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Did Jefferson really say this quote about patriotism?

Did Jefferson really say this quote about patriotism?


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Who said this quote?

Patriotism is not a short frenzied burst of emotion, but the long and steady dedication of a lifetime.

I've seen some sources claiming it was Thomas Jefferson and others claiming it was Adlai Stevenson. It could be that Stevenson was quoting Jefferson, but I haven't found any credible-looking sources for this being a Jefferson quote.

Ideally, I'd like to know who said this, when they said it, and where.


It does look suspicious to me. It's tough to put my finger on, but the phraseology doesn't look very 18th century. It doesn't sound like other Jefferson writing to me either. Also Jefferson is a rather conveniently famous and beloved figure to tag it onto if you aren't sure (or don't happen to like who really said it… )

With a fairly thorough googling, I did find rather a lot of instances of it attributed to Jefferson, but all IMHO from shaky sources, and none included a reference to the written material it was supposedly taken from.

As you said, I also managed to find it attributed to Adlai Stevenson. While I have the same suspicions as you that he could possibly have been re-quoting Jefferson, I did find at least one source for this attribution which is older than any Jefferson attribution I could find, and from someone with at least more credibility than a random internet schmoe: a memorial for Adlai Stevenson, penned by (then Vice President) Hubert Humphrey in July of 1969.

Perhaps my favorite words of Adlai were the ones I used often during the 1968 Presidential Campaign: "Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime".

The word "frenzied" in particular looks very modern and anachronistic coming from Jefferson. Out of curiosity, I ran it through Ngram, and got the following:

In other words, it appears to have been a far more popular word in the early to mid 20th century (precisely when Adlai Stevenson was active) than in the mid to late 18th (when Jefferson was active).

So I'd go with Adlai. If you're wrong, at least you can blame a former VP for it, rather than a bunch of random internet people you don't know.


Those words were spoken by Adlai E. Stevenson in one of his campaign speeches for the 1952 U.S. presidential election.

The full quote is as follows:

What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility which will enable America to remain master of her power--to walk with it in serenity and wisdom, with self-respect and the respect of all mankind; a patriotism that puts country ahead of self; a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. The dedication of a lifetime--these are words that are easy to utter, but this is a mighty assignment. For it is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them.

Sources:

  • Adlai Stevenson II - Wikipedia - just for background info on the election which is well attested
  • Major campaign speeches of Adlai E. Stevenson, 1952, page 19 (part 1) - Google Books
  • Major campaign speeches of Adlai E. Stevenson, 1952, page 19 (part 2) - Google Books
  • Major campaign speeches of Adlai E. Stevenson, 1952, page 19 (part 3) - Google Books

FACT CHECK: Did Thomas Jefferson Say, ‘When Injustice Becomes Law, Resistance Becomes Duty’?

People took to Twitter Friday to wish Thomas Jefferson a happy 275th birthday, with some attributing the following quote to America&rsquos third president: &ldquoWhen injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.&rdquo

But did Jefferson really say that?

Verdict: False

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation calls the quote &ldquospurious,&rdquo and etymologists say there&rsquos no evidence Jefferson ever said it.

The U.S. government has officially commemorated April 13 as &ldquoThomas Jefferson&rsquos Birthday&rdquo ever since President Franklin D. Roosevelt made it a day of national observance in 1938.

Some have used the day as an opportunity to quote Jefferson.

Jefferson was born on April 13. A good day to remember his words. Happy Birthday, you would not believe the shit we are seeing in politics today.

&ldquoWhen injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty&rdquo

&ldquoJefferson was born on April 13. A good day to remember his words. Happy Birthday, you would not believe the s**t we are seeing in politics today,&rdquo said one Twitter user.

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty!#ObamaGate #ClintonFoundation #Comey #Benghazi #JUSTICENOW #Awan #WitchHunt #ClearFlynnNow #FridayFeeling #LockThemAllUp The duty of The People is to protect its Country from the government! JUSTICE IS NOT JUST FOR US! pic.twitter.com/Nvytb6nGMF

&mdash Great South Bay (@gsouthbay2688) April 13, 2018

&ldquo#ObamaGate #ClintonFoundation #Comey #Benghazi #JUSTICENOW #Awan #WitchHunt #ClearFlynnNow #FridayFeeling #LockThemAllUp The duty of The People is to protect its Country from the government! JUSTICE IS NOT JUST FOR US!&rdquo exclaimed another user.

