Tag: Jefferson

Our Historical Memory . . . or Lack Thereof

It was 243 years ago today that the Continental Congress approved the wording of the Declaration of Independence. Although Thomas Jefferson drafted the document, there was a committee that was responsible for sending it to the floor of the Congress. Two of those committee members were John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. Jefferson later said that he didn’t write anything original, that he was merely putting into words the consensus of the era concerning rights that come from God and the… Read more »

Great Power or Great Responsibility?

So many people want to be president. Perhaps it would do them some good to remember comments by America’s first three presidents. When Washington was elected to the presidency, he wrote to Henry Knox: My movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution: so unwilling am I, in the evening of a life nearly consumed in public cares, to quit a peaceful… Read more »

Presidential Greatness: A List to Ponder

Presidents Day apparently was a prime time to release the new rankings of presidential greatness. Who is judging which president is greater than another, you may ask. The answer: 170 members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. You may ask further: what are the political leanings of these 170 members? The answer with respect to political party: 57.2% of respondents were Democrats, while 12.7% were Republicans, 27.1% were Independents, and 3% selected Other… Read more »

Our Historical Memory . . . Or Lack Thereof

It was 241 years ago today that the Continental Congress approved the wording of the Declaration of Independence. Although Thomas Jefferson drafted the document, there was a committee that was responsible for sending it to the floor of the Congress. Two of those committee members were John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. Jefferson later said that he didn’t write anything original, that he was merely putting into words the consensus of the era concerning rights that come from God and the… Read more »

Virginia’s Historic State House

Over the past week, I’ve been chronicling my visit back to Virginia, where I’ve spent most of my adult life, and the tour I led for students. One more post about that, then I’ll get back to some commentary on the latest developments causing agitation in the nation’s capital. For today, I’d like to focus on Virginia’s capital, Richmond, and the Capitol at its center. I didn’t take this photo, obviously, and was kept from taking any on the outside… Read more »

Monticello & Yorktown: The Tour Continues

Our tour of historic southeastern Virginia continues. Tuesday was a full day at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home. I’ve been to Monticello numerous times, but every time I learn more. Particularly interesting was the interpreter’s talk about slavery at the plantation. He interspersed the overall picture with vignettes from the lives of various slaves who labored there. There were three levels of slavery at the plantation: farm workers; artisans/craftsmen; house servants. One family—the Hemings—was almost slave royalty, resented by those who… Read more »

Presidents Without Knowledge

1794 Reporter: President Washington, could you please comment on the rebellion brewing in this country over the excise tax? We hear rumors that you are going to be sending troops to deal with that, and that you yourself may be leading those troops? Is that true, sir? Washington: Sir, as you should know, that is an ongoing investigation. It would not be proper for me to comment on that at this time. Please do not believe all the rumors you… Read more »