Many of today’s politicians from both sides of the aisle truly respect and often speak highly of our third President for many reasons. However, the average American has little or no knowledge of Jefferson’s true wisdom or many accomplishments. Let’s change that.
- One of the most influential Founding Fathers
- Principal author of the Declaration of Independence, 1776
- Second Governor of Virginia, 1779-1781
- U.S. Ambassador to France, 1785-1789
- First U.S. Secretary of State, 1789-1793
- Second Vice President of the U.S., 1797-1801
- Third President of the U.S., 1801-1809
- Founder of the University of Virginia
- The Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition took place during his presidency.
- As public official, historian, philosopher, famed inventor, plantation owner, accomplished surveyor, author, architect, and agriculturalist, he served his country for more than five decades.
- He died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Coincidentally, John Adams died the same day.
Jefferson distrusted cities and financiers, and favored states’ rights and a strictly limited federal government. He supported the separation of church and state and was the co-founder and leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, which dominated American politics for a quarter century.
Thomas Jefferson is remembered as one of the most brilliant men to ever inhabit the White House, whose views on individual freedom, religion, and education still influence today.
President John F. Kennedy once said to a assembled group of scholars in the White House, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House—with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”
To read Thomas Jefferson’s words today calls for us to pause at the thought that he knew exactly what we would be facing 183 years after his death. Here are a few of his observations:
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”
“When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”
This one may produce a few chills. Considering our present financial crisis, it’s interesting to read what Jefferson said in the year 1802:
“Banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
Rather prophetic wouldn’t you say?