By Stephanie P. Newbold
Learn of Thomas Jefferson's legacy in public management.
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Additional info for All but Forgotten: Thomas Jefferson and the Development of Public Administration
11 Soon after the election, the president began thinking about ways to organize and structure executive departments. 12 Jefferson began this correspondence by noting: Coming all of us into Executive office new, and unfamiliar with the course of business previously practised [sic], it was not expected we should in the first outset adopt, in every part, a line of proceeding so perfect as to admit no amendment. The mode and degrees of communication particularly between the President and heads of departments have not been practised [sic] exactly on the same rule in all of them.
His meticulous attention to detail,25 his correspondence with his departmental secretaries, and his focus on political and administrative matters affecting the policy agenda he set forth at the beginning of his presidency reveals how Jefferson’s mind expanded so that he could develop his administrative thinking as much as he had done with his speculative pursuits. The Decrease of the National Debt Decreasing the national debt was of critical importance to Jefferson. His administration disregarded Hamilton’s fiscal policy achievements in their entirety and maintained that the nation should not rely on controlled debt to grow the economy, which was the case under Washington and Adams.
One of the most productive ways Jefferson influenced the legislative process was using Gallatin and Madison as political liaisons between himself and Congress. Throughout the course of the administration: The concept of the separation of executive and legislative powers which governed the actions of the President and the Congress, at least formally and officially, did not prevail in the same manner in the relations between members of the Cabinet and of Congress. While the President felt compelled to keep his role in the drafting of legislation confidential, there was little similar compulsion felt by Cabinet officers.