Both conservatives and liberals have shared the quote, with many liberal users placing a special significance on Jefferson sayings that invoke the word &ldquoresistance,&rdquo a popular term that has come to represent opposition to President Donald Trump.

&ldquoHappy BDay Thomas Jefferson! #MSNBC #theResistance #Comey,&rdquo one user tweeted.

Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, did believe in rebellion, and some of his letters convey that sentiment.

&ldquoThe spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive,&rdquo he wrote in 1787. &ldquoIt will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.&rdquo

But Jefferson never said the far more pithy, &ldquoWhen injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.&rdquo

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which maintains his property at Monticello, could not find the saying anywhere in Jefferson&rsquos writings.

The expression &ldquohas been credited to such famous figures as Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and Nelson Mandela, but there&rsquos no evidence that either person ever said it,&rdquo writes etymologist Barry Popik.

The first known attribution to Jefferson was in 2006, although the saying has been in circulation for decades. Popik believes the phrase was actually popularized by social activists in Australia.

&ldquoThe High Court of Australia&rsquos decision to keep refugee children imprisoned in detention centres makes it crystal clear that injustice has become law in this country,&rdquo said a member of Australia&rsquos Socialist Alliance in 1993. &ldquoAnd when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.&rdquo

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected] .


10 Quotes about Patriotism and Liberty from America’s Founding Fathers

To know the spirit of patriotism, you must look at your country. And when you look at your country, you must look at the people who shaped it. For patriotism ultimately springs from a country’s identity, and that identity is first molded by its creators.

Patriots themselves, America’s Founding Fathers spent their lives thinking about patriotism and liberty. Even though time has passed and things have changed, we can learn from their thoughts and writings on these subjects. Check out some of their famous quotes below!

AMERICA’S FOUNDING FATHERS ON LIBERTY AND PATRIOTISM

  1. “A spirit of liberty and patriotism animates all degrees and denominations of men.”—James Madison
  2. “For true patriots to be silent, is dangerous.”—Samuel Adams
  3. “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”—George Washington
  4. “The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.”—Samuel Adams
  5. “If ever the time should come, when vain & aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”—Samuel Adams
  6. “There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.”—Alexander Hamilton
  7. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”—Thomas Jefferson
  8. “However weak our country may be, I hope we shall never sacrifice our liberties.”—Alexander Hamilton
  9. “Equal laws protecting equal rights—the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.”—James Madison
  10. “But a constitution of government once changed from freedom can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”—John Adams

These quotes were found in FoundingFatherQuotes.com’s database.

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13 Patriotic Quotes from America’s Founding Fathers

1,331 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

It is increasingly popular to question America’s greatness and status as a “Shining City on a Hill,” but the Founding Fathers showed that patriotism is not a bad thing, and U.S. freedom should never be taken for granted.

Honor the risk the nation’s earliest patriots took and celebrate Independence Day by remembering some of the most patriotic quotes from America’s Founding Fathers. Emphasis added:

1. George Washington, Farewell Address 1796:

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

Yet, however weak our country may be, I hope we shall never sacrifice our liberties. If, therefore, on a full and candid discussion, the proposed system shall appear to have that tendency, for God’s sake, let us reject it! But, let us not mistake words for things, nor accept doubtful surmises as the evidence of truth. Let us consider the Constitution calmly and dispassionately, and attend to those things only which merit consideration.

But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrender their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”

But where, says some, is the King of America? I’ll tell you. Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain.”

For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.

You have now in the field armies sufficient to repel the whole force of your enemies and their base and mercenary auxiliaries. The hearts of your soldiers beat high with the spirit of freedom they are animated with the justice of their cause, and while they grasp their swords can look up to Heaven for assistance. Your adversaries are composed of wretches who laugh at the rights of humanity, who turn religion into derision, and would, for higher wages, direct their swords against their leaders or their country. Go on, then, in your generous enterprise with gratitude to Heaven for past success, and confidence of it in the future. For my own part, I ask no greater blessing than to share with you the common danger and common glory. If I have a wish dearer to my soul than that my ashes may be mingled with those of a Warren and Montgomery, it is that these American States may never cease to be free and independent.

“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.”

Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom—go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”


A Fake Jefferson Quote

I'm finding it rather amusing that so many blogs, particularly of the conservative variety, are making a huge deal out of Mark Steyn's article in the Chicago Sun-Times about a fake Jefferson quote. The quote, which we've all heard attributed to Jefferson repeatedly, goes like this:

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

Steyn makes sure to point out that John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Nadine Strossen of the ACLU have all used that quote, and he points out that, according to the Jefferson library, the quote is a fake. Fair enough, I'm all for historical accuracy and always happy to see fake quotes called fake quotes. But in this case, at least, the quote is probably considered accurate by those who've passed it on without checking it first because it really is the sort of thing that Jefferson would have said. Remember, this is the same man who said that the tree of liberty must be nourished with the blood of tyrants and patriots.

I just wonder where these folks are when those on the right constantly, repeatedly pass on a list of fake quotes from the founding fathers about religion. I've never heard a peep from them about quotes that are far more obviously fake and that are passed around and cited literally thousands of times. A google search for the famous Patrick Henry fake quote gets over 26,000 hits. The fake James Madison "ten commandments" quote gets almost 10,000 hits. They are repeated by politicians and pundits constantly. So if we're going to fight against historical revisionism, let's do it consistently.

More like this

Just this morning I heard someone on the radio recite a quote supposedly from Lincoln: "I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go." It seems, however, to be the work of Williams Adams. The line is embedded in a more extensive quote from Adams at quoteworld.com.

Another bogus Lincoln quote has him talking about wanting to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem at the moment he was shot. Very dramatic as recounted by D. James Kennedy, the Presbyterian minister who specializes in right-wing politics and anti-evolution activism. He managed to lump both of these together while bearing false witness against Sir Julian Huxley. According to Kennedy, Huxley embraced evolution in order to have sex without guilt.

Kennedy seems to be projecting: Who is the one who doesn't care if it's wrong, so long as it feels right?

It's a real quotation, it apparently is erroneously attributed to Jefferson. Jim Lindgren at Volohk.com had a post this morning in which he gives what he believes is the probable correct attribution. He attributes it to Dorothy Hewitt Hutchinson. Of course, she's dead now, so it would be impossible to ask her whether she got it from someone else.

Yes, it was Lindgren's post that prompted this post, though he was about the 10th blogger I'd seen mention Steyn's column. It was a very odd post from Lindgren. He implied that Hutchinson was hypocritical for saying that dissent is the highest form of patriotism while not allowing the dissent of others to convince her that she was wrong. That's just plain weird reasoning.

Well, since Ed is drawing some comparisons about the use of made up quotes on the right as opposed to on the left [broadly speaking], it occured to me that what will really be interesting now is how the phoney TJ quote fares down the line on the left. Will Democratic Congressmen and women continue to cite it? Will it's life as a Lefty Quote go on unimpeded or will it sink to occasional use by the desperate undergraduate and high school student with a term paper due? Of course, we know the exposure of the the whole gaggle of phoney founders-and-religion quotes so beloved of the Christian Right as frauds has apparently not impeded their use in the least. Will be interesting to see how things work out for the TJ phone quote on the Left.

Suppose it were discovered that Einstein didn't really say "e=mc2"? Would it not still be true?

It seems clear that this nation was founded on the voices of dissent. This would imply that, regardless of who said it, the quote has merit that stands on its own seven words.

As a side note, I'm in no way implying that Einstein did or did not say anything, it was just the first example that came to mind.

cfeagans: The core problem with the fake quote is that dissent for its own sake is destructive political squabbling. The character of dissent is what distinguishes good democracy and productive participation from anarchy. The public today is so easily captured by soundbites that a misleading soundbite attributed to a great thinker can do huge damage to the quality of public discourse.

I don't think that's a core problem with the quote. Surely no one would assume that Jefferson, had he said it, could have meant that all dissent, no matter how frivolous or absurd, is the highest form of patriotism. Surely he would not have said that the mere act of dissent, even if the position being taken was morally or factually unjustified is a good thing. If someone screamed "I dissent. 2 + 2 is not four, so this budget bill is all wrong", surely no one would say that this pointless dissent amounts to patriotism. He would no doubt have been speaking of principled dissent, of men standing up to the consensus or to the whims of his government when those actions violated a set of principles. I think you're reading into the statement only the most ridiculously literal meaning that no one one, particularly someone of Jefferson's intellect, could have intended.

Howard Zinn is credited with the quote according to several web pages.

A quote I'd like to see sourced is

"It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government." - Thomas Paine

That's obviously something that Paine could have said, but I've never seen it sourced, only attributed.

