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Thomas Jefferson

Posted on 07/13/2005 3:14:50 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee

Biography Channel had an hour on Jefferson. Being Canadian I never learned anything about this great man. Some one on this site lamented that they would never want to listen to a thing he said because he was a slave owner. Yet Jefferson tried in the state legislature and the colonial legislature to end slavery. It didn't happen in his time. And no, he only freed those slaves that he felt had the skills to survive. But maybe he worried that they would be marginalized in the white man's world and end up in shanty towns?

What really impressed me is that he and Washington gave themselves self-imposed term limits. These men saw political power as so distasteful they actually refused to keep power longer than what they saw as prudent.

Not many men today are in this class.


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; History; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: presidents; thomasjefferson

1 posted on 07/13/2005 3:14:51 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: Sam Gamgee

Jefferson was absolutely brilliant. 2nd only to Benjamin Franklin in the genius department. A great man, a good president, and a patriot.

Fortunately he reconciled with his long time rival John Adams late in life, making for one of the greatest human interest stories ever recorded!


2 posted on 07/13/2005 3:18:36 PM PDT by pissant
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To: Sam Gamgee

Thomas Jefferson kicked ass.


3 posted on 07/13/2005 3:53:04 PM PDT by Firefigher NC
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To: pissant
He was very intelligent yet also human, thus made mistakes.
His cuts in military strength and expenditures, especially in our Navy, put him on precarious ground when the British set up their blockade of American commercial ships en route to France. (The prelude and cause, which eventually culminated in, the War of 1812)
The sailors on the captured Amercian commercial vessels were literally kidnapped by the British and made to serve on their ships. The U.S. couldn't retaliate because TJ all but ignored our defense needs, again, especially our Navy.

Thomas Jefferson, in my opinion, was more of a great thinker, than he was a great doer. If one really gets into learning about our Founding Fathers they would find that all of them had warts just as any other human did. No doubt they were intelligent men, but be careful throwing words like "genius" around.
Patrick Henry , (my personal favorite of the 'Founders'), refused to attend the Constitutional Convention.
I personally think that in terms of vision, leadership and spirit, not a single one of our Founders matched Ronald Wilson Reagan...save Patrick Henry.

4 posted on 07/13/2005 3:55:42 PM PDT by jla
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To: jla

When you think about the fact that we are still on James Madison's basic plan for our government I think genius might fit for him.


5 posted on 07/13/2005 3:58:02 PM PDT by Mr. Blonde (You know, Happy Time Harry, just being around you kinda makes me want to die.)
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To: Mr. Blonde
Mr. Madison would be appalled at how we've progressed.
6 posted on 07/13/2005 3:59:46 PM PDT by jla
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To: Mr. Blonde
Describe what Madison's basic plan was.
I ask because we can then juxtapose it with how things are today.
7 posted on 07/13/2005 4:00:43 PM PDT by jla
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To: jla

I would say Franklin, having read three biograhies as well as his autobiography was no only a genius, but a practical man. That is the rarest of all birds.

Jefferson was brilliant, but not the wisest politician. Madison was brilliant. Hamilton is near the top of my list as well. George Washington was perhaps the wisest.

I agree Reagan was an absolute gem in our history. But I assure you, he revered the founders even more than you or I.

Cheers!


8 posted on 07/13/2005 4:04:58 PM PDT by pissant
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To: jla

Ummm, The Constitution? Granted most on here wouldn't say college is the place to find truth in our history, but in a class I took on the Constitution, the professor made it very clear that Madison was running the show. He came in prepared to scrap the confederation, and had been studying every book he could get his hands on to do so. The original plan (Virginia?) was his although it was introduced by someone else, and he directed most of the discussion at the convention.


9 posted on 07/13/2005 4:08:31 PM PDT by Mr. Blonde (You know, Happy Time Harry, just being around you kinda makes me want to die.)
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To: Mr. Blonde

So are you telling me that you believe we today are, more or less, living according to the Constitution as envisioned by Madison?


