Today, April 13, is the 267th Birthday of Thomas Jefferson, our most brilliant President, and one of the greatest of all the Founding Fathers!
This is the man who wrote the primary draft of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which promoted his basic principle of separation of church and state.
This is the man who helped to found a political party opposition, the Democratic Republicans, in the 1790s.
This is the man who promoted a philosophy called “liberal” at the time, but is now seen as “conservatism”–limited national government and strict interpretation of the Constitution. However, as President, he abandoned much of this concept and endorsed Alexander Hamilton’s stronger national government and broad interpretation of the Constitution!
This is the man who served as Governor of Virginia, Ambassador to France, Secretary of State, Vice President, and President (1801-1809), and doubled our land via the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 from Napoleon’s France.
This is the man who kept us at peace when he realized that we could not defeat the nation he had long despised, Great Britain. I am referring to the Chesapeake Affair.
This is also the man who owned slaves, and was always a maze of contradictions, which has made interpreting him extremely difficult. One can both agree and disagree with what he said and did.
But what one cannot do, legitimately, is decide to write Thomas Jefferson out of the textbooks of history, or to knock him down to a minor role in American history, which unfortunately, is what the Texas Board of Education has been doing in its once a decade review of what should be taught and emphasized in the publication of new textbooks for students. It is a disgraceful distortion of history, and really promoting lies and myths, to deny the greatness of our third President!
We must continue to honor the man whose memorial stands proudly on the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC! While not perfect by any means, there is no debate that Thomas Jefferson was a GREAT man who deserves our respect and consideration as a major factor in American history!