Ed- I have not seen any of the attributions use the quote in a way where a reasonable interpretation applied. Sen. Kerry used it when proposing an ultimatum to the Iraqi government -- which is hardly relevant to American patriotism. Sen. Kennedy used it when proposing to tell American citizens the truth about the war in Iraq -- which is dissent only to the extent that the "truth" contains heaping portions of opinion, but it hardly seems patriotic for politicians to spoon-feed predigested opinions to the public. If you know of any reasonable uses of the quote, I am certainly willing to reconsider.

Conservatives and Republicans shouldn't gloat, though -- the real stuff is pointed enough.

For example, according to TheodoreRoosevelt.org:

Recently several people have written to ask us about a viewpoint TR had on criticism of the presidency. This quote was part of an editorial he wrote for the "Kansas City Star" durning World War I.

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

"Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", 149
May 7, 1918

Not just dissent, but criticism of the president. Maybe Steyn should fisk Roosevelt's quote, to be fair about it.

Ed- I have not seen any of the attributions use the quote in a way where a reasonable interpretation applied. Sen. Kerry used it when proposing an ultimatum to the Iraqi government -- which is hardly relevant to American patriotism. Sen. Kennedy used it when proposing to tell American citizens the truth about the war in Iraq -- which is dissent only to the extent that the "truth" contains heaping portions of opinion, but it hardly seems patriotic for politicians to spoon-feed predigested opinions to the public. If you know of any reasonable uses of the quote, I am certainly willing to reconsider.

You seem to be confusing how to interpret the statement, had it been made by Jefferson, with the question of whether the position being taken by two particular people when they used it was true. Those are two different issues. Even so, I think you're wrong - that statement, regardless of who said it, was intended precisely to apply to situation where one is intending to tell the truth about a government action that the government itself isn't telling us the truth about. Now, whether Kennedy was telling the truth about the war in Iraq, or the Bush administration was telling the truth (and frankly, I wouldn't bet a plug nickel that either of them would know the truth about any issue if it announced itself with a marching band) is not really relevant to the applicability of that quote in the context of a war.

There is no more popular or ridiculous sentiment than the one so common on the right during times of war that says that any disagreement with whether we should go to war is an unpatriotic attack on our poor boys in harm's way. In that context, it cannot be said often enough or loudly enough, regardless of the actual source, that criticism of the government is not only a right it is a duty of an informed citizen - and not even in times of war but especially in times of war. Kennedy may well be wrong on the war in Iraq, but it's still a reasonable argument to make that dissenting from a war is every bit as patriotic, often more so, than going along with it.

Ed, your comment of 2:14 PM suggests that Democratic speakers do not use the literal reading I suggested. I disagree, and my second comment was an attempt to illustrate that. Informed citizens certainly have the right and duty to vocally point out where the government is wrong. However, dissent over policy questions far from first principles (as in Kerry's case) or analysis questions far from objective truth (as in Kennedy's case) is not the highest form of patriotism. That dissent is of a quite different character than demonstrated by our Founding Fathers -- or by Poland's Lech Walesa.

No, my 2:14 pm comment suggested nothing of the sort. In fact, I quite explicitly said that I wouldn't trust either Kerry or Kennedy to know the truth under any circumstances (nor would I trust Bush or anyone on the other side either). It suggested that the statement itself - "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" - cannot reasonably be interpreted to mean any dissent, no matter how absurd or pointless. As for the rest of your post, it's complete nonsense. Standing up and saying that the government is doing something wrong - even if one's analysis is poor - is a form of patriotism. If the person dissenting does so because they genuinely believe the government is wrong, this absolutely is far more patriotic than those who shout down anyone who disagrees with the government and takes the "if you don't love this country, get out" position.

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Thomas Jefferson and "The Blood of Tyrants"

New Hampshire resident William Kostric caused a national stir on August 11 when he appeared outside President Obama's town hall meeting in Portsmouth with a loaded semiautomatic handgun strapped to his leg. Kostric held a sign that read, "IT IS TIME TO WATER THE TREE OF LIBERTY!" This was a reference to the following quote by Founding Father Thomas Jefferson: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Asked to explain the message he was trying to send, Kostric stated, "I wanted people to remember the rights that we have and how quickly we're losing them in this country . It doesn't take a genius to see we're traveling down a road at breakneck speed that's towards tyranny." While Kostric claimed he was not calling for violence, many viewed his actions as threatening and assumed that the "tyrant" he had in mind was the president.

