Thomas Jefferson personified the contradictions in Republicanism: he despised
ceremonies and formality and dedicated himself to intellectual pursuits; at the same time, he was a politician to the core. He realized that his success as a president depended on close cooperation with Congress.
A. Jeffersonian Reforms
Jefferson gave top priority to cutting the federal debt and federal taxes. He
trimmed federal expenses, mainly by slashing military spending. Reduction of
the army had the further benefit of removing a threat to Republican government. Though badgered by loyal Republicans for political appointments, Jefferson retained only those bureaucrats he thought competent, no matter what their party. His refusal to purge Federalists hastened the demise of the Federalist party. Many of its members retired from public life, and the more ambitious of them, like John Quincy Adams, became Republicans.