Conservative Political Forum

General Category => The Constitution => Topic started by: AlfredDrake on December 12, 2014, 07:32:04 PM

Title: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 12, 2014, 07:32:04 PM
Thomas Jefferson said that the government that governs least governs best.  Does that mean that the government that doesn't govern at all governs perfectly?  If not, then how much?  Is it defined in the Constitution including all the amendments?  Does it include Article I Section 8 giving Congress the right to establish post roads and post offices?
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: daidalos on December 13, 2014, 04:51:58 AM
Jefferson like many of the founders felt that individual liberty and freedom, is a good thing, and something which if not guarded against, government will always seek to curtail and suppress.

Jefferson believed, (rightly so) that the more individual liberty, freedom and personal responsibility a society has, the less government it needs.

And know what, as Obama and his fellow dims exemplify, as other historical examples show, he and his fellow founders were right

If given the chance government, even a "democratic one" (hate it when our Republic is called a democracy pet peeve rant over) such as ours, will always seek to accumulate power to itself, even if it has to do so, at the expense of the rights of it's own citizen's in order to do so.

Interestingly enough, many history profs, and most public schools won't tell their student's that there is a difference between the two.

Because they want to hide the fact that when discussing Jefferson and the ideology he and his fellows ascribed too. That the "kind" of Democrat Jefferson was, is NOT the same political animal as the Democrats we see today.

They both might be called "Democrats" but that is where the similarity just about ends.

What the "Democrats" of Jefferson's day were.

Politically, and ideologically, were more akin to our Tea Party really, or maybe the more conservative members of the GOP than the "Democrat's" of today.

The Dims of today are ideologically and politically more akin to the Third Reich of WWII or the Soviet model post WWII.

More so than a "Democrat" of Jefferson's era.

:cool:

Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 13, 2014, 06:34:31 AM
Jefferson like many of the founders felt that individual liberty and freedom, is a good thing, and something which if not guarded against, government will always seek to curtail and suppress.

Jefferson believed, (rightly so) that the more individual liberty, freedom and personal responsibility a society has, the less government it needs.

And know what, as Obama and his fellow dims exemplify, as other historical examples show, he and his fellow founders were right

If given the chance government, even a "democratic one" (hate it when our Republic is called a democracy pet peeve rant over) such as ours, will always seek to accumulate power to itself, even if it has to do so, at the expense of the rights of it's own citizen's in order to do so.

Interestingly enough, many history profs, and most public schools won't tell their student's that there is a difference between the two.

Because they want to hide the fact that when discussing Jefferson and the ideology he and his fellows ascribed too. That the "kind" of Democrat Jefferson was, is NOT the same political animal as the Democrats we see today.

They both might be called "Democrats" but that is where the similarity just about ends.

What the "Democrats" of Jefferson's day were.

Politically, and ideologically, were more akin to our Tea Party really, or maybe the more conservative members of the GOP than the "Democrat's" of today.

The Dims of today are ideologically and politically more akin to the Third Reich of WWII or the Soviet model post WWII.

More so than a "Democrat" of Jefferson's era.

:cool:
Jefferson believed, (rightly so) that the more individual liberty, freedom and personal responsibility a society has, the less government it needs.
 
I agree.  The discussion I'm looking for here is the following:  If we are all completely free to do whatever we want without any regard to anyone else, that's anarchy.  So it seems to me that the more personal responsibility people have  to the society they live in, the less government they need.  I might like your car, but I can't just take it.  To live in a society I need to be responsible and not steal your car.  If everyone in the society was responsible like that, we wouldn't need a law against stealing cars.  But we're not likely to live in that Utopia any time soon, so back to my question.  What is the appropriate level of government?  Whatever it is, it's not what we have now --agreed.  What is it?  Is it the Constitution as it stands today?  Then we never need to amend it again.  If not, then it's a living document that may need to have something put in it and other things taken out.  I'm looking for help here.  I want all the freedom and liberty I can have and still live in a complex society where you can have all the freedom and liberty you want.  How do we do that?

Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 13, 2014, 07:22:42 AM
Ok, I think my question has already been answered below.  I'll have to think more about this discussion.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: zewazir on December 14, 2014, 03:16:35 PM
Of note is that Thomas Jefferson was, essentially, an anti-federalist. He was of the opinion that the Constitution was not needed; that a few relatively minor modifications to the Articles of Confederation would have been adequate to address the problems the fledgeling nation was facing, the worst of which was getting the individual states to cooperate more with each other in the face of mutual distrust. Jefferson did not take part in the Constitutional Convention, being in France at the time, though he did correspond with several of the delegates to the Convention and is noted to have had some significant influence. When appointed to be Secretary of State under Washington, Jefferson conflicted frequently with Hamilton, who was then Secretary of Treasury as to the role and authority of the newly founded federal government. In fact, Jefferson was a primary influence in the formation of the Democratic-Republican party in 1792, which was formed to oppose the federalization taking place under Hamilton's guidance in the Treasury Department. Hamilton, together with a number of influential bankers and businessmen, formed the Federalist Party in 1794.

The Federalist Party won the first round on points when Adams defeated Jefferson in the election of 1796. Under the original wording of the Constitution, this meant Jefferson, the second-place candidate, became Vice to a presidency he did not support. The major political difference between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans came to a head when Adams invoked the Alien and Sedition Acts, a move which seemingly justified Jefferson's stance on the dangers of too much federal authority. Jefferson defeated Adams in the election of 1800. Jefferson was unsuccessful in convincing congress to repeal most of the authority-growing legislation enacted under Washington (as influenced by Hamilton and his banker buddies) and Adams. If fact, Jefferson is criticized by a number of historians as somewhat of a hypocrite, with Jefferson's use of federal authority in commerce by signing the Embargo Act of 1807.

But in the end, there is little doubt that Jefferson was a major proponent in keeping the majority of governmental authority within the states themselves, and holding the federal government to minimal roles of national defense, interstate transportation, international relations, and, when needed, general mediator between the states.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 14, 2014, 03:35:26 PM
Of note is that Thomas Jefferson was, essentially, an anti-federalist. He was of the opinion that the Constitution was not needed; that a few relatively minor modifications to the Articles of Confederation would have been adequate to address the problems the fledgeling nation was facing, the worst of which was getting the individual states to cooperate more with each other in the face of mutual distrust. Jefferson did not take part in the Constitutional Convention, being in France at the time, though he did correspond with several of the delegates to the Convention and is noted to have had some significant influence. When appointed to be Secretary of State under Washington, Jefferson conflicted frequently with Hamilton, who was then Secretary of Treasury as to the role and authority of the newly founded federal government. In fact, Jefferson was a primary influence in the formation of the Democratic-Republican party in 1792, which was formed to oppose the federalization taking place under Hamilton's guidance in the Treasury Department. Hamilton, together with a number of influential bankers and businessmen, formed the Federalist Party in 1794.

The Federalist Party won the first round on points when Adams defeated Jefferson in the election of 1796. Under the original wording of the Constitution, this meant Jefferson, the second-place candidate, became Vice to a presidency he did not support. The major political difference between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans came to a head when Adams invoked the Alien and Sedition Acts, a move which seemingly justified Jefferson's stance on the dangers of too much federal authority. Jefferson defeated Adams in the election of 1800. Jefferson was unsuccessful in convincing congress to repeal most of the authority-growing legislation enacted under Washington (as influenced by Hamilton and his banker buddies) and Adams. If fact, Jefferson is criticized by a number of historians as somewhat of a hypocrite, with Jefferson's use of federal authority in commerce by signing the Embargo Act of 1807.

But in the end, there is little doubt that Jefferson was a major proponent in keeping the majority of governmental authority within the states themselves, and holding the federal government to minimal roles of national defense, interstate transportation, international relations, and, when needed, general mediator between the states.

We talk about the Founding Fathers in hushed tones and the constitution as a nearly sacred document.  Were the Federalists Founding Fathers and were the Articles of Confederation more sacred?  Was the constitution a redo to make the system work or the result of a conspiracy?
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: Solar on December 14, 2014, 04:27:54 PM
We talk about the Founding Fathers in hushed tones and the constitution as a nearly sacred document.  Were the Federalists Founding Fathers and were the Articles of Confederation more sacred?  Was the constitution a redo to make the system work or the result of a conspiracy?
Who's this "WE" shit? By that statement, you assume responsibility for other posters, always speak for yourself "Only" when posting.
And I suggest you study the Federalist Papers first.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: zewazir on December 14, 2014, 05:02:28 PM
We talk about the Founding Fathers in hushed tones and the constitution as a nearly sacred document.  Were the Federalists Founding Fathers and were the Articles of Confederation more sacred?  Was the constitution a redo to make the system work or the result of a conspiracy?
Dunno about you, but I talk about the Constitution, and the Founding Fathers, both Federalist and Anti-Federalists, in a clear, firm, and, if necessary, loud manner.  The Constitution was written in response to the fact that the nation under the Articles of Confederation was rapidly falling apart. There were those who desired to patch up the deficiencies in the Articles, but the faction which believed a new start was preferable won the prevailing opinion. "Conspiracy"?  Since the Constitutional Convention was proposed above board, and all the state legislatures were invited to appoint and send delegates to represent the interests of each respective state, then it must have been the most open conspiracy in history.

