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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Thomas Jefferson and Philosophy Installment #3 (8)

Thomas Jefferson and Philosophy
By: Reyna Shellhart

Thomas Jefferson made major contributions as a politician, statesman, diplomat, intellectual, writer, scientist, and philosopher. No other figure among the Founding Fathers shared the depth and breadth of his wide-ranging intelligence. In fact, his presidential vision impressively combined philosophic principles with pragmatic effectiveness as a politician. Jefferson's most fundamental political belief was an "absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority." Stemming from his deep optimism in human reason, Jefferson believed that the will of the people expressed through elections, provided the most appropriate guidance for directing the republic's course.
Jefferson was a shy man, however his pen proved to be an immense weapon. In 1774, Jefferson wrote a pamphlet entitled "A Summary View of the Rights of British America," that articulated the colonial position for independence and foreshadowed many of the ideas in the Declaration of Independence. The pamphlet proved to be one of his most famous works. By 1774, Jefferson was actively involved in organizing opposition to British rule. In 1776, Jefferson was appointed to the Second Continental Congress. Jefferson was chosen to write the Declaration of Independence for being a renowned Virginia representative and a powerful writer. This document is a brilliant proclamation of fundamental human rights and also serves as America's most succinct statement of its philosophy of government.
Jefferson was the spokesman of liberty and a racist slave owner, the champion of the common people and a man with luxurious and aristocratic tastes, a believer in limited government and a president who expanded governmental authority beyond the wildest visions of his ancestors, a quiet man who abhorred politics and the most dominant political figure of his generation. The tensions between Jefferson's principles and practices make him all the more suitable to be a symbol for the nation he helped create, a nation whose shining ideals have always been complicated by a complex history.
Link to Installment #2- http://www.cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2015/12/thomas-jefferson-installment-2-8.html

Sources- http://millercenter.org/president/biography/jefferson-life-in-brief

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, a man of contradictions. Well, a man. I love what JFK said that time about a gathering of Nobelists at the White House being the most impressive concentration of intellect there ever, "except possibly for the time Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

    Again, I highly recommend Jon Meacham's "The Art of Power".