Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy 268th Birthday to Thomas Jefferson

Posted on :13 APRIL 2011


Today is the 268th birthday of President Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States.

Today we celebrate the birthday of the man who united the colonies with mere parchment and pen. As we remember the legacy of Thomas Jefferson, we commemorate the document that embodies the principles of America.

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809) and the principal author of theDeclaration of Independence (1776). An influential Founding Father, Jefferson envisioned America as a great “Empire of Liberty” that would promote republicanism.

In the thick of party conflict in 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a private letter, “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

Freckled and sandy-haired, rather tall and awkward, Jefferson was eloquent as a correspondent, but he was no public speaker. In the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress, he contributed his pen rather than his voice to the patriot cause. As the “silent member” of the Congress, Jefferson, at 33, drafted the Declaration of Independence. In years following he labored to make its words a reality in Virginia. Most notably, he wrote a bill establishing religious freedom, enacted in 1786.

At the age of thirty-three, Thomas Jefferson accepted the challenge of writing the Declaration ofIndependence. John Adams insisted that Jefferson was the one for the job, because, Adams admitted, “I am obnoxious, suspected, and unpopular and you can write ten times better than I can.” Many delegates wondered if the colonists could join together to defend themselves against Britain. Such unity would be possible with the right statement of purpose. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson harmonized the dissenting voices echoing across the colonies. The self-evident truths rang from the swamps of Charleston to the sea-ports of Connecticut.

He sure is a great man, but then again some historians have negative perspectives by saying that he is a hypocrite.

It’s an easy charge to make. He believed slavery to be iniquitous, yet he owned slaves and only freed a few of them. He was a champion of limited government and was a solid strict constructionist, believing that the Constitution should be interpreted as it was written. Yet, he doubled the size of the country with theLouisiana Purchase without asking for a constitutional amendment to authorize buying the 828,800 square miles of land from France.

Well, that accusation might be right, but histories have also written how Jefferson not only united the colonists, but he gave future generations a clear vision of the purpose of government. His succinct statement of principles resonated with the delegates of Philadelphia as they crafted a new Constitutional government. The principles proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and promulgated by the Constitution still define us as a nation and inspires us as a people.
But then again, happy 268th birthday Thomas Jefferson. 

No comments:

Post a Comment