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What we can learn from Thomas Jefferson

March 1, 2010

Our first Secretary of State and Third President, Thomas Jefferson

It’s unlikely that when General George Washington was picking his cabinet, he knew what kind of lasting impact it would leave on political ideology and political parties. Alexander Hamilton, the champion of the National Bank and the idea of assuming the state’s debt, was the Secretary of the Treasury. He was young, intelligent and cocky. And in cabinet meeting after cabinet meeting, he sparred with his counterpart and Secretary of State, the quiet red-headed lawyer/architect from Virginia, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was brilliant–quite possibly one of our more intelligent Presidents. He invented many useful household items, built his own house Monticello, assembled one of the most impressive and diverse gardens in North America and founded the University of Virginia. However, Thomas Jefferson is perhaps best known for his founding of one of the first political parties–the Democratic-Republicans, or the Anti-Federalists. These “Anti-Federalists” were just that–opposed to the strengthening of the Federal Government.

A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference. –Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson knew the type of tyranny Government could be. He was known for deep, philosophical points that made you think. One such point was this: the world should be governed by the living. So from where to we derive the right to make a set of laws that will be applied after we are all dead? Now, Thomas Jefferson knew some government was necessary. But he also believed that what a person does with their life and how they lived it was up to them. How a person lives should not be delegated to bureaucrats, but should be the choice of them and them solely. I’m sure that 300 years would not have changed Thomas Jefferson’s mind. If he were standing here today, he would, quietly but with conviction, let us know that whether or not one wants to buy healthcare should be up to that individual, not Barack Obama.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. –Thomas Jefferson

Liberty is, and was, a rare thing. When you really sit and think about the truly “free” countries, it doesn’t take very much thinking. Even in the time of Jefferon, greed and personal ambition and power drove people to get to the top and keep control and, as the saying goes–power corrupts. The new United States of America had a Government founded and based on personal liberty. However, Jefferson greatly feared, and rightly so, that one dictator could ruin everything they had worked so hard to create. How to apply this to today: as nice as the idea sounds that we could go freely draw blood from any tyrant when we felt our freedoms were infringed on, we can’t. What we can do, in place of drawing blood, is vote these tyrants out of office.Whenever we feel that our freedoms are being taken, we, not only can, but MUST vote them out of office. It’s our duty as American citizens and to do otherwise would be a direct slap in the face to all of our Founding Fathers who worked so hard and put their lives on the line to ensure those freedoms.

We can apply these lessons from Thomas Jefferson to today, to now. Our freedoms are being taken away piece by piece. Sorry about going all “Glenn Beck” on you, but these are the times that try men’s souls. With China and India catching up to us on the world stage, it’s our job to secure our rights and freedoms and ensure that America remains the best and most prosperous place to live, and the most powerful country in the world.


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