Although Thomas Jefferson originally supported the idea of a strong federal government, he resigned from President George Washington's cabinet in 1793 mainly because of his strong opposition to the Federalist views of Alexander Hamilton, particularly with regard to the funding of war debts. Jefferson's anonymous drafting of the Kentucky Resolution was one of the first written declarations of states' rights and was an attempt to prove that the 1793 Federalist-backed Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional. Jefferson fully rejected the concept of implied powers, which held that the federal government could exercise any powers not explicitly forbidden in the United States Constitution.Continue Reading
Thomas Jefferson became the third president of the United States in 1801 and quickly replaced former Federalist appointees with members of his own Democratic-Republican Party. As president, he concentrated primarily on foreign affairs and permitted the states to make their own decisions in matters of local governance. At the start of his administration, Jefferson repealed the whiskey excise and other federal taxes, shut down what he felt were unnecessary government offices and began to dismantle the previous Federalist fiscal system that was set up by Alexander Hamilton.
Jefferson's goal was to prevent the establishment of an American aristocracy that bore any resemblance to the British monarchy that the United States had fought in the Revolutionary War. His advocacy of states' rights and a federal government that did not interfere in local governance was a doctrine that some state governments interpreted as a right to secede from the union in the political disputes that led up to the civil war.Learn more about US History