It was certainly not the first time a gun rights activist had referred to Jefferson's "tree of liberty" quote. On the day he bombed the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, Timothy McVeigh wore a t-shirt that bore Jefferson's words with an image of a tree with blood dripping from its branches. A Google search will reveal that the quote is cited on a myriad of pro-gun websites today, almost always with no context or source provided. But what was the context of Jefferson's remarks, and what exactly did he mean?

"What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure," Jefferson wrote in a letter to William S. Smith, a diplomatic official in London, on November 13, 1787. Jefferson was commenting on Shays" Rebellion, an armed uprising in Massachusetts that had been put down earlier that year by organized state militia forces. "God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion," Jefferson remarked. "Let them take arms."

In the same letter, however, Jefferson stated that the rebellion was "founded in ignorance . The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive." Jefferson also referred to the delegates who had finalized a draft of the U.S. Constitution in September 1787, stating, "Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen-yard in order."

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention had indeed taken Shays' Rebellion very seriously, viewing the lack of a strong institutional response to the incident as symptomatic of a weak central government that was struggling to preserve the liberties they had fought so hard for. The country could not be governed in a state of perpetual revolution, the delegates realized, and despite the fears of Anti-Federalists, the Constitution authorized Congress to raise a standing Army. Furthermore, Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution stated that one of the purposes of the Militia was to "suppress Insurrections"--not to foment them.

One of the delegates at the convention was James Madison, the man who would draft the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1789. Jefferson exchanged letters frequently with Madison, sharing his view that Shays' Rebellion was "absolutely unjustifiable," but "did not appear to threaten serious consequences." We need "a little rebellion now and then," he told Madison. Madison disagreed, and supported Congressional enlistment of troops during the rebellion until "the spirit of insurrection was subdued." In a speech before Congress on February 19, 1787, he argued that Shays' rebels were "internal enemies" and constituted a threat to the "tranquility of the Union." To Madison, the rebellion was treason.

With the drafting of the Constitution, Jefferson became more tempered in his own views, and acknowledged that well ordered republican democratic political processes could make armed violence unnecessary. In a letter to Dutch diplomat Charles William Frederick Dumas, Jefferson observed, "Happy for us, that when we find our constitutions defective and insufficient to secure the happiness of our people, we can assemble with all the coolness of philosophers and set it to rights, while every other nation on earth must have recourse to arms to amend or to restore their constitutions."

Upon becoming President of the United States in 1801, Jefferson's views about executive power and private rebellion were further transformed. In contrast to his previous advocacy for a ban on standing armies, Jefferson proposed the creation of a national military academy, which was built in West Point, New York. In 1807, after Aaron Burr conspired with military officers to create an independent republic in the American Southwest, Jefferson declared him a traitor and had him arrested and prosecuted for treason. In 1808, Jefferson deployed U.S. Army troops inside the country to enforce a trade embargo against Great Britain and France. Historian Henry Adams observed about Jefferson's embargo policies: "Personal liberties and rights of property were more directly curtailed in the United States by embargo than in Great Britain by centuries of almost continuous foreign war." Jefferson's use of military personnel to enforce domestic laws remains unprecedented.

Those who hold the belief that the Second Amendment gives them an individual right to take violent action against our government should it lapse into "tyranny" have isolated Jefferson's "tree of liberty" quote in order to justify a radical ideology. The truth is that Jefferson's views on private rebellion were far more thoughtful and nuanced. While scholars like Saul Cornell have acknowledged that Jefferson affirmed an individual right to keep arms for private purposes, he never described disorganized or spontaneous insurrection as a right. Jefferson instead envisioned "a universally armed citizenry organized into well-regulated militia units based on a system of 'ward republics'" as a deterrent against "usurpers" and a key guarantor of a healthy republic.

The anti-government protesters carrying semiautomatic handguns and assault weapons outside of contemporary town hall meetings would undoubtedly consider such detailed regulation of the Militia to be--for lack of a better word--"tyrannical."


Toward the beginning of his speech on January 6, Trump mentioned to the crowd that they have to demand that Congress "do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated."

Since the election in November, Trump and many of his allies have touted the unproven claims of mass election fraud. Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced in December that the Department of Justice uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election. All of the evidence Trump's team presented to try to prove voter fraud has been dismissed and he lost 61 of the 62 lawsuits filed challenging the presidential election results.