10 posted on 07/13/2005 4:12:31 PM PDT by jla
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To: Sam Gamgee
He owned slaves.
End of Story.
Turn off your TV.
11 posted on 07/13/2005 4:13:14 PM PDT by gubamyster
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To: Sam Gamgee

If you want to understand Jefferson and Adams get a copy of their letters to each other.


12 posted on 07/13/2005 4:17:04 PM PDT by whershey
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To: jla

Not totally but he held it all together.


13 posted on 07/13/2005 4:18:10 PM PDT by whershey
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To: jla

We are more or less following it in that we haven't abandoned it. Has each branch over reached their powers yes, but have they done so to the point where I would say we aren't still under the Constitution? No. But to think that we have even made it this long using a document that is 4000 odd words long is flat out amazing to me.


14 posted on 07/13/2005 4:18:49 PM PDT by Mr. Blonde (You know, Happy Time Harry, just being around you kinda makes me want to die.)
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To: pissant
I was afraid I would come off as sounding like I didn't "revere" our Founders, and it looks like I might have succeeded. And to be honest, as I was typing my prev. post I did originally call Ben F. a genius but deleted that remark .
I didn't set out to be provocative, I just wanted to relate some truths. And I appreciate your comments, Pissant. Your opinion of our Founders is noted, as well as admirable.
15 posted on 07/13/2005 4:22:39 PM PDT by jla
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To: jla
Thomas Jefferson, in my opinion, was more of a great thinker, than he was a great doer.

Well said.

I personally think that in terms of vision, leadership and spirit, not a single one of our Founders matched Ronald Wilson Reagan...save Patrick Henry.

That's probably going too far. George Washington was clearly a noble, public-spirited and far-sighted political leader. The others, including Henry so far as I can tell, became partisan or factional leaders, while Washington tried to stand above parties and politics. A party or factional leader can be great, but so much of his energy goes into supporting one side against the other, while Washington was there for the whole country.

16 posted on 07/13/2005 4:28:39 PM PDT by x
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To: Mr. Blonde
What do you suppose J. Madison's thoughts would be on the matter of Judge Roy Moore and the Ten Commandments monument?
Or the establishment of the Depts of Ed., Energy, Etc.?
Or of Roe v. Wade? Homosexual marriage? Kelo v. New London? etc. etc. etc.
17 posted on 07/13/2005 4:33:40 PM PDT by jla
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To: x
That's probably going too far

How so? I'm always left scratching my head as to why folks don't think a contemporary figure could possibly outshine Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, et al

18 posted on 07/13/2005 4:37:25 PM PDT by jla
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To: Mr. Blonde
I believe that Madison patterned his proposals on a proposed constitution for Virginia (not adopted) written by Jefferson. They were close, personally and politically for many years. There is no reason to doubt that Madison was familiar with Jefferson's work.
The reason Jefferson was not involved in the Constitutional Convention was that he was ambassador to France at the time.
19 posted on 07/13/2005 5:22:27 PM PDT by AntiBurr ("Ceterum censeo Islam esse delendam " with apologies to Cato)
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: pissant

It is sad that Adams became a federalist.


21 posted on 07/13/2005 7:25:58 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: Firefigher NC

All you need to know about the difference between Canada and the US. Canadians voted their greatest Canadian to be Tommy Douglas - the Father of Socialism in Canada! All our truly great men left and went to America.


22 posted on 07/13/2005 7:27:22 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: jla

I noticed that as well. That he was not a participant in the revolution - really a thinker - like John Locke. I don't know much about Samuel Adams but I love some of his famous quotes.


23 posted on 07/13/2005 7:28:56 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: pissant

Wasn't Alexander Hamilton a proponent of big government?


24 posted on 07/13/2005 7:29:51 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: gubamyster

So what. And you have never sinned?


25 posted on 07/13/2005 7:30:35 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: Uhhuh35

Even Churchill was somewhat racist. He loved to call the German huns. Yet, I am sure most German Americans don't fault him for it.


