Thomas Jefferson's Vision

Jefferson believed government should take a limited role in the financial dealings of individuals and restrict itself to ensuring fair business practices and imposing taxes earmarked for specific public works projects.

In his own words:

Erie Canal ConstructionConstructing the Erie Canal

"The rich alone use imported articles, and on these alone the whole taxes of the general government are levied. the poor man who uses nothing but what is made in his own farm or family, or within his own country, pays not a farthing of tax to the general government, but on his salt: & should we go into that manufacture also, as is probable, he will pay nothing. our revenues liberated by the discharge of the public debt, & its surplus applied to canals roads, schools Etc. the farmer will see his government supported, his children educated, and the face of his country made a paradise, by the contributions of the rich alone, without his being called on to spare a cent from his earnings."
– Thomas Jefferson, 1811

An economic rescue plan:

Cod fishermenNew England Cod Fishermen

After New England’s cod trade was almost destroyed by the Revolution, Jefferson proposed a tax credit for cod vessels to help revive the industry but questioned if the credit should go to the cod boat owners or to the crews. In 1792, Congress passed a law mandating that five-eighths of the credit go to the crew, and three-eighths go to the owners.