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Jefferson and USA
by Seyed Javad
14 April 2002 23:32 UTC
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Now it is thebirthday of Jefferson in USA. I think it wouldbe worth to read this article where one of the fathers of American Statesmanship puts forward his version of Politics and Linerty.



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>From: precepts@claremont.org
>To: kafkazliatila@hotmail.com
>Subject: Claremont Institute Precepts: Happy Birthday Mr. Jefferson
>Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2002 10:31:29 -0700
>The Claremont Institute--PRECEPTS | | April 12, 2002
>Visit | | No. 328
>Claremont Institute Precepts: Happy Birthday Mr. Jefferson
>By Thomas L. Krannawitter
>Tomorrow is Thomas Jefferson's birthday. As a thinker,
>writer, and statesman, Jefferson stands among the greatest
>Americans. Whatever might be said against him -- and much
>is said against him today -- no one in human history has
>done more to advance the cause of human freedom. The
>principles of civil liberty are set forth with unrivaled
>clarity and eloquence in the Declaration of Independence.
>The principles of religious liberty are set forth with
>equal clarity and eloquence in the Virginia Statute of
>Religious Liberty. Both documents were the work of Thomas
>Jefferson. Together they form the core of the scholarship
>of the politics of freedom.
>Before the American Founding, a government that combined
>majority rule and minority rights was unimaginable. In
>Europe, for example, countless thousands had been
>mercilessly slaughtered because some, but not others,
>believed in transubstantiation. No Catholic and no
>Protestant, and no Jew, would agree to have matters of
>faith decided by a political majority, any more than by a
>king. So long as political authority remained grounded in
>sectarian religion, free government in a nation of multiple
>religions was impossible.
>But the Americans, led by the lights of Jefferson, solved
>this problem. They understood that self-government is
>possible only if sectarian religious disputes are taken out
>of the political process. This requires a ground of
>morality and political rights that transcends the
>boundaries of sectarian religions, and which mutually
>obliges all individuals, regardless of who belongs to the
>majority or minority of the political community. That
>ground is the doctrine of individual natural rights --
>rights that exist independent of religious beliefs, and are
>accessible by unassisted human reason. As Jefferson
>declared in his Virginia Statute, a man's religious
>opinions have no more bearing upon his civil rights than
>his opinions in physics or geometry, because a man's civil
>rights rest upon his natural rights.
>One reason Jefferson was asked to draft the Declaration of
>Independence was his authorship, two years before the
>Declaration, of the "Summary View of the Rights of British
>America." Addressed to the King of England, this was
>unquestionably the ablest and most comprehensive statement
>of America's cause. It ended with the fiery
>peroration: "...let it [not] be proposed that our
>properties within our own territories shall be taxed or
>regulated by any power on earth but our own. The God who
>gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of
>force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them. This, Sire, is
>our last, our determined resolution..." Can there be any
>doubt that the Continental Congress picked the right man
>for the Fourth of July?
>Of course, not all Americans think Jefferson worth
>celebrating. Among the many criticisms leveled against him,
>the most widespread and persistent is that Jefferson did
>not believe blacks to be the equal of whites. The truth is
>that Jefferson's beliefs on this subject were varied and
>skeptical. Further, the opinion that blacks might be
>intellectually or physically inferior to whites was shared
>by virtually every one of Jefferson's highly educated
>contemporaries, not to mention the less highly educated.
>This remained true even of the most radical abolitionists
>of the antebellum period. However melancholy the fact, it
>is nonetheless fact.
>On one point, however, Jefferson was unwavering. Whether
>equal or unequal in talents or abilities, blacks have the
>same natural rights -- the same right to be free -- as
>human beings of all other colors. As Jefferson
>explained, "whatever be their degree of talent, it is no
>measure of their rights. Because Sir Isaac Newton was
>superior to others in understanding, he was not therefore
>lord of the person or property of others."
>After more than 200 years of American independence, America
>is still struggling with racism. Betraying the words of
>Martin Luther King Jr., which were the words of Thomas
>Jefferson, there remains great political pressure in
>America, most egregiously on the part of government, to
>identify Americans by the color of their skin, not the
>content of their character. If America is ever to truly
>get beyond race -- if Americans are ever to view one
>another simply as fellow citizens and friends -- we will do
>so only by embracing the color-blind and universal
>principles of Thomas Jefferson.
>On one occasion, Abraham Lincoln said of Thomas Jefferson
>that he "was, is, and perhaps will continue to be, the most
>distinguished politician of our history." On another he
>declared, "The principles of Jefferson are the definitions
>and axioms of free society." Lincoln was right. Let us join
>Lincoln's celebration of the principles of Jefferson -- the
>definitions and axioms of free society -- and wish Mr.
>Jefferson a happy birthday.
>Thomas L. Krannawitter is Director of Civic Education at
>the Claremont Institute.
>Copyright (c) 2002 The Claremont Institute
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>Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life.
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