Somehow, everyone wants to claim my hometown’s founding father, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in Shadwell, Virginia. Shadwell was actually a plantation. It burned around 1770 and Jefferson moved to Monticello Mountain outside of Charlottesville. He is truly Virginia’s native son.
Jefferson is claimed by Democrats, libertarians and Republicans alike. Certainly the Jefferson Jackson Dinner Fling put on the Democrats each year speaks to their affinity for Jefferson. The Tea Party people seem mighty fond of Jefferson also. He was quoted all over the place today during the rallies. Some quotes are included below.
Jefferson was an inventor, an author, he wrote the Declaration of Independence, he was a farmer, a building, a statesman, an educator, a diplomat, a scientist, a musician, a visionary, a philosopher…the list goes on. He founded and built the University of Virginia towards the end of his life. His ‘academical village’ is one of the top universities in the nation.
You have to be doing something right when that many different people coming from that many points of view think you are a rock star. Exactly what is it about Jefferson that people find so appealing?
Some quotes from Jefferson might help illustrate his popularity:
“A wise and frugal government – A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government…”
“On every unauthoritative exercise of power by the legislature must the people rise in rebellion or their silence be construed into a surrender of that power to them? If so, how many rebellions should we have had already?”
“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
“The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife.”
“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.”