Thomas Jefferson: A True Statesman
The United States has now had 46 Presidents since the inception of the Presidency some 230+ years ago. Of all those men, only a handful were true statesmen, and one of those men, much discounted now thanks to leftism, was Thomas Jefferson.
When I survey the men who have held the office of the Presidency, there are few who meet the mark of being a true statesman. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the noun “stateman” to mean “one versed in the principles of government.” Another definition describes being, “a wise, skillful, and respected political leader.” Of course, many who have held the office of the Presidency have been shrewd at promoting their policies, oftentimes by ignoring the most basic precepts of our Constitutional Republic to advance whatever agenda necessary, often ignoring their constituents’ voices.
This is a behavior pattern echoed by most of those holding the office of the Presidency or, for that matter, any public office straight to the local levels of governing. Being shrewd in politics does not equate to being a true statesman.
No matter on which side of the political aisle one may stand, we all know that our modern political era has had its fair share of elected representatives who have been as crooked as corkscrews. Unfortunately, there is no end in sight to this quandary.
In stark contrast to the corkscrew rulers of the Republic, what a pleasure it is to contemplate a true statesman of the highest degree like Thomas Jefferson. President Kennedy once remarked at a White House dinner hosting Nobel Peace Prize winners that the event was “probably the greatest concentration of talent and genius in this house except for perhaps those times when Thomas Jefferson ate alone.”
Jefferson was beyond brilliant. He was a downright living genius. Another accurate description summing up his personage is from Ken Burns’s 1997 documentary in which he describes Jefferson as “a scholar, a philosopher, a diplomat, an aesthete, and an architect, a true renaissance man.”
Who today holding public office could match his mental prowess? To list all of Jefferson’s accomplishments would take pages. Hundreds of books and thousands of articles have been written on him over the decades. He held virtues of being unselfish, wise, and knowledgeable in life and throughout his time as a statesman. He championed the yeoman farmer of the early Republic who he believed was the backbone of the young country.
He served the public interest for over six decades, never accepting any pay except for expenses, which he faithfully paid back. After assuming the presidency following the contested election of 1800, he slashed federal taxes in half and paid off half of the national debt through his two terms as President.
It is important to note that Alexander Hamilton was always a strong political influencer in the early days of the Republic. He often had the ears of George Washington and John Adams but not Jefferson’s, as he and Hamilton remained diametrically opposed in their views of government and finance.
Images: Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800. Public domain.
Hamilton favored letting the moneychangers into the halls of government as well as large British monarchical styles of governing while Jefferson wanted limited decentralized government and banking practices, as well as always seeing the People as the rightful sovereign. He refused to address Congress for his annual message in public and simply wrote letters to be written aloud to the body members. Furthermore, he kept the young Republic out of foreign confrontations and made brilliant statements that “commerce with all nations, and entanglements with none, should be our motto.”
Perhaps Jefferson’s greatest accomplishment as President was purchasing the vast Louisiana Territory from the French for a reasonable sum. This, of course, allowed the United States to become the nation it is today, with millions of individuals from dozens of foreign lands being able to hold private property while seeking their own fortunes away from oppressive governments around the world. This lifestyle coming to fruition for millions of hard-working people emulates Jefferson’s phrase of the “pursuit of happiness,” which he coined when writing the Declaration of Independence.
Today, many among the leftist intelligentsia have a ball exclaiming that Jefferson was a complete hypocrite, stating in the Declaration of Independence that, “all men are created equal” and all the while still owning slaves on his Virginia plantation. While Jefferson did own slaves, as did most of the Virginia gentry at the time, he was completely opposed to the system.
This is evidenced by his defending slaves in Virginia court of law as a young attorney, numerous writings that are conveniently left out from modern “scholarship”, and his 1807 legislation Act prohibiting the importation of slaves, something he had advocated for before the War of Independence, some thirty-plus years before the Act passed. This law made importing slaves a federal crime.
Some also proclaim that Jefferson was the Founder of the modern Democrat party. This could not be further from the truth. Jefferson’s cornerstone philosophy championed the individual, not the collective, one-size-fits-all, regurgitated and recycled Marxist/Socialistic philosophy of today’s Democrat party. It would do well for today’s bottom-feeder media and “Woke” advocates to read a book on Thomas Jefferson and realize that he was a man of his time, which was indeed a complicated and conflicting time, much like our world today.
Sadly, there are extremists who would triumphantly lift their clenched fists of Marxism at the sight of Jefferson’s Monticello plantation being taken down brick by brick as well as the University of Virginia wiping his image forever from its campus. This form of thinking must be met with total head-on resistance from patriots from all walks of life, lest America ceases to exist.
Perhaps one day I will detail more of Jefferson’s accomplishments as a true Statesman and in his personal life. As I mentioned, there have been thousands of articles, hundreds of books, and numerous documentaries detailing this good man’s life. Below are several thought-provoking quotes from Jefferson’s political philosophy and personal worldviews. Who amongst us today would say such things?
- “Those who labour in the Earth are the Chosen People of God.”
- “An honest man can feel no pleasure in exercising power over his fellow citizens.”
- “Truth and reason are eternal and will eventually prevail against error unless disarmed of their natural weapons, free argument and debate.”
- “With all the imperfections of our present government, it is without comparison the best existing, or that ever did exist.”
- “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects that which never was and never will be.”
- “Agriculture, manufacturing, commerce and navigation are the four pillars on which our prosperity rests and thrive best when left to private enterprise.”
- “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.”
- “If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t more people happy?”