Still, up until the official certification of election results, Trump continued to push this false narrative to his most ardent supporters.

"I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard," Trump said in his speech. "Today we will see whether Republicans stand strong for [the] integrity of our elections, but whether or not they stand strong for our country, our country. Our country has been under siege for a long time, far longer than this four-year period."

The president did mention walking to the Capitol in a peaceful manner. Those who defend the president also point to a call to vote out members of Congress who do not agree with Trump.

"If they don't fight, we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don't fight," Trump said. "You primary them. We're going to let you know who they are."

He also said he and the crowd would "walk down to the Capitol" to "cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women."

"We're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you'll never take back our country with weakness," he said. "You have to show strength, and you have to be strong."

However, Trump's call to display strength shows a possible contradiction in Trump's message to his crowd before the certification vote.

Very telling video of rioters outside the Capitol shouting at police: "We were invited here. We were invited by the president of the United States" pic.twitter.com/Ctt5M1ijoA

&mdash Drew Harwell (@drewharwell) January 13, 2021

The official impeachment resolution points to the moments before the joint session of Congress to certify the election results, Trump reiterated "false claims that 'we won this election and we won it in a landslide'" and "willfully made statements that, in context, encourages and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol." These statements include: "if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore."

The resolution continues to assert that the crowd was incited by the president to unlawfully breach and vandalize the Capitol, injure and kill law enforcement personnel, menaced members of Congress, Vice President Mike Pence and congressional personnel, "and engage in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts," in an attempt to "among other objectives" to interfere with the certification of the 2020 Presidential election results.

President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the insurrection we suffered last week. With a heavy heart, I will vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump. pic.twitter.com/SREfFp0nd2

&mdash Rep. Peter Meijer (@RepMeijer) January 13, 2021

Others point to conflicting lines of the speech that seem to suggest a call for the crowd to takes matters into their own hands to correct this injustice through a more active or violent approach:

  • "We're gathered together in the heart of our nation's Capitol for one very, very basic and simple reason, to save our democracy."
  • "We will not let them silence your voices. We're not going to let it happen. Not going to let it happen."
  • "Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore and that's what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal."
  • "That's what they've done and what they're doing. We will never give up. We will never concede, it doesn't happen. You don't concede when there's theft involved."
  • "When you catch somebody in a fraud, you're allowed to go by very different rules."
  • "Let them get out. Let the weak ones get out. This is a time for strength. It's all part of the comprehensive assault on our democracy and the American people to finally standing up and saying, 'No.' This crowd is again a testament to it."
  • "You will have an illegitimate president, that's what you'll have. And we can't let that happen."
  • "We will not be intimidated into accepting the hoaxes and the lies that we've been forced to believe over the past several weeks. We've amassed overwhelming evidence about a fake election."
  • "We're going to see whether or not we have great and courageous leaders or whether or not we have leaders that should be ashamed of themselves throughout history, throughout eternity, they'll be ashamed. And you know what? If they do the wrong thing, we should never ever forget that they did. Never forget. We should never ever forget."

While the president's supporters believe that his mention of marching peacefully exonerates him from blame, others believe the context and intention of this and other speeches are enough to prove his guilt and justify impeachment.

After the crowd had infiltrated the Capitol building, Trump took to his now-deleted personal Twitter account to address his supporters.

"I know your pain," Trump said. "I know you're hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side, but you have to go home now."

He also urged his supporters to be peaceful and maintain "law and order."

"Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement," he tweeted. "They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!"

This is wrong and not who we are. Be peaceful and use your 1st Amendment rights, but don’t start acting like the other side. We have a country to save and this doesn’t help anyone. https://t.co/3oUAPxuwi9

&mdash Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 6, 2021

In a video released on Twitter that same day, Trump told the crowd to go home and that he loved them and they were "very special." He also continued to spread the false notions that the election was stolen from him.

The president's immediate response to the violence in his name drew much criticism, but Trump defended his words.

"People thought what I said was totally appropriate," he told reporters Tuesday.

"They've analyzed my speech and my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence, and everybody, to the T, thought it was totally appropriate."

He also turned attention to the response from Democratic leaders following the riots that broke out during the Black Live Matter protests.