There are those, like Thomas Jefferson, who were of the opinion that the Constitution ended up granting too much authority to a single central government. Other prevailing opinions worried that rights and liberties were not adequately protected, and the ratification of several of the states, including Virginia, the home of Jefferson, were contingent on the passage of a bill of rights.

Today, there are also some who hold to the opinion that the Constitution allowed too much federal authority at the cost of states rights and individual liberty. Others opine that such would not be the case if the limitations of federal authority were actually being practiced. Personally, I fall more into the second group, though I also believe that had I been an adult at the time of the Constitutional Convention, I likely would have been an anti-federalist.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 14, 2014, 08:37:24 PM
Dunno about you, but I talk about the Constitution, and the Founding Fathers, both Federalist and Anti-Federalists, in a clear, firm, and, if necessary, loud manner.  The Constitution was written in response to the fact that the nation under the Articles of Confederation was rapidly falling apart. There were those who desired to patch up the deficiencies in the Articles, but the faction which believed a new start was preferable won the prevailing opinion. "Conspiracy"?  Since the Constitutional Convention was proposed above board, and all the state legislatures were invited to appoint and send delegates to represent the interests of each respective state, then it must have been the most open conspiracy in history.

There are those, like Thomas Jefferson, who were of the opinion that the Constitution ended up granting too much authority to a single central government. Other prevailing opinions worried that rights and liberties were not adequately protected, and the ratification of several of the states, including Virginia, the home of Jefferson, were contingent on the passage of a bill of rights.

Today, there are also some who hold to the opinion that the Constitution allowed too much federal authority at the cost of states rights and individual liberty. Others opine that such would not be the case if the limitations of federal authority were actually being practiced. Personally, I fall more into the second group, though I also believe that had I been an adult at the time of the Constitutional Convention, I likely would have been an anti-federalist.

Thank you for your response.  I appreciate your understanding of history and your honest answer.  It's well written and reasoned.  I wrote papers in favor of Jefferson vs. Hamilton  50 years ago, and would be an anti-federalist as well.  I sometimes post what I think are thought provoking questions just to see who's thinking and who's not.  I also like to go back to first principles.  You can trace the same line of thinking to Hobbes vs Locke.   Cool stuff, thanks again.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 14, 2014, 08:41:06 PM
Who's this "WE" shit? By that statement, you assume responsibility for other posters, always speak for yourself "Only" when posting.
And I suggest you study the Federalist Papers first.

Sorry.  I was actually thinking about people I know in general. In no way would I pretend to speak for the people on this forum.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: zewazir on December 15, 2014, 11:10:33 PM
I sometimes post what I think are thought provoking questions just to see who's thinking and who's not.  I also like to go back to first principles.  You can trace the same line of thinking to Hobbes vs Locke.   Cool stuff, thanks again.
You want what I, at least, consider a thought provoking question?

Had federalism NOT prevailed and grown stronger over the first 160 years of U.S. history, resulting in the United States of America that existed ca. 1941, would we have been strong enough as a single nation to defeat the Axis powers in WWII?
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: TboneAgain on December 16, 2014, 12:49:34 AM
You want what I, at least, consider a thought provoking question?

Had federalism NOT prevailed and grown stronger over the first 160 years of U.S. history, resulting in the United States of America that existed ca. 1941, would we have been strong enough as a single nation to defeat the Axis powers in WWII?

That may be an interesting question, but it necessarily hinges on the outcomes of dozens of other questions. Some are obvious, e.g. would we have had a Civil War? Or a Great Depression? Some are less obvious, but just as important, e.g. would we have been involved in any way in World War I? To speculate what might have happened in WWII -- or whether WWII even would have happened -- after you posit a fundamental alteration of 160 years of our history is... fantasyland? It reminds me of trying to write a script for the old show "The Time Tunnel."
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: daidalos on December 16, 2014, 10:20:40 AM
We talk about the Founding Fathers in hushed tones and the constitution as a nearly sacred document.  Were the Federalists Founding Fathers and were the Articles of Confederation more sacred?  Was the constitution a redo to make the system work or the result of a conspiracy?
No, it's not whispers or "hushed tones", it's just that those of us who are not liberal socialists, talk about the Founders with respect, when we speak of them.

