Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 22, 2014, 04:42:50 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
81825 Posts in 2244 Topics by 1047 Members
Latest Member: MikeT
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Science, Culture, & Humanities
| | |-+  The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers:
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 22 23 [24] 25 26 ... 31 Print
Author Topic: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers:  (Read 180016 times)
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1150 on: September 20, 2012, 08:30:43 AM »



"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass." --George Washington, letter to Benjamin Lincoln, 1788
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1151 on: September 21, 2012, 06:05:16 AM »

"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives." --John Adams, letter to Benjamin Rush, 1808
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1152 on: September 24, 2012, 11:32:45 AM »

"They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please...Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect." --Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on a National Bank, 1791
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1153 on: September 26, 2012, 08:57:47 AM »

"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers." --John Adams, Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law, 1765
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1154 on: September 27, 2012, 07:23:40 AM »

"No people will tamely surrender their liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and virtue is preserved. On the contrary, when people are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their manners, they will sink under their own weight without the aid of foreign invaders." --Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1775
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1155 on: September 27, 2012, 01:33:29 PM »



http://thenewfounders.net/
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1156 on: September 28, 2012, 06:35:59 AM »

"[T]he States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore ... never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Judge William Johnson, 1823
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1157 on: October 01, 2012, 09:41:12 AM »



http://www.colsoncenter.org/the-center/columns/indepth/18537-aristotle-and-augustine
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1158 on: October 01, 2012, 10:14:30 AM »

second post of morning

"It is a principle incorporated into the settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute." --James Madison, letter to the Dey of Algiers, 1816
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1159 on: October 02, 2012, 07:08:51 AM »

"The foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the preeminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens, and command the respect of the world." --George Washington, First Inaugural Address, 1789
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1160 on: October 05, 2012, 10:38:13 AM »



"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." --George Washington, First Inaugural Address, 1789
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1161 on: October 08, 2012, 12:15:41 PM »

"Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question." --Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 1801
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1162 on: October 09, 2012, 10:27:14 AM »

"We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections." --John Adams, Inaugural Address, 1797
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1163 on: October 10, 2012, 08:23:22 AM »

"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence." --Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1164 on: October 11, 2012, 01:09:31 PM »

"To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude that the fiery and destructive passions of war reign in the human breast with much more powerful sway than the mild and beneficent sentiments of peace; and that to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquillity would be to calculate on the weaker springs of human character." --Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 34, 1788
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1165 on: October 12, 2012, 08:59:47 AM »

"A universal peace, it is to be feared, is in the catalogue of events, which will never exist but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of benevolent enthusiasts." --James Madison, essay in the National Gazette, 1792
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1166 on: October 17, 2012, 05:34:36 AM »

"It already appears, that there must be in every society of men superiors and inferiors, because God has laid in the constitution and course of nature the foundations of the distinction." --John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1167 on: October 18, 2012, 08:27:10 AM »

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Charles Jarvis, 1820
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1168 on: October 19, 2012, 08:18:53 AM »



"[A]mbitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm." --James Madison, Federalist No. 46, 1788
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1169 on: October 19, 2012, 11:21:47 AM »



"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily, , , We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1170 on: October 22, 2012, 11:47:31 AM »



"It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth - and listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it." --Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Convention, 1775
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1171 on: October 23, 2012, 09:37:49 AM »

"Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters." --Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1775
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1172 on: October 24, 2012, 10:11:52 AM »

"No compact among men ... can be pronounced everlasting and inviolable, and if I may so express myself, that no Wall of words, that no mound of parchment can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other." --George Washington, draft of first Inaugural Address, 1789

"If the people are capable of understanding, seeing and feeling the differences between true and false, right and wrong, virtue and vice, to what better principle can the friends of mankind apply than to the sense of this difference?" --John Adams
« Last Edit: October 24, 2012, 11:12:06 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1173 on: October 25, 2012, 09:16:00 AM »