26 posted on 07/13/2005 7:33:10 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: Sam Gamgee

I'll gladly trade both the GOP and the Dems in for the Federalists of yesteryear.


27 posted on 07/13/2005 7:36:59 PM PDT by pissant
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To: Sam Gamgee

Not big government. But strong federal government limited in scope by the constitution. Read the Federalist Papers. He was one of the architects of our country! I highly admire him.


28 posted on 07/13/2005 7:38:46 PM PDT by pissant
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To: pissant

Yes, but the Federalists still wanted to take America back to where it came, right? They wanted a strong, large central and intrusive government. Isn't that what the colonists fought against?

Don't get me wrong. The United States is the envy of the world. States have amazing powers that provinces in Canada could only dream about.


29 posted on 07/13/2005 7:40:42 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: pissant

I prefer a weak Federal Government at the mercy of the States. Again I come from Canada, where we are fed up with intrusive federal governments.


30 posted on 07/13/2005 7:41:57 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: Sam Gamgee

No, the Federalists just wanted to make sure the federal gov't supeseded the states in the areas enumerated by the constituion. They would all be considered radical states rights advocates by today's standards. I have very little heartburn with the early Federalists.


31 posted on 07/13/2005 7:45:12 PM PDT by pissant
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To: Sam Gamgee

I prefer a strong federal government limited by the very short document known as the constitution. That means no medicare, welfare, social security, etc, etc. The one non-constitutional thing I do like is the National Park system.


32 posted on 07/13/2005 7:47:15 PM PDT by pissant
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To: pissant

OK. Guess I had the wrong idea of what a federalist was.


33 posted on 07/13/2005 7:52:19 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: pissant

National parks are a good idea within limits. Not to be used as a tool to stop oil exploration or to appease enviro-socialists.


34 posted on 07/13/2005 7:53:52 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: Sam Gamgee

Agree 100% with that sentiment. Good thread, BTW.

Have a good nite!


35 posted on 07/13/2005 7:56:02 PM PDT by pissant
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To: jla

Being that Madison came up with the 9th amendment I think it is easy to say how he feels about individual rights.

When it come to the various Depts. of the government it is harder to say because in his time we didn't have the infrastructure for those things to even be feasible really.

I would have a hard time believing anyone who helped create the system of government that helped a country become the foremost superpower in the world in less than 200 years could feel anything but pride about that country.


36 posted on 07/13/2005 8:19:45 PM PDT by Mr. Blonde (You know, Happy Time Harry, just being around you kinda makes me want to die.)
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To: Sam Gamgee
So what. And you have never sinned?

Did I really nead a sarcasm tag???

37 posted on 07/13/2005 8:21:40 PM PDT by gubamyster
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To: Mr. Blonde
I always felt Madison was the "Man Behind the Scene" before and during Jefferson's tenure. He seemed to be that nerd slogging away making everything work, while everybody else took it for granted. He wasn't the charming, handsome and courageous soldier type like Washington, Hamilton or Burr. It's often said that Burr was Madison's alter ego. Both became good friends during the Revolution War. Burr even supposedly match Dolly and James during the war, but always secretly coveted Dolly.
38 posted on 07/13/2005 9:35:20 PM PDT by neb52
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To: neb52
Burr was an opportunist and a nasty piece of work. I suggest that read more about him.
39 posted on 07/13/2005 9:38:15 PM PDT by nopardons
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To: gubamyster

Got yah.


40 posted on 07/13/2005 9:47:35 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: pissant

Nite.


41 posted on 07/13/2005 9:48:26 PM PDT by Sam Gamgee
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To: nopardons

Thats why I said he was the alter ego, yes he was truely a bad man. Not many understood that until after he shot Hamilton. He was that charming bad guy with flare that todays women keep dating after they keep getting beaten up.


42 posted on 07/13/2005 10:05:59 PM PDT by neb52
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To: jla
I'm always left scratching my head as to why folks don't think a contemporary figure could possibly outshine Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, et al

That's the piety that keeps us from tearing up the Constitution every generation and replacing it with something worse, as they do in some countries. It's worked pretty well for America, and on the whole it's a good thing.

