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Jefferson’s Blog

Some election issues are timeless.
Thomas Jefferson writes on the issues of his day, and ours.

April 19, 2012

Can freedom exist where there is ignorance?

“If a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was & never will be.”

–Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816

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  1. Well put, Mr. Jefferson. Democracy doesn’t happen in vacuum. It takes the willful participation of the country’s citizens to serve and govern. Without proper education we are doomed to repeat past mistakes and even make worse our future endeavors. A well-educated citizenry is able to create a meaningful life.

  2. It’s ironic to see a quote about ignorance and freedom from a man who owned slaves and wrote such racist things in his NOtes on the State of Virginia.

    I guess what this means is that ignorance is relative, and there’s always progress to be made.

    • I beseech you sir to read Jeffersons “A Summary View Of The Rights Of British America.” In it he speaks to the atrocities of slavery and the call to unite against it. Furthermore, in his first draft of the Declaration he intentionally speaks of how whites and colored people are by nature free. But when about one of every three delegates dislike his draft, for this very reason, and call to change it, Jefferson becomes so disgusted by this horrible view of point that he ups and leaves congress and goes shopping so that he would not be associated with these men. Furothermore, his first act as governor and also his first act as President of these United States was to directly address “these abhorrent acts of mankind.” To provide even more of an example, Jefferson was so disgusted by the issue of one man enslaving another that he believed God was going to punish one day this nation for acting so sinfully in regards to slavery. I pray thee, madam, to take up a book or an original document with an open mind and see for yourself the facts which I purpose.

      Your most humble and obedient servant,
      Daniel

  3. “It’s ironic to see a quote about ignorance and freedom from a man who owned slaves and wrote such racist things in his NOtes on the State of Virginia.”

    Interesting thought Cassie. I liked the quote, but your contribution made me think twice.


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