As for the Constitution being "nearly a sacred document".

The Constitution is NOT "like" a sacred document.

It IS THE sacred document, within the legal judicial system as it is the highest law of the nation.

Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 17, 2014, 05:01:40 PM
No, it's not whispers or "hushed tones", it's just that those of us who are not liberal socialists, talk about the Founders with respect, when we speak of them.

As for the Constitution being "nearly a sacred document".

The Constitution is NOT "like" a sacred document.

It IS THE sacred document, within the legal judicial system as it is the highest law of the nation.

Sorry, I had just read the following from Tomas Jefferson (a founding father who I admire very much):

" Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched.  They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment." Letter to H. Tompkinson 1816.

And,

"I am certainly no advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions.  I think moderate imperfections had better be born with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them and find practical means of correcting their ill effects.  But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.  And as that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manner and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times.  We might as well require a man to wear still the coat fitted to him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."  Letter to H. Tompkinson 1816

Could he be calling it a living document?

Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: Solar on December 17, 2014, 08:02:36 PM
Sorry, I had just read the following from Tomas Jefferson (a founding father who I admire very much):

" Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched.  They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment." Letter to H. Tompkinson 1816.

And,

"I am certainly no advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions.  I think moderate imperfections had better be born with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them and find practical means of correcting their ill effects.  But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.  And as that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manner and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times.  We might as well require a man to wear still the coat fitted to him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."  Letter to H. Tompkinson 1816

Could he be calling it a living document?
Link!!!?
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: zewazir on December 17, 2014, 10:46:22 PM
Sorry, I had just read the following from Tomas Jefferson (a founding father who I admire very much):

" Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched.  They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment." Letter to H. Tompkinson 1816.

And,

"I am certainly no advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions.  I think moderate imperfections had better be born with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them and find practical means of correcting their ill effects.  But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.  And as that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manner and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times.  We might as well require a man to wear still the coat fitted to him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."  Letter to H. Tompkinson 1816

Could he be calling it a living document?
Nope.  Thomas Jefferson did believe that when flaws in the Constitution are discovered, or when changes in society cause difficulties with following the Constitution as written, then society needs to not be fearful of changing it as needed. For instance, Jefferson was a strong supporter of changing the Constitution away from the original design which put the second-place presidential candidate in the vice president's seat. He, himself, was one who suffered the difficulties of a vice president who did not support the policies of the president.

But the "living document" philosophy is nothing less than justification to change the meaning of the Constitution without bothering with the amendment process. IOW, "living document" is simply an excuse to ignore what it does say in favor of what they want it to say.  That is in direct opposition to the very intent of having a constitution at all. And Jefferson was very much in favor of making sure the government stayed within its boundaries, because he believed in keeping the federal government as weak as possible while allowing it to perform its basic duties.

There is a marked difference between advocating the willingness to amend the Constitution when the need arises, and advocating ignoring its strictures by redefining what they mean.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: Solar on December 18, 2014, 06:00:18 AM
Nope.  Thomas Jefferson did believe that when flaws in the Constitution are discovered, or when changes in society cause difficulties with following the Constitution as written, then society needs to not be fearful of changing it as needed. For instance, Jefferson was a strong supporter of changing the Constitution away from the original design which put the second-place presidential candidate in the vice president's seat. He, himself, was one who suffered the difficulties of a vice president who did not support the policies of the president.

But the "living document" philosophy is nothing less than justification to change the meaning of the Constitution without bothering with the amendment process. IOW, "living document" is simply an excuse to ignore what it does say in favor of what they want it to say.  That is in direct opposition to the very intent of having a constitution at all. And Jefferson was very much in favor of making sure the government stayed within its boundaries, because he believed in keeping the federal government as weak as possible while allowing it to perform its basic duties.

There is a marked difference between advocating the willingness to amend the Constitution when the need arises, and advocating ignoring its strictures by redefining what they mean.
Correct. To adhere to the belief that our Founding Documents are alive, is to submit the Bill of Rights for scrutiny.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 18, 2014, 06:08:16 AM
Nope.  Thomas Jefferson did believe that when flaws in the Constitution are discovered, or when changes in society cause difficulties with following the Constitution as written, then society needs to not be fearful of changing it as needed. For instance, Jefferson was a strong supporter of changing the Constitution away from the original design which put the second-place presidential candidate in the vice president's seat. He, himself, was one who suffered the difficulties of a vice president who did not support the policies of the president.