"No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt: on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable." --George Washington, Message to the House of Representatives, 1793
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1174 on: October 26, 2012, 10:52:39 AM »

"It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard M. Johnson, 1808
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1175 on: October 29, 2012, 06:24:32 AM »

"It has ever been my hobby-horse to see rising in America an empire of liberty, and a prospect of two or three hundred millions of freemen, without one noble or one king among them. You say it is impossible. If I should agree with you in this, I would still say, let us try the experiment, and preserve our equality as long as we can. A better system of education for the common people might preserve them long from such artificial inequalities as are prejudicial to society, by confounding the natural distinctions of right and wrong, virtue and vice." --John Adams, letter to Count Sarsfield, 1786
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1176 on: October 30, 2012, 10:15:56 AM »

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." --Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 1, 1776
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1177 on: October 31, 2012, 10:43:40 AM »

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death." --Thomas Paine, The Crisis, No. 1, 1776
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1178 on: November 01, 2012, 09:13:01 AM »

"All see, and most admire, the glare which hovers round the external trappings of elevated office. To me there is nothing in it, beyond the lustre which may be reflected from its connection with a power of promoting human felicity." --George Washington, letter to Catherine Macaulay Graham, 1790
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1179 on: November 02, 2012, 10:21:43 AM »

"If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Duane, 1811
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1180 on: November 06, 2012, 08:49:40 AM »

"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual -- or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country." --Samuel Adams (1781)
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1181 on: November 07, 2012, 10:07:47 AM »

"We should never despair, our situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new exertions and proportion our efforts to the exigency of the times." --George Washington, letter to Philip Schuyler, 1777
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1182 on: November 09, 2012, 08:39:59 AM »

"In reality there is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as
pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as
one pleases, it is still alive, and will now and then peek out and show itself."
--Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography, 1771

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1183 on: November 12, 2012, 08:02:32 AM »

"There is not a more important and fundamental principle in legislation, than that
the ways and means ought always to face the public engagements; that our
appropriations should ever go hand in hand with our promises. To say that the United
States should be answerable for twenty-five millions of dollars without knowing
whether the ways and means can be provided, and without knowing whether those who
are to succeed us will think with us on the subject, would be rash and
unjustifiable. Sir, in my opinion, it would be hazarding the public faith in a
manner contrary to every idea of prudence." --James Madison, Speech in Congress,
1790

Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2787


« Reply #1184 on: November 13, 2012, 06:16:15 PM »

Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies, and every one knows it who has ever given any sober reflection to the matter. A democratic state may profess to venerate the name, and even pass laws making it officially sacred, but it simply cannot tolerate the thing. In order to keep any coherence in the governmental process, to prevent the wildest anarchy in thought and act, the government must put limits upon the free play of opinion. In part, it can reach that end by mere propaganda, by the bald force of its authority — that is, by making certain doctrines officially infamous. But in part it must resort to force, i.e., to law. One of the main purposes of laws in a democratic society is to put burdens upon intelligence and reduce it to impotence. Ostensibly, their aim is to penalize anti-social acts; actually their aim is to penalize heretical opinions. At least ninety-five Americans out of every 100 believe that this process is honest and even laudable; it is practically impossible to convince them that there is anything evil in it. In other words, they cannot grasp the concept of liberty. Always they condition it with the doctrine that the state, i.e., the majority, has a sort of right of eminent domain in acts, and even in ideas — that it is perfectly free, whenever it is so disposed, to forbid a man to say what he honestly believes. Whenever his notions show signs of becoming "dangerous," ie, of being heard and attended to, it exercises that prerogative. And the overwhelming majority of citizens believe in supporting it in the outrage. Including especially the Liberals, who pretend — and often quite honestly believe — that they are hot for liberty. They never really are. Deep down in their hearts they know, as good democrats, that liberty would be fatal to democracy — that a government based upon shifting and irrational opinion must keep it within bounds or run a constant risk of disaster. They themselves, as a practical matter, advocate only certain narrow kinds of liberty — liberty, that is, for the persons they happen to favor. The rights of other persons do not seem to interest them. If a law were passed tomorrow taking away the property of a large group of presumably well-to-do persons — say, bondholders of the railroads — without compensation and without even colorable reason, they would not oppose it; they would be in favor of it. The liberty to have and hold property is not one they recognize. They believe only in the liberty to envy, hate and loot the man who has it.

