Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Thomas Jefferson's Last Thoughts

Appropos of Independence Day, & appearing in the July 4, 2006 issue of The Nation's online edition, this:

[Nation] "The founders were imperfect men, to be sure. Few were so radical, or so far ahead of their times, as Tom Paine, the wisest of their number.

"But they were, proudly and unquestionably, revolutionaries against the old order of inherited monarchy, state churches, empires and the authority of the few over the fate of the many.

"We know this to be true of Jefferson because, as July 4, 1826, approached, he was invited to appear in Washington for a celebration of the Declaration of Independence. Age and infirmity prevented Jefferson from attending the event, but he sent a message – his last political statement – which read:"


May (July 4) be to the world, what I believe it will be--to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all--the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.

That form (of government) which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

[Nation]"On this Fourth of July, we Americans would do well to embrace Jefferson's last words and the American ideals that, though battered by the current tyranny, will outlast the King George of the moment."

Jefferson was a product of his time--as are all humans--& his thinking reflects the influence of the Enlightenment. His words hold as true today as they did 200 years ago.

And now I'm off to enjoy the fireworks on the waterfront, & maybe guzzle a little beer.

2 Comments:

Blogger dusty said...

Damn good reading m'dear..I am glad I stopped by at this late hour.

12:59 AM  
Blogger Demon Princess said...

Thanks, Dusty.

I'm thinking that this modern American "marketplace of ideas" is well overdue for a "correction," & it's time to get back to "fundamental ideals & basics."

I daresay Jefferson wouldn't recognize the country he helped found now!

1:40 PM  

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