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Jeffersonian democracy

[(jef-uhr-soh-nee-uhn)]

A movement for more democracy in American government in the first decade of the nineteenth century. The movement was led by President Thomas Jefferson. Jeffersonian democracy was less radical than the later Jacksonian democracy. For example, where Jacksonian democracy held that the common citizen was the best judge of measures, Jeffersonian democracy stressed the need for leadership by those of greatest ability, who would be chosen by the people.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.