Today, August 5, 2015, I posted the following remarks regarding our Founding Fathers on Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist, Maureen Downey’s blog, “Get Schooled.”
Not only “can” we make changes to our Constitution, but our Founding Fathers expected us to make those changes, and they desired for us to make those changes, over time. Jefferson advocated for the abolition of slavery as a young man even while writing the Declaration of Independence and he advocated for public education for all of America’s children so that this nation might have an educated populace that could be inclusively self-governing. One of the reasons President Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon was so that those Americans without land could move into the western territories and become landowners. Washington freed his slaves in his Will in order to show the nation the direction it should move over time. Alexander Hamilton wished for America to have an economic system of power which would be the envy of the world and would allow for social mobility from the lower classes upward. Jefferson, on the other hand, contended that Hamilton’s banking and financial network vision for America would create an elite, ruling class in America similar to what the American colonists were trying to remove themselves from, in the Old World’s aristocratic class structure. We can see that Jefferson’s vision seems very apt today regarding the dangers inherent within Hamilton’s vision, almost 2 1/2 centuries since he walked on this earth.
Our Founding Fathers, each, expected us to make social and economic changes because they were not only “of” their times, but they also were “beyond” their times in how they visualized that America would eventually become that “more perfect union” to which they had committed their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor,” as they stated in the Declaration of Independence.
Presently, I am reading historian John Ferling’s book entitled, “Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry that Forged a Nation,” in which the two opposing visions for America’s future by Hamilton and Jefferson caused Jefferson to resign as Washington’s Secretary of State in that Washington supported Hamilton’s economic vision which would enhance a more centralized federal government, primarily, although Washington saw the merit of Jefferson’s egalitarian and self-governing vision, also, and had wanted both men to stay on board in his administration. These men were looking not simply decades ahead, but centuries ahead. We are still debating their two different visions for America today, with each vision having morphed, of course, over time. Yes, they were exceptional men and they were human beings with flaws like every other human being who will ever live.
See this entry which I posted in November, 2016, for how the ideas of Jefferson and Hamilton for America might be combined:
On August 6, 2015, AJC columnist and blogger Maureen Downey shared these comments by Thomas Jefferson on her blog, “Get Schooled”:
“Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people.”
“Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to, convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty.”
“I look to the diffusion of light and education as the resource most to be relied on for ameliorating the condition, promoting the virtue and advancing the happiness of man.”