Thomas Jefferson

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Michael Bush:
"In three years of backbreaking studies that, according to Madison, "exacted perhaps the most severe of Jefferson's public labors," Jefferson had almost single-handedly provided "a mine of legislative wealth" that provided Virginians with a modern republic built on the foundations of Greece and Rome. It became a model for other states and the pattern after which the federal republic of the United States was modeled. Jefferson, in short, in his legal laboratory atop Monticello, invented the United States of America."--Willard Sterne Randall, Thomas Jefferson: A Life

Michael Bush:
"Thomas Jefferson once said, 'We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.' And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying."--Ronald Reagan

Michael Bush:
"In 1800, in the first interparty contest, the Federalists warned that presidential candidate Thomas Jefferson, because of his sympathy expressed at the outset of the French Revolution, was 'the son of a half-breed Indian squaw' who would put opponents under the guillotine."--Robert Dallek

Michael Bush:
"No language can be more explicit, more emphatic, or more solemn, than that in which Thomas Jefferson, from the beginning to the end of his life, uniformly declared his opposition to slavery. 'I tremble for my country,' said he, 'when I reflect that God is just-that His justice cannot sleep forever.' * * 'The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.' In reference to the state of public feeling as influenced by the Revolution, he said, 'I think a change already perceptible since the origin of the Revolution;' and to show his own view of the proper influence of the spirit of the Revolution upon slavery, he proposed the searching question: 'Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment, and death itself, in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment be deaf to all those motives whose power supported him through his trial, and inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose?' 'We must wait,' he added, 'with patience, the workings of an overruling Providence, and hope that that is preparing the deliverance of these our suffering brethren. When the measure of their tears shall be full-when their tears shall have involved Heaven itself in darkness, doubtless a God of justice will awaken to their distress, and by diffusing light and liberality among their oppressors, or at length, by his exterminating thunder, manifest his attention to things of this world, and that they be not left to the guidance of blind fatality!' Towards the close of his life, Mr. Jefferson made a renewed and final declaration of his opinion by writing thus to a friend: 'My sentiments on the subject of the slavery of Negroes have long since been in possession of the public, and time has only served to give them stronger root. The love of justice and the love of country plead equally the cause of these people; and it is a moral reproach to us that they should have pleaded it so long in vain and should have produced not a single effort-nay, I fear, not much serious willingness to relieve them and ourselves from our present condition of moral and political reprobation.'"--Daniel Webster, Writings . . . Hitherto Uncollected, Vol. III, pp. 204-205, "Address on the Annexation of Texas", January 29, 1845.

Michael Bush:
"I want to tell you how welcome you are to the White House. I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.  Someone once said that Thomas Jefferson was a gentleman of 32 who could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, and dance the minuet. Whatever he may have lacked, if he could have had his former colleague, Mr. Franklin, here we all would have been impressed."--John F. Kennedy at a Dinner Honoring Nobel Prize Winners of the Western Hemisphere


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