But the "living document" philosophy is nothing less than justification to change the meaning of the Constitution without bothering with the amendment process. IOW, "living document" is simply an excuse to ignore what it does say in favor of what they want it to say.  That is in direct opposition to the very intent of having a constitution at all. And Jefferson was very much in favor of making sure the government stayed within its boundaries, because he believed in keeping the federal government as weak as possible while allowing it to perform its basic duties.

There is a marked difference between advocating the willingness to amend the Constitution when the need arises, and advocating ignoring its strictures by redefining what they mean.

Perhaps "living document" is too loaded with meaning which I didn't intend.  Is "flexible" better?
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: walkstall on December 18, 2014, 08:31:26 AM
Perhaps "living document" is too loaded with meaning which I didn't intend.  Is "flexible" better?

Only by the amendment process.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 18, 2014, 10:09:28 AM
Correct. To adhere to the belief that our Founding Documents are alive, is to submit the Bill of Rights for scrutiny.

" Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched.  They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment." Letter to H. Tompkinson 1816.

OK, I'm not advocating the repeal of the Bill of Rights.  But doesn't Jefferson imply here that everything should be subjected to scrutiny and not just accepted because it was written by wise men from a different age?  That's the way I read this.  Do you have a different take?
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: Solar on December 18, 2014, 11:29:11 AM
" Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched.  They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment." Letter to H. Tompkinson 1816.

OK, I'm not advocating the repeal of the Bill of Rights.  But doesn't Jefferson imply here that everything should be subjected to scrutiny and not just accepted because it was written by wise men from a different age?  That's the way I read this.  Do you have a different take?
Post a link if you want a reply.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 18, 2014, 12:33:56 PM
Post a link if you want a reply.

This link was already posted but the post has disappeared.  Anyway, here it is again:

http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/founders/thomas-jefferson-quotes (http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/founders/thomas-jefferson-quotes)



Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: Solar on December 18, 2014, 12:48:12 PM
" Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched.  They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment." Letter to H. Tompkinson 1816.

OK, I'm not advocating the repeal of the Bill of Rights.  But doesn't Jefferson imply here that everything should be subjected to scrutiny and not just accepted because it was written by wise men from a different age?  That's the way I read this.  Do you have a different take?
Maybe if you understood what he meant by history, you might have a better grasp of what Jefferson was referring to.

"Jefferson was also a strong advocate of Presidential term limits, and saw their lack as a serious weakness in the Constitution. However, most people saw the precedent which Washington set of a voluntary two-term limit as adequate; and Jefferson "concluded that amendment of the Constitution to correct this flaw would have to wait until 'inferior characters' succeeded Washington in that high office and 'awakened us to the danger which his [Washington's] merit has led us into." This finally did happen, a century and a half later."
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: supsalemgr on December 18, 2014, 01:18:39 PM
Maybe if you understood what he meant by history, you might have a better grasp of what Jefferson was referring to.

"Jefferson was also a strong advocate of Presidential term limits, and saw their lack as a serious weakness in the Constitution. However, most people saw the precedent which Washington set of a voluntary two-term limit as adequate; and Jefferson "concluded that amendment of the Constitution to correct this flaw would have to wait until 'inferior characters' succeeded Washington in that high office and 'awakened us to the danger which his [Washington's] merit has led us into." This finally did happen, a century and a half later."

Jefferson was brilliant he had insight of 225+ years later that we would have liberals and Rino's.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: Solar on December 18, 2014, 01:37:42 PM
Jefferson was brilliant he had insight of 225+ years later that we would have liberals and Rino's.
No doubt an amazing mind, one the Nation has not experienced since.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 18, 2014, 01:59:29 PM
Maybe if you understood what he meant by history, you might have a better grasp of what Jefferson was referring to.

"Jefferson was also a strong advocate of Presidential term limits, and saw their lack as a serious weakness in the Constitution. However, most people saw the precedent which Washington set of a voluntary two-term limit as adequate; and Jefferson "concluded that amendment of the Constitution to correct this flaw would have to wait until 'inferior characters' succeeded Washington in that high office and 'awakened us to the danger which his [Washington's] merit has led us into." This finally did happen, a century and a half later."