H.L. Mencken, "Liberty and Democracy" in the Baltimore Evening Sun (13 April 1925), also in A Second Mencken Chrestomathy : New Selections from the Writings of America's Legendary Editor, Critic, and Wit (1994) edited by Terry Teachout, p. 35
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1185 on: November 14, 2012, 08:37:40 AM »

"Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its influence." --Alexander Hamilton, Pacificus, No. 6, 1793
Logged
bigdog
Power User
***
Posts: 2155


« Reply #1186 on: November 19, 2012, 06:01:06 PM »

In honor of the 149th anniversary:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1187 on: November 21, 2012, 04:08:35 PM »



http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/2216/Ephrata_Presentation/59_Ephrata.htm
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1188 on: November 22, 2012, 09:44:11 AM »

"I do recommend and assign Thursday ... next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be." --George Washington, 1789
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1189 on: November 23, 2012, 07:20:36 AM »

"The eyes of the world being thus on our Country, it is put the more on its good behavior, and under the greater obligation also, to do justice to the Tree of Liberty by an exhibition of the fine fruits we gather from it." --James Madison, letter to James Monroe, 1824
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1190 on: November 26, 2012, 06:32:03 AM »

"Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of. Our enemies are numerous and powerful; but we have many friends, determining to be free, and heaven and earth will aid the resolution. On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves." --Joseph Warren, Boston Massacre Oration, 1775
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1191 on: November 26, 2012, 06:36:48 AM »

Socializing as a Political Tool
By JON MEACHAM
NYT
Published: November 25, 2012


IN this hour of reflexive partisan division, with Americans frustrated by Washington’s seeming inability to address significant fiscal questions, among other issues, an inevitable question arises: Can President Obama do anything to create enough good will to pass some lasting reforms?


Here is a modest proposal, one drawn from the presidency of another tall, cool, cerebral politician-writer: use the White House and the president’s personal company to attempt to weave attachments and increase a sense of common purpose in the capital. Dinners with the president — or breakfast or lunch or coffee or drinks or golf — won’t create a glorious bipartisan Valhalla, but history suggests that at least one of our greatest presidents mastered the means of entertaining to political effect.

During both of his terms, on the eve of each Congressional session, President Thomas Jefferson warned friends that, in our vernacular, he was about to go offline. “As Congress will meet this day week, we begin now to be in the bustle of preparation,” he wrote a family member. “When that begins, between the occupations of business and of entertainment, I shall become an unpunctual correspondent.”

Hours that Jefferson might have devoted to seeing friends in Washington or to writing letters were to be consumed instead by his pursuit of a fairly constant campaign of using his social hours — and particularly his dinner table — as a way of making the rougher edges of politics smooth. He believed that sociability was essential to republicanism. Men who liked and respected and enjoyed one another were more likely to cultivate the virtuous habits that would truly enable the nation’s citizens to engage in “the pursuit of happiness.” An affectionate man living in harmony with his neighbors was more likely to understand the mutual sacrifices of opinion necessary to a republic’s success.

In late 1801, Jefferson’s Washington routine had settled into what he called “a steady and uniform course.” He began the day working at his writing table, doing paperwork and receiving callers from early morning until midday; that gave him, he figured, “an interval of 4 hours for riding, dining and a little unbending.” At noon he tried to leave the President’s House for a ride or a walk before returning at about 4, when he became “engaged with company.” He entertained constantly, handsomely and with a purpose. Guests were entranced anew by his “easy, candid and gentle manners.”