"And if you look at what other people have said, politicians at a high level, about the riots during the summer, the horrible riots in Portland and Seattle and various other places, that was a real problem, what they said," Trump said.

In a statement released a week after the riot at the Capitol, Trump said that he was against violence.

[email protected]: In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You. pic.twitter.com/mOOGZjqTLW

&mdash Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) January 13, 2021

He then released a video on the official @WhiteHouse Twitter account January 13, disavowing the violence, saying such actions go against his beliefs and what his movement stands for. He said that "no true supporter" of his could endorse political violence, disrespect law enforcement or threaten their fellow Americans. The tone seemingly contradicted his initial embrace of those who stormed the Capitol a week earlier.


Private Banks (Spurious Quotation)

Quotation: "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."

  1. "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered."

Sources consulted: Searching on the phrase "private banks"

Earliest known appearance in print: 19331

Other attributions: None known.

Status: This quotation is at least partly spurious see comments below.

Comments: This quotation is often cited as being in an 1802 letter to Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, and/or "later published in The Debate Over the Recharter of the Bank Bill (1809)."

The first part of the quotation ("If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered") has not been found anywhere in Thomas Jefferson's writings, to Albert Gallatin or otherwise. It is identified in Respectfully Quoted as spurious, and the editor further points out that the words "inflation" and "deflation" are not documented until after Jefferson's lifetime.2

The second part of the quotation ("I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies") is a slight misquotation of a statement Jefferson made in a letter to John Taylor in 1816. He wrote, "And I sincerely believe with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies & that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale"3

The third part of this quotation ("The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs") may be a misquotation of Jefferson's comment to John Wayles Eppes in 1813, "Bank-paper must be suppressed, and the circulating medium must be restored to the nation to whom it belongs."4

This first known occurrence in print of the spurious first part with the two other quotations is in 1948, although the spurious portion actually appears after the two other quotations.5

Lastly, we have not found a record of any publication called The Debate Over the Recharter of the Bank Bill. There was certainly debate over the recharter of the National Bank leading up to its expiration in 1811, but a search of Congressional documents of that period yields none of the verbiage discussed above.


American Patriotism

America's Founding Fathers were its first patriots. They put their lives on the line to create a nation that reflected their ideals. They clearly outlined these values in The Declaration of Independence:  

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

The Founding Fathers put into law the revolutionary idea that each person's desire to pursue happiness was not merely self-indulgence. They recognized that each person’s pursuit of happiness was integral to the ambition and creativity that fosters economic success. The pursuit of happiness became the driver of the entrepreneurial spirit that defines the American free market economy. By legally protecting these values, the Founding Fathers said that it is the government's role to protect each person's opportunity to pursue their own idea of happiness.

The Founding Fathers protected every American's right to achieve his or her potential. This allows each citizen to contribute their personal best to society. The best way to ensure national progress is to protect citizens’ rights to improve their lives.   The Founding Fathers recognized that this creates the economic mobility that is fundamental to the nation’s prosperity.

The Declaration continues, "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." The Founding Fathers rejected kings who inherited their leadership, barons who bought it, or warlords who fought their way to the top with military might. That's why the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution begins with the words "We the People."  

“Other nations had evolved one way or another: evolved from tribes, from a gathering of the clans, from inevitabilities of language and tradition and geography. But America was born—and born of ideas: that all men are created equal, that they have been given by God certain rights that can be taken from them by no man, and that those rights combine to create a thing called freedom. They were free to pursue happiness, free to worship God, free to talk and speak in public of their views, and to choose their leaders,” writes conservative columnist Peggy Noonan of the Heritage Foundation.


Thomas Jefferson – A Founding Gardener, and So Much More!

Thomas Jefferson quotes are often used to highlight a multitude of wide-ranging topics.

As well they should. After all, he was a founding patriot, a President, and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. But did you know that he was also a farmer, an avid gardener, a gourmet, and a “backyard provider”?

Quotes by Thomas Jefferson can almost always add insight to the conversations of the day, and each one seems to gain deeper meaning each time I read it.

Here are just a few of Jefferson’s well-known, and lesser known, words of wisdom:

“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds. As long, therefore, as they can find employment in this line, I would not convert them into mariners, artisans, or anything else.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1785.

“The pursuits of agriculture [are] the surest road to affluence and best preservative of morals.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Blair, 1787.

