| Page Political Science 374 10-Sep-09 Thomas Jefferson The nearest thing to Locke in the entire Continental Congress He was a renaissance man. Inventor, statesmen, Congressman, Secretary of State, Vice-President, Ambassador to France, founder of the Library of Congress, founder of the University of Virginia, Third President of the United States He was a major proponent of religious freedom both in the state of Virginia and the United States. He was a major cause of the addition of the religious freedoms into the First Amendment of the Constitution Jefferson was a large fan of Adam Smith and other Scottish political philosophers. Other factoids: Jefferson was supposedly against slavery in a moral and intellectual sense, but wasn?t willing to give it up himself. He wanted to have it both ways. In one moment, all men were created equal, but, in another, he refuted that idea and said that it was too early to institute such a measure. Jefferson?s main ideals: I. The Nature and Purpose of Legislature To protect the rights of citizens. Government is a product of human beings. Unlike Locke, he believed that we created the idea of government and foster its existence. II. Religion & Politics A. Religious Freedom Disestablishment of religion. At the time, the Church of England was the official church of Virginia, an idea that Jefferson detested. He favored religious freedom, free from any reproach or taxation because of one?s belief. Jefferson and Madison both fought for the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in the state of Virginia. He may have not been a Deist like many say, but he definitely had problems with religious dogma and authority. He believed that religious freedom was given to us by our creator and that humans had a responsibility to secure the rights of our fellow man. Because reason supersedes divinity, we must have freedom from any certain religion to form our own ideals. B. The Reasonableness of Christianity Jefferson finds it problematic that Jesus didn?t write anything in the Gospel himself. He had a problem that it was coming from second-hand sources. Jefferson, like the Deists, didn?t have any trouble with the moral teachings of Christ, but, instead, disliked the numerous second-hand accounts of ?miracles? throughout the Bible. Quote on pg.139: ??but those facts in the Bible?? Essentially said that we should second guess the idea of miracles that go against the laws of nature Held the view that the secular power of the clergy can be something that is a threat to liberty, democracy, and the Declaration?s teachings on liberty and equality. C. Separation of Church and State Jefferson had a belief that established religions inadvertently teach oppression and majority foster a sense of intolerance. They also foster hypocrisy and mean-spiritedness. He felt truth in religious matters would prevail only if it was left to itself and individuals could only find that truth if they were left to themselves. He called for a wall of separation between church and state. Jefferson felt that a multiplicity of religious sects would check and balance each other and would check the levels of dogma in society and would allow for a prevention of dominance by any single religion. The separation was aimed at preserving political peace and order. The Declaration affirmed a natural liberty. A natural liberty would temper the power of economic self-interest. D. Religious Tolerance and Political Orthodoxy Jefferson believed in decentralized political power and a limited government. Power, no matter what dimension, should be divided to protect liberties and rights. Jefferson saw the growth of Political Parties in the United States as being part of natural civil history. Jefferson was a strong believer in the French Revolution, including the extremism that was inherent to it. III. Education of Politics Jefferson was less affirming that constitutional framework could do much to preventing a slide towards tyranny. Jefferson felt that only an educated populace could safeguard the liberty of the people from tyranny. The preservation of liberty required a diffusion of knowledge amongst the people. You?re naturally building an educated aristocracy to maintain sensible leadership. Common man ruling themselves with self discipline with the 13 virtues vs. the uncommon man, the natural aristocracy who are to rule in the best interest of all the people. Jefferson said that people needed at the very least a minimal education on political history before analyzing the Bible. Education would prevent the overburdening presence of any single religious doctrine If we were able to learn with one another, we could tolerate one another better because we would be socialized to that behavior. Religiously and physically. A love of liberty and civic patriotism should, along with tolerance, be fostered in a structured public school system. Jefferson was weary that trivial pursuits would deter individuals from becoming educated. (Focusing too much on pop-culture and not enough on the way of government.) Pg. 146 ? Quote on direct democracy & republicanism: Jefferson essentially states that a republic is a government working for its people and set up by the majority. He had a more democratic view of republicanism. He was a fan of direct democracy. Myer?s Chapter: Jefferson said that government should be diffused amongst the various states, with the power going to the states. He favored a written constitution that explicitly stated what the government could and could not do. He favored saying what government?s role would be. Jefferson?s philosophy was that personal liberty and freedom was not interference to the social wellbeing. Criticisms of Jefferson: He was a hypocrite. Slavery. He always criticized American Presidential power, yet was willing to do so himself. He preached about a limited government, but effectively doubled the size of the nation, thusly making the government larger. Jefferson Other notes: Jefferson wanted three things added to the constitution, since he was an anti-federalist. Bill of rights US Bill of rights based on Virginian Bill of Rights based on English Bill of Rights Spell out the rights the government cannot interfere with. A balanced budget provision Government could not have the power to borrow money (not about fiscal conservation) Term limits Rotation of citizens, not bans from election.
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