Jefferson’s dinner campaigns were intensely practical. He believed in constant conversation between the president and lawmakers, for “if the members are to know nothing but what is important enough to be put in a public message,” Jefferson wrote, “it becomes a government of chance and not of design.” The Jefferson strategy largely worked. In the Jefferson years, from 1801 to 1809, Republicans were heard to acknowledge that “the President’s dinners had silenced them” at moments when they were inclined to vote against the administration.

Entertaining also softened his foes. The Federalist Senator William Plumer of New Hampshire had begun his Washington career with predictably harsh views of Jefferson. Early on, Plumer dismissed Jefferson as the leader of a “feeble, nerveless administration.” As the years passed, Plumer’s opinion of the president, formed at close quarters, evolved from hostility to respect: “The more critically and impartially I examine the character and conduct of Mr. Jefferson the more favorably I think of his integrity,” he wrote in 1806.

Yet Jefferson could be ruthless about the use of his limited time in power. To create an ethos of supra-partisan civility would have required bringing politicians of opposing views together under his aegis. Jefferson had only four or eight years to impress himself on the country and was unwilling to waste any of those hours presiding over arguments, even polite ones, between differing factions at his table.

He chose, then, to use dinner at the President’s House to put himself and his own agenda at the center of things. He ended the more formal arrangements common to Presidents Washington and Adams, forbidding seating by precedence — he preferred “pell-mell,” or the more democratic practice of having guests sit where they chose. The gentle creation of disorder at dinner magnified his own strengths as a conversationalist.

Jefferson was under no utopian illusions about the efficacy of political entertaining. He knew that interests would always clash; as his presidential years went by, his goal was to ameliorate party differences, not eliminate them, since elimination was impossible. As he put it, though, “the ground of liberty is to be gained by inches.” So is the ground of governing, as we may hope the incumbent president realizes when his second term begins in earnest.


Jon Meacham is the author of “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.”
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1192 on: November 28, 2012, 07:29:45 AM »

"It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf." --Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 1, 1776


"An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation." --John Marshall
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 11:53:25 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1193 on: November 30, 2012, 08:50:53 AM »

"Speak seldom, but to important subjects, except such as particularly relate to your constituents, and, in the former case, make yourself perfectly master of the subject." --George Washington, Public Speaking, 1787
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1194 on: December 01, 2012, 11:11:41 AM »



THOMAS JEFFERSON is in the news again, nearly 200 years after his death — alongside a high-profile biography by the journalist Jon Meacham comes a damning portrait of the third president by the independent scholar Henry Wiencek.

We are endlessly fascinated with Jefferson, in part because we seem unable to reconcile the rhetoric of liberty in his writing with the reality of his slave owning and his lifetime support for slavery. Time and again, we play down the latter in favor of the former, or write off the paradox as somehow indicative of his complex depths.

Neither Mr. Meacham, who mostly ignores Jefferson’s slave ownership, nor Mr. Wiencek, who sees him as a sort of fallen angel who comes to slavery only after discovering how profitable it could be, seem willing to confront the ugly truth: the third president was a creepy, brutal hypocrite.

Contrary to Mr. Wiencek’s depiction, Jefferson was always deeply committed to slavery, and even more deeply hostile to the welfare of blacks, slave or free. His proslavery views were shaped not only by money and status but also by his deeply racist views, which he tried to justify through pseudoscience.

There is, it is true, a compelling paradox about Jefferson: when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, announcing the “self-evident” truth that all men are “created equal,” he owned some 175 slaves. Too often, scholars and readers use those facts as a crutch, to write off Jefferson’s inconvenient views as products of the time and the complexities of the human condition.

But while many of his contemporaries, including George Washington, freed their slaves during and after the revolution — inspired, perhaps, by the words of the Declaration — Jefferson did not. Over the subsequent 50 years, a period of extraordinary public service, Jefferson remained the master of Monticello, and a buyer and seller of human beings.

