Thomas Jefferson

Before becoming president, Thomas Jefferson was a strong critic of a centralized federal government and a person who believed in a strict constitution. Once in office, Jefferson changed his attitude towards these issues. Even though many of his contradictions were good for our country, Jefferson still went against the principles that helped him get elected.
The most devastating of Jefferson's contradictions were those that involved the issue of slavery. This was a man who wrote in our most sacred national document "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Yet, Jefferson is reported to have owned hundreds slaves at one time. It was also discovered that one of the female slaves he owned, Sally Hemmings, was his long standing mistress with which he fathered at least one child. Even though these facts were not hidden, it was hardly common knowledge until the past couple of decades. And in our age, where civil rights have become most important to us, finding this out about one of our most revered heroes cuts deep at our pride as a nation.
Jefferson also was hypocritical in his acquisition of the Louisiana territory. In Jeffersonian principles, large expansive governments were bad and small were good. Jefferson knew that the purchase of the Louisiana territory was beneficial to the welfare of the U.S. And although he was a strong advocate for a strict interpretation of the Constitution (a view in accordance with his belief in decentralized power), he bent the federal rules to buy the Louisiana Purchase (Doc A). He favored a strict construction of the Constitution and worried about excessive presidential power, yet as President he acquired Louisiana Territory without prior congressional authorization and ruled it like a monarch (Doc C). Since the appropriation of the Louisiana territory was important...