Jefferson and his Vision
Guided by his fervent and unwavering commitment to reason and the principles of natural law and natural rights, Thomas Jefferson crafted his own unique political and social vision for the United States of America which, excluding a few notable omissions, has survived to become an important contribution to the cornerstone of American democracy. His vision was of an agrarian and populist nation of citizens with access to general and widespread education, whose rulers are chosen on grounds of their individual merits and talents rather than on basis of birth and inheritance, and governed by a decentralized system of government, whose main duty is to safeguard the unalienable natural rights and freedom of the individual, and the general well-being and happiness of the citizen, as well as the unimpeded enforcement of the general will of society at large. This vision is the result and culmination of his personal beliefs on the topics of universal liberty and political philosophy, weighed and viewed through the discerning and logical lens of reason. An enlightened figure of liberal and rational eighteenth century thought, Jefferson wholeheartedly championed the concept and principle of natural rights ¡°as derived from the laws of nature¡± (Summary View). He also believed that given ¡°the nature of things, every society¡± must naturally have some form of ¡°legislature¡± and government (Summary View), and ¡°that the will of the majority should always prevail¡± (Letter to Madison). Jefferson believed it was critical to submit absolutely to ¡°the decisions of the majority,¡± which is the ¡°vital principle of republics, from which there is no appeal but to force,¡± which is the ¡°vital principle¡¦ of despotism¡± (Inaugural Address). In order to reconcile these seemingly opposite and incompatible dictates of individual freedom and the necessity for government and submission to its rule, Jefferson proposed and argued for a weak and republican form...
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