Are you quoting someone here or are these your own words?  Are you implying that Jefferson was only referring to term limits when he wrote this?  If so, I'd like to know how you know he wasn't speaking in a general sense.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: Solar on December 18, 2014, 02:43:53 PM
Are you quoting someone here or are these your own words?  Are you implying that Jefferson was only referring to term limits when he wrote this?  If so, I'd like to know how you know he wasn't speaking in a general sense.
It''s pretty obvious what he was saying.

http://www.mcgath.com/consttht.html (http://www.mcgath.com/consttht.html)
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 18, 2014, 03:46:10 PM
It''s pretty obvious what he was saying.

http://www.mcgath.com/consttht.html (http://www.mcgath.com/consttht.html)

It looks like an interesting book.  It appears he was also in favor of an amendment to allow the US to purchase more land, but gave it up as impractical.  I'm still not convinced that the quote I gave wasn't meant to apply in general, since he was writing in 1816.  Here's the whole quote from the same link I gave you earlier.

"Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading; and this they would say themselves were they to rise from the dead."  – Letter to H. Tompkinson , 12 July 1816

This sounds to me like he's saying that times change and that experience gives insight into issues of an earlier time that could not be fully understood without 40 years of retrospection.  So while the writers of the constitution were wise, they could not foresee all eventualities. Therefore, one should not treat the document with too much reverence, but be willing to allow for changes as times change.  (Note that reverence is his word not mine.)
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: Solar on December 18, 2014, 04:23:57 PM
It looks like an interesting book.  It appears he was also in favor of an amendment to allow the US to purchase more land, but gave it up as impractical.  I'm still not convinced that the quote I gave wasn't meant to apply in general, since he was writing in 1816.  Here's the whole quote from the same link I gave you earlier.

"Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading; and this they would say themselves were they to rise from the dead."  – Letter to H. Tompkinson , 12 July 1816

This sounds to me like he's saying that times change and that experience gives insight into issues of an earlier time that could not be fully understood without 40 years of retrospection.  So while the writers of the constitution were wise, they could not foresee all eventualities. Therefore, one should not treat the document with too much reverence, but be willing to allow for changes as times change.  (Note that reverence is his word not mine.)
It was the anti-federalists that didn't want an amendment process, but it was the States that refused to sign on unless there was an amendment process as well as a Bill guaranteeing basic human rights, hence the Bill of Rights.
Jefferson was a Federalists.

Whether the amendment process was a good idea or not is up for debate, especially considering the damage done to our Constitution over the centuries, such as voting rights re: land ownership and a vested interest as a taxpayer.

Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 18, 2014, 05:37:34 PM
It was the anti-federalists that didn't want an amendment process, but it was the States that refused to sign on unless there was an amendment process as well as a Bill guaranteeing basic human rights, hence the Bill of Rights.
Jefferson was a Federalists.

Whether the amendment process was a good idea or not is up for debate, especially considering the damage done to our Constitution over the centuries, such as voting rights re: land ownership and a vested interest as a taxpayer.

I assume you meant to say that Jefferson was an anti-Federalist.


"You say that I have been dished up to you as an antifederalist, and ask me if it be just. My opinion was never worthy enough of notice to merit citing; but since you ask it I will tell it you. I am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all. Therefore I protest to you I am not of the party of federalists. But I am much farther from that than of the Antifederalists."  – Letter to Francis Hopkinson 13 Mar 1789
http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/founders/thomas-jefferson-quotes (http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/founders/thomas-jefferson-quotes)

I particularly relate to the part about "thinking for myself".
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: Solar on December 18, 2014, 06:53:13 PM
I assume you meant to say that Jefferson was an anti-Federalist.


"You say that I have been dished up to you as an antifederalist, and ask me if it be just. My opinion was never worthy enough of notice to merit citing; but since you ask it I will tell it you. I am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all. Therefore I protest to you I am not of the party of federalists. But I am much farther from that than of the Antifederalists."  – Letter to Francis Hopkinson 13 Mar 1789
http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/founders/thomas-jefferson-quotes (http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/founders/thomas-jefferson-quotes)

I particularly relate to the part about "thinking for myself".
Yeah, I hadn't eaten in hours and had trouble remembering that far back, considering it's been 50 years or more since I studied the topic.
Time for a refresher course.
Title: Re: Thomas Jefferson
Post by: AlfredDrake on December 18, 2014, 06:57:55 PM
Yeah, I hadn't eaten in hours and had trouble remembering that far back, considering it's been 50 years or more since I studied the topic.
Time for a refresher course.

That's ok, I'm old and hungry too.