Sometimes we overdo it, though. A history of the early years of the country will show corruption, manipulation, and political hysteria. I guess it's possible that a leader like Reagan could outshine the founders.

But A) whatever their difficulties with practical politics the founders were better educated in political philosophy and deeper political thinkers than any politician is likely to be today. Right now politicians outsource their thinking, as they delegate their speechwriting. Reagan was to some extent an exception, but once he took office the time he could devote to theory was limited.

The founders could be creative and come up with good ideas. They came first. Today, original "new ideas" are very often bad ones. I doubt we really want modern intellectuals trying to "refound" the country or rewrite the Constitution.

And B) Washington really was an exception. No politician today is likely to have done and sacrificed so much for his country as Washington did. Great challenges make great leaders and no President today is likely to face trials as harrowing as Washington did in the Revolution. To mention Valley Forge ought to be enough.

Washington kept the country a republic, rather than a monarchy or a military dictatorship. And he stood apart from all the political manouevering and struggles for power. Adams and Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison look smaller because of their partisan tricks and passions. Washington remains above all that and committed to the nation, rather than to one party or another.

It's true that there's something romanticized about the way countries look back on their founders. Those days are always made out to be epic or heroic ages. But they did face great trials in those days. Setting up a country on the right foundation is a difficult thing. Look at how many new countries around the world have failed, and you can see how great an achievement our founding was.

It's certainly possible that a leader today might be quite great (though contemporary politics does tend to discriminate against those who have such glimmerings of greatness in them), but we won't really be able to measure their greatness until after their gone. The past is largely dead and we can see it in context. Living figures can still screw up something awful. The older generation of Britons can take pride in Winston Churchill, but in 1940 or 1930 or 1920 it wasn't at all clear what history would make of him.

43 posted on 07/14/2005 12:11:12 AM PDT by x
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To: neb52
I always felt Madison was the "Man Behind the Scene" before and during Jefferson's tenure.

Madison worked closely with Washington on some key occasions. There's a recent book out about their relationship. But it looks to me like Madison fell too much under Jefferson's influence as time went on. Madison had the better intellect (if intellect is to be praised for its realism, rather than its romanticism or idealism), but wasn't as confident, certain, determined, or charismatic as Jefferson was.

Madison was a "behind the scenes" sort of person who shunned the limelight, but Jefferson was the dominant personality and true animating spirit in their relationship. For a long time Madison apparently came to feel that to be a Virginian meant following Jefferson, rather than Washington or Marshall.

44 posted on 07/14/2005 12:30:55 AM PDT by x
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To: neb52
No, many had Burr's number, at that time. There are contemporaneous writings, which show him in a very bad light. Burr's duel with Hamilton, was the culmination of many years of Burr's continual political battles with Hamilton, even though it is often portrayed as something else.
45 posted on 07/14/2005 2:51:03 PM PDT by nopardons
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To: gubamyster

You are joking, I presume?!


46 posted on 07/15/2005 11:52:03 AM PDT by TexConfederate1861 (General Robert E. Lee , an AMERICAN example of honor & courage!)
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To: TexConfederate1861
You are joking, I presume?!

Yes, heavy sarcasm. But I'm sure most liftists would agree w/ the comment.

47 posted on 07/15/2005 11:54:59 AM PDT by gubamyster
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To: Uhhuh35
"The fact he owned slaves does not diminish his accomplishments."

I don't believe that I made any comment on his slaveholding. Or on any hate, only that he had previously written a proposed constitution for Virginia and noted that Madison had access to it before the Constitutional Convention. The majority of the Virginia aristocracy were slaveowners and descended from slaveowners. Jefferson repeatedly tried to abolish slavery without success.

48 posted on 07/17/2005 10:11:08 AM PDT by AntiBurr ("Ceterum censeo Islam esse delendam " with apologies to Cato)
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