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Jefferson’s Blog

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

September 20, 2012

Can government represent 100% of voters?

“Our true interest will be best promoted by making all the just claims of our fellow citizens, wherever situated, our own; by urging and enforcing them with the weight of our whole influence; and by exercising in every instance a just government in their concerns, and making common cause even where our separate interest would seem opposed to theirs ... I sincerely wish that the whole Union may accomodate their interests to each other, and play into their hands mutually as members of the same family, that the wealth and strength of any one part should be viewed as the wealth and strength of the whole.”

–Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, August 11, 1786

September 13, 2012

Do presidential candidates need strength in foreign policy?

“I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United States never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their political interests are entirely distinct from ours. Their mutual jealousies, their balance of power, their complicated alliances, their forms and principles of government, are all foreign to us. They are nations of eternal war.”

–Thomas Jefferson to President James Monroe, 1823

September 6, 2012

Should a candidate’s religion matter?

“But I have ever thought religion a concern purely between our God and our consciences, for which we were accountable to him, and not to the priests. I never told my own religion, nor scrutinized that of another.”

–Thomas Jefferson to Mrs. Samuel H. Smith, 1816

August 30, 2012

How important is a candidate’s reputation?

“I know well that no man will ever bring out of that office the reputation which carries him into it.”

–Thomas Jefferson to Edward Rutledge, Monticello, December 27, 1796

August 23, 2012

Was the founders’ wisdom perfect?

“Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment.”

–Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, June 12, 1816

August 16, 2012

What do today’s students expect from a college education?

“By going to the College I shall get a more universal Acquaintance, which may hereafter be serviceable to me; and I suppose I can pursue my Studies in the Greek and Latin as well there as here, and likewise learn something of the Mathematics.”

–Thomas Jefferson to John Harvie, Shadwell, January 14, 1760