Selected Quotations from the Thomas Jefferson Papers “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal . . . .” “it is the great parent of science & of virtue: and that a nation will be great in both, always in proportion as it is free.” “our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”
Jefferson has been called “the most democratic of the Founding fathers”. The Jeffersonians advocated a narrow interpretation of the Constitution’s Article I provisions granting powers to the federal government. They strenuously opposed the Federalist Party, led by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.
Thomas Jefferson , the man who wrote that “all men were created equal” in the Declaration of Independence, had his own definition of equality. Jefferson believed that the “common man” who owned land was the best person to participate in a democracy since that person had more to gain or lose in a taxation bill.
In his mind, “no society can make a perpetual constitution , or even a perpetual law”. The only “umpire” between the generations was the law of nature.”
“To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do.” “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” “Virtue is not always amiable.” “Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.
“ Those who stand for nothing fall for everything .” “Give all the power to the many, they will oppress the few. Give all the power to the few, they will oppress the many.” “The constitution shall never be construedto prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
Thomas Jefferson favored an agrarian federal republic , a strict interpretation of the Constitution , and strong state governance.
Attacking Federalist policies, he opposed a strong centralized Government and championed the rights of states. As a reluctant candidate for President in 1796, Jefferson came within three votes of election. Through a flaw in the Constitution, he became Vice President, although an opponent of President Adams.
The Declaration of Independence proclaimed the creation of an American “people,” asserted a claim to universal rights, and declared America to be independent of the British Empire.
Jefferson has been a great democratic icon precisely because he so eloquently articulated fundamental tensions in Americans’ understanding of the people’s power. The United States had “the strongest Government on earth,” Jefferson told his fellow Americans in his first Inaugural Address on March 4, 1801.
Although Jefferson had good intentions, he clearly violated the Constitution by abusing his position as executive of the U.S. In another situation, Jefferson pushed the limits of presidential power by passing the Embargo Act of 1807. Clearly, Jefferson exercised massive federal power to achieve his political goals.
Thomas Jefferson did live up to his own political ideals , with the exception of a few key events. Jefferson was a mentor to James Madison, the author of the Federalist Papers, and the Constitution, so his ideals had a strong impact.
Thomas Jefferson opposed this plan. He thought states should charter banks that could issue money. Jefferson also believed that the Constitution did not give the national government the power to establish a bank. The bank became an important political issue in 1791, and for years to come.
He agreed to support the Constitution and the strong federal government it created. Jefferson’s support , however, hinged upon the condition that Madison add a bill of rights to the document in the form of ten amendments.
Two of America’s Founding Fathers didn’t sign the Constitution . Thomas Jefferson was representing his country in France and John Adams was doing the same in Great Britain.