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Poll: What did Thomas Jefferson stand for?(17 posts)

Poll: What did Thomas Jefferson stand for?OldEdScott
Aug 22, 2003 7:08 AM
Just give me a quick impression. (Lotterypick, free free to chime in with further zany adventures in pre-Enlightenment illogic).

Corollary question: Do you consider yourself a Jeffersonian?
Agrarianism. Freedom based on self sufficiency.Alex-in-Evanston
Aug 22, 2003 7:30 AM
I think he would have drilled the bejesus out of ANWAR.

life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness...mohair_chair
Aug 22, 2003 7:32 AM
I've forgotten so much about that era, but it seems to me that Jefferson was more enamored of the French Revolution (and all things French) than anyone else was. Power to the people, and all that. Of course, then he went off and bought Louisiana. Based on his earlier work (i.e., 1776), I'm not even sure Jefferson was a Jeffersonian President!
So he could then proceed to walk. (nm)Captain Morgan
Aug 22, 2003 7:42 AM
re: Poll: What did Thomas Jefferson stand for?Live Steam
Aug 22, 2003 7:53 AM
If he were alive today he would be a true right wing Republican. He was first and foremost a capitalist. He was a staunch defender of inalienable rights. This was probably where he placed his most determined efforts. Basic liberties were very important to him. He believed the government should have an extremely limited role in our day to day affairs - "laissez fair". He believed that the central function for the federal government was on an international level and that states should regulate themselves and for legislation that governed our day to day existence. He believed this because he felt that local government would know what was best for the community and that elected officials would have a closer tie to the same community. He distrusted the judiciary and didn't think they should hold the final say for interpreting the Constitution. He also believed that power corrupts. This may come from his understanding of himself :O)

Can I help you with something else Ed? I have to get back to some real work :O)
All true, as far as it goes (and dumping the characterization)OldEdScott
Aug 22, 2003 8:02 AM
but aren't you confusing 'capitalist' with 'libertarian?' Jefferson hated banks, bankers, investors, big business, Hamiltonians, money changers etc etc. Just looking for clarification, buddy ...
Well he certainly liked making moneyLive Steam
Aug 22, 2003 8:38 AM
and did that pretty well too. I think he disliked and distrusted institutions and their regulations. I think this is consistent with his distrust of government and of the governments role in our lives. He was certainly a capitalist from what I can tell.

Yeah he did have a hard-on for Hamilton, didn't he.
Landowners and slavery...MR_GRUMPY
Aug 22, 2003 8:00 AM
along with a few other things that would scare the hell out of most 21st century people.
In other words, a typical Republican.
Human intellect as the basis of governmentContinental
Aug 22, 2003 8:01 AM
Government free from dogma.

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

-Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.

-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787
Human intellect as the basis of governmentLive Steam
Aug 22, 2003 8:41 AM
"We have solved, by fair experiment, the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to Virginia Baptists, 1808. ME 16:320
"The constitutional freedom of religion [is] the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights." --Thomas Jefferson: Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes, 1819. ME 19:416

"Among the most inestimable of our blessings, also, is that... of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will; a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to John Thomas et al., 1807. ME 16:291

"In our early struggles for liberty, religious freedom could not fail to become a primary object." --Thomas Jefferson to Baltimore Baptists, 1808. ME 16:317

"Religion, as well as reason, confirms the soundness of those principles on which our government has been founded and its rights asserted." --Thomas Jefferson to P. H. Wendover, 1815. ME 14:283

"One of the amendments to the Constitution... expressly declares that 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,' thereby guarding in the same sentence and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press; insomuch that whatever violates either throws down the sanctuary which covers the others." --Thomas Jefferson: Draft Kentucky Resolutions, 1798. ME 17:382

"The rights [to religious freedom] are of the natural rights of mankind, and... if any act shall be... passed to repeal [an act granting those rights] or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right." --Thomas Jefferson: Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779. (*) ME 2:303, Papers 2:546
more ............Live Steam
Aug 22, 2003 8:43 AM
"I have ever thought religion a concern purely between our God and our consciences, for which we were accountable to Him, and not to the priests." --Thomas Jefferson to Mrs. M. Harrison Smith, 1816. ME 15:60

"From the dissensions among Sects themselves arise necessarily a right of choosing and necessity of deliberating to which we will conform. But if we choose for ourselves, we must allow others to choose also, and so reciprocally, this establishes religious liberty." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Religion, 1776. Papers 1:545

"Religion is a subject on which I have ever been most scrupulously reserved. I have considered it as a matter between every man and his Maker in which no other, and far less the public, had a right to intermeddle." --Thomas Jefferson to Richard Rush, 1813.

"I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Dowse, 1803. ME 10:378

"Our particular principles of religion are a subject of accountability to God alone. I inquire after no man's, and trouble none with mine." --Thomas Jefferson to Miles King, 1814. ME 14:198
more still............Live Steam
Aug 22, 2003 8:48 AM
"Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appears to me so pure as that of Jesus."

"I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; and believing he never claimed any other." Letter to Benjamin Rush, April 21, 1803

"I have always said, and will always say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make us better citizens."

He was consistent here too. He distrusted the establishment - both in church and state. He was however a believe and a practitioner.
Jefferson's BibleContinental
Aug 22, 2003 9:59 AM
He edited out the supernatural, the mystical, and the dogmatic to create an ethical document. He believed this was the true intent of Jesus.
I'm more of a Franklin man, but...dr hoo
Aug 22, 2003 9:17 AM
Gotta like Jefferson too.

"Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. "

First Inaugural Address. March 4, 1801.

A quick impression can't do the man justice.
Hey Ed why the interest in Jefferson?Live Steam
Aug 22, 2003 9:22 AM
The democrats aren't going to try and pawn off some candidate as a modern day Jefferson, are they? Is this a test run to see how people react and what their knowledge of Jefferson may be? :O)
Naw, just been reading "American Sphinx" andOldEdScott
Aug 22, 2003 10:32 AM
the contradictions of the man are fascinating. I believe both Left nand Right can claim to be in his lineage, and both could arguably be correct. He's a mythical figure in whom we can each see what we want.

Can't see him as a capitalist, though. He never made money (what he had was inherited, and along with the money he inherited hideous debt. He was a serious debtor most of his life, always teetering on the edge of insolvency. His spending habits didn't help).

Don't you mean the Dumocrats? You're slipping, Steam.

Besides, the General doesn't need any bogus mythology. He has his own, thank you.

Whooops ...
libertarian; yes nmDougSloan
Aug 23, 2003 4:13 PM