Founding Fathers Blog

Thomas Jefferson – What Would He Think of Our Country Now?

July 1st, 2011

It would be interesting to hear what Thomas Jefferson would have to say about his country now, 235 years after he penned his immortal document, The Declaration of Independence. I believe in some ways he would be pleased. In others he would be chagrined and very disappointed.

Tom would be disappointed to see what has become of our political system and electioneering. The backbiting, the half-truths, the promises made just to get elected. Then the broken promises. He experienced some of that when he was President, of course. He was slandered by James Callendar when Jefferson refused to include James as a member of his group of advisers in his cabinet.

Tom would be dismayed at the total size and cost of government now. When he was President, he eliminated the deficit, reduced the cost and burden of government, and did away with many taxes and unneeded government workers. At the same time he doubled the size of the country with the Louisiana Purchase and removed the threat of the Barbary pirates with the new navy.

Tom, the inventor, would love our modern technology. His “laptop” consisted of a portable wooden desk on which he drafted the Declaration of Independence with a quill pen. His only “mouse” was the one who ate his cheese before breakfast. Tom would have to have an IPAD, and IPHONE, and an Apple (computer). He would love to travel by car, train and plane to see his beloved America.

Tom would be disturbed by how coarse and uncivil our public discourse has become. He believed Americans should always be bettering themselves, culturally, educationally, and civilly. And not debasing themselves with lewd and profane words and situations.

Tom’s three favorite freedoms were the rights of the citizens as described in his Declaration of Independence (have you read it lately?), the freedom of Religion as promoted by his bill in Virginia, and freedom of Education as illustrated by his newly created University of Virginia at Charlottesville. You may recognize these feelings because of what he directed to be engraved on his tombstone. These were the accomplishments for which he wanted to be remembered. These were written on his grave marker when he died on the 50th anniversary of the unanimous acceptance of his Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1826.

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