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Great Presidents Who Made GREAT BIG Mistakes

By Clark Aycock Nov 19, 2013

8 of 9

Jefferson, 3rd president

The success of the Louisiana Purchase made Jefferson think he could manipulate warring European countries for the benefit of the US. But he angered the French and the British separately, and they both cracked down on trade from the US. Jefferson's reaction? Ban all foreign trade from the US. That'll show 'em! He thought the other countries depended too heavily on US trade. But he thought wrong. They had stockpiled goods and encouraged bootlegging to get around the ban, and his decision in the end only hurt the American traders.

Tags: history, slideshows, embarrassing things, presidents, big mistakes

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