disappeared by the mid-nineteenth century, prompted by a shift toward an economy based on commerce, manufacturing, and larger scale agricultural endeavors. What is your best explanation for why this change took place? What impact did this change have upon the ethics and civics of what it meant to be an American? Be sure to consider change over time and geographical differences in your analysis.
The evolution of the Jeffersonian worldview was unavoidable, and it compelled the destruction of ethics in the economic and political activities attributed to that era. The Jeffersonian worldview, based on republicanism and anti-elitism, opposed political corruption, and gave preference to the yeoman farmer and to the everyday working man. This was the foundation to the American democracy, and the catalyst to its economy. The action of previous worldwide governments forced the Republicans to be opposed against merchants, bankers and to gain a distrust for the workers who worked in the factories. However, with time, the framework of the yeomen farmer doctrine started losing steam due to the flourishing of the principles of Jefferson’s political party’s opposing party.
The change has long been accredited to a series of events and decisions, including the fact that Jefferson insisted in his western expansion method where the hard work of farmers would enable them to acquire more land and further lead to the expansion of their operations, and to incorporate technology at the household level. This failed because poverty had grasped the ordinary American who could not afford to integrate technology or buy more farming land. This reason caused people to be liable to the new industrial sector which was against Jefferson’s ideals. With time, people abandoned the household agrarian practices and entered the now flourishing economic world because it posed easier and faster ways of acquiring income in the future income-oriented world. Additionally, most of the people that worked in the farms were slaves and therefore any chance to leave the farms was readily accepted, and those that went joined the economic sector.
During the War of 1812, the blockades proved that America was not self-sufficient.
The American System developed after the war with Great Britain proved the country lacked the maturity required to be economically viable. The inability of Congress to tax, pay their bills, properly supply the army, or unwillingness to retaliate against mercantilist European empires further reinforced the countries immaturity. The country quickly realized that relying solely on farming held the country prisoner to other outside forces, and it placed them in a huge predicament if they were unable to sell their crops to one of the more mature countries. This inherent risks forced the country to reevaluate its options, and to move towards a more self-sufficient economy and to transition the American System in to a more industrialized nation.
The developing industrial sector diversified geographical operations and led to the establishment of infrastructure in the lands previously used for agricultural practices. This productive new way of life was irresistible as it created more opportunities due to its expansive nature as compared to agriculture which was an involving process that relied on natural factors such as weather patterns and fertility of farms. This encroachment significantly led to the deserting of agriculture and to participate in the now readily available economic industry. Also, the principles of Jefferson ignored the fact that the prosperity of agriculture was attributed to slaves as they worked in the wealthiest and most prospering lands. This fact flawed his principles of equality as it diminished slaves as not full citizens of the republic which implied that not all the citizen were comfortable with his ways of ruling and therefore an option, in this case, industrialization, was readily accepted.
The correct definition of an American during Jefferson’s reign meant a morally upright person that opposed all forms of aristocracy including corruption with a preference of agrarian practices rather than industrial. The industrial change, the ethics were eroded because to thrive in the competitive economic world, sinful acts such as cheating and corruption were a common practice. In day to day business, people looked for favors for the rare opportunities and due to competition, went to further lengths such as bribery to acquire the chances. According to Lipson, Corruption was exposed in the government as officials pursued their interests to be able to acquire a place in the booming economy.
All in all, Jefferson’s democratic doctrine consisted of both successes and failures. In the success ideal, Jefferson was able to establish a basis for democracy for Americans in that citizens had equal rights and had equal exposure to opportunities. His efforts facilitated the transition from small-scale agriculture to large-scale production. However, his ideas were flawed as he ignored the economic aspect that was quickly encroaching which would have facilitated in the raising of standards of the common American.