I'm not a big Thomas Jefferson fan. Even Jefferson was not all bad, however. In these days of multi-trillion dollar deficits and unread thousand-page bills funneling hundreds of billions to corrupt special interests, this passage from Gordon S. Wood's Empire of Liberty struck a chord:
Each year of his presidency [Jefferson] habitually called for further reductions in the [federal] debt. If the public debt were not extinguished, he warned [Albert] Gallatin in 1809, "we shall be committed to the English career of debt, corruption and rottenness, closing with revolution. The discharge of the debt, therefore, is vital to the destinies of our government."
By 1810, even with the $15 million in cash and claims spent on the Louisiana Purchase, the Republicans had reduced the federal debt to half of the $80 million it had been when they took office.