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  • All Honor to Jefferson

    Thomas Jefferson

    Today we celebrate the birthday of the man who united the colonies with mere parchment and pen. As we remember the legacy of Thomas Jefferson, we commemorate the document that embodies the principles of America.

    At the age of thirty-three, Thomas Jefferson accepted the challenge of writing the Declaration of Independence. John Adams insisted that Jefferson was the one for the job, because, Adams admitted, “I am obnoxious, suspected, and unpopular… [and] you can write ten times better than I can.” Many delegates wondered if the colonists could join together to defend themselves against Britain. Such unity would be possible with the right statement of purpose. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson harmonized the dissenting voices echoing across the colonies. The self-evident truths rang from the swamps of Charleston to the sea-ports of Connecticut.

    Jefferson not only united the colonists, but he gave future generations a clear vision of the purpose of government. His succinct statement of principles resonated with the delegates of Philadelphia as they crafted a new Constitutional government. The principles proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and promulgated by the Constitution still define us as a nation and inspires us as a people.

    Jefferson boasts an impressive resume—including Governor of Virginia, Minister to France, Secretary of State, and United States President. But, as his gravestone enshrines, the Declaration was his greatest legacy. Perhaps nature knew Jefferson’s attachment to the parchment; for on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration, he passed away proclaiming, “It is the Fourth!”

    Brittany Baldwin currently is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/internships-young-leaders/the-heritage-foundation-internship-program

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to All Honor to Jefferson

    1. George Colgrove VA says:

      Jefferson was of a class that showed restraint when it came to governing, unlike the ruling class in DC today.

      Jefferson was opposed to federal power and big government. He had an inherent distrust of government, and even when he obtained power, he never went back on that.

      Jefferson oppose a standing army as he felt a powerful military would cause mischief with liberty and freedom. However, he was not opposed to assembling a military when needed, as can be seen when we fought Tripoli. When he could not suppress the military, he capitulated and then called for compulsory service so that as Obama puts it, everyone had "skin in the game". As it was the military beat out Jefferson. We can see what Jefferson was talking about with our current military industrial complex. Only it is worse than he ever feared. His concerns were for the nation, but I do not think he ever consider the global scale of a run-away defense department.

      Jefferson understood the dangers of big government and reading his writings today is fundamental in understanding the errors we have made in recent times with where we have let the ruling class take us, with entitlements, excessive defense spending, education and so on.

      Jefferson, together with Madison and Washington can be good teachers today in getting us back to where we need to be.

    2. Tommy M. says:

      A scholarly written article, as always. I would expect nothing less of the Heritage foundation!

    3. Trent, Phoenix, AZ says:

      He was definitly an incredible man. Ever since i have been getting really into history Jefferson and others have really started to catch my eye. Lately I have thought the dinner party i would most like to attend is a dinner with Jefferson, Madison, Adams and Hamilton. I would love to listen and watch those guys argue about what should be done with the United States.

    4. Trent Anson, USA says:

      A truely amazing man!

    5. greg thor says:

      Sad that men like he are persecuted for such radical thought today

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