Rather than encouraging his countrymen to liberate their slaves, he opposed both private manumission and public emancipation. Even at his death, Jefferson failed to fulfill the promise of his rhetoric: his will emancipated only five slaves, all relatives of his mistress Sally Hemings, and condemned nearly 200 others to the auction block. Even Hemings remained a slave, though her children by Jefferson went free.

Nor was Jefferson a particularly kind master. He sometimes punished slaves by selling them away from their families and friends, a retaliation that was incomprehensibly cruel even at the time. A proponent of humane criminal codes for whites, he advocated harsh, almost barbaric, punishments for slaves and free blacks. Known for expansive views of citizenship, he proposed legislation to make emancipated blacks “outlaws” in America, the land of their birth. Opposed to the idea of royal or noble blood, he proposed expelling from Virginia the children of white women and black men.

Jefferson also dodged opportunities to undermine slavery or promote racial equality. As a state legislator he blocked consideration of a law that might have eventually ended slavery in the state.

As president he acquired the Louisiana Territory but did nothing to stop the spread of slavery into that vast “empire of liberty.” Jefferson told his neighbor Edward Coles not to emancipate his own slaves, because free blacks were “pests in society” who were “as incapable as children of taking care of themselves.” And while he wrote a friend that he sold slaves only as punishment or to unite families, he sold at least 85 humans in a 10-year period to raise cash to buy wine, art and other luxury goods.

Destroying families didn’t bother Jefferson, because he believed blacks lacked basic human emotions. “Their griefs are transient,” he wrote, and their love lacked “a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation.”

Jefferson claimed he had “never seen an elementary trait of painting or sculpture” or poetry among blacks and argued that blacks’ ability to “reason” was “much inferior” to whites’, while “in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.” He conceded that blacks were brave, but this was because of “a want of fore-thought, which prevents their seeing a danger till it be present.”

A scientist, Jefferson nevertheless speculated that blackness might come “from the color of the blood” and concluded that blacks were “inferior to the whites in the endowments of body and mind.”

Jefferson did worry about the future of slavery, but not out of moral qualms. After reading about the slave revolts in Haiti, Jefferson wrote to a friend that “if something is not done and soon done, we shall be the murderers of our own children.” But he never said what that “something” should be.

In 1820 Jefferson was shocked by the heated arguments over slavery during the debate over the Missouri Compromise. He believed that by opposing the spread of slavery in the West, the children of the revolution were about to “perpetrate” an “act of suicide on themselves, and of treason against the hopes of the world.”

If there was “treason against the hopes of the world,” it was perpetrated by the founding generation, which failed to place the nation on the road to liberty for all. No one bore a greater responsibility for that failure than the master of Monticello.


Paul Finkelman, a visiting professor in legal history at Duke Law School, is a professor at Albany Law School and the author of “Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson.”
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1195 on: December 01, 2012, 11:36:13 AM »

second post of day

"Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country." --Noah Webster, On the Education of Youth in America, 1788

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." --Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Convention, 1775
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 11:42:13 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1196 on: December 03, 2012, 08:10:27 AM »

"It is certainly true that a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people." --Richard Henry Lee, letter to Colonel Martin Pickett, 1786
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1197 on: December 05, 2012, 09:11:45 AM »

"A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species." --James Madison, Essay on Property, 1792
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1198 on: December 06, 2012, 07:36:44 AM »



"If men through fear, fraud or mistake, should in terms renounce and give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the great end of society, would absolutely vacate such renunciation; the right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of Man to alienate this gift, and voluntarily become a slave." --John Adams, Rights of the Colonists, 1772
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30869


« Reply #1199 on: December 10, 2012, 08:28:10 AM »

"It is necessary for every American, with becoming energy to endeavor to stop the dissemination of principles evidently destructive of the cause for which they have bled. It must be the combined virtue of the rulers and of the people to do this, and to rescue and save their civil and religious rights from the outstretched arm of tyranny, which may appear under any mode or form of government." --Mercy Warren, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution, 1805
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 22 23 [24] 25 26 ... 31 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!