“An industrious farmer occupies a more dignified place in the scale of beings, whether moral or political, than a lazy lounger, valuing himself on his family, too proud to work, and drawing out a miserable existence by eating on that surplus of other men’s labor which is the sacred fund of the helpless poor.” –Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786.

“Agriculture… is the first in utility, and ought to be the first in respect.” –Thomas Jefferson to David Williams, 1803.

“I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them”.

“Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever He had a chosen people, whose breasts He has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth. Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example.” –Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia

“I thank you for the seeds…Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity”.

“but tho’ an old man, I am but a young gardener”.

“Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.”

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.”

“Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on. The small landowners are the most precious part of a state.”

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny”.
“May it be to the world what I believe it will be, the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free-right the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. all eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately by the grace of God. These are grounds for hope for others. For ourselves let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
“ I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health and the liberties of man. True, they nourish some of the elegant arts but the useful ones can thrive elsewhere and less perfection in the others, with more health, virtue and freedom, would be my choice. ”
“The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to it’s culture.”

“Have you ever become a farmer? Is it not pleasanter than to be shut up within four walls and delving eternally with the pen?”

Read More About Jefferson’s Legacy on Gardening and Food Here

See More of Out Posts About Thomas Jefferson Here

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The True Meaning of Patriotism

Patriotism these days is like Christmas—lots of people caught up in a festive atmosphere replete with lights and spectacles. We hear reminders about “the true meaning” of Christmas—and we may even mutter a few guilt-ridden words to that effect ourselves—but each of us spends more time and thought in parties, gift-giving, and the other paraphernalia of a secularized holiday than we do deepening our devotion to the true meaning.

So it is with patriotism, especially on Memorial Day in May, Flag Day in June, and Independence Day in July. Walk down Main Street America and ask one citizen after another what patriotism means and with few exceptions, you’ll get a passel of the most self-righteous but superficial and often dead-wrong answers. America’s Founders, the men and women who gave us reason to be patriotic in the first place, would think we’ve lost our way if they could see us now.

Since the infamous attacks of September 11, 2001, Americans in near unanimity have been “feeling” patriotic. For most, that sadly suffices to make one a solid patriot. But if I’m right, it’s time for Americans to take a refresher course.

Patriotism is not love of country, if by “country” you mean scenery—amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesty, and the like. Almost every country has pretty collections of rocks, water, and stuff that people grow and eat. If that’s what patriotism is all about, then Americans have precious little for which we can claim any special or unique love. And surely, patriotism cannot mean giving one’s life for a river or a mountain range.

Patriotism is not blind trust in anything our leaders tell us or do. That just replaces some lofty concepts with mindless goose-stepping.

Patriotism is not simply showing up to vote. You need to know a lot more about what motivates a voter before you judge his patriotism. He might be casting a ballot because he just wants something at someone else’s expense. Maybe he doesn’t much care where the politician he’s hiring gets it. Remember Dr. Johnson’s wisdom: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Waving the flag can be an outward sign of patriotism, but let’s not cheapen the term by ever suggesting that it’s anything more than a sign. And while it’s always fitting to mourn those who lost their lives simply because they resided on American soil, that too does not define patriotism.

People in every country and in all times have expressed feelings of something we flippantly call “patriotism,” but that just begs the question. What is this thing, anyway? Can it be so cheap and meaningless that a few gestures and feelings make you patriotic?

I subscribe to a patriotism rooted in ideas that in turn gave birth to a country, but it’s the ideas that I think of when I’m feeling patriotic. I’m a patriotic American because I revere the ideas that motivated the Founders and compelled them, in many instances, to put their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on the line.

What ideas? Read the Declaration of Independence again. Or, if you’re like most Americans these days, read it for the very first time. It’s all there. All men are created equal. They are endowed not by government but by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Premier among those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Government must be limited to protecting the peace and preserving our liberties, and doing so through the consent of the governed. It’s the right of a free people to rid themselves of a government that becomes destructive of those ends, as our Founders did in a supreme act of courage and defiance more than two hundred years ago.

Call it freedom. Call it liberty. Call it whatever you want, but it’s the bedrock on which this nation was founded and from which we stray at our peril. It’s what has defined us as Americans. It’s what almost everyone who has ever lived on this planet has yearned for. It makes life worth living, which means it’s worth fighting and dying for.

An American Spin

I know that this concept of patriotism puts an American spin on the term. But I don’t know how to be patriotic for Uganda or Paraguay. I hope the Ugandans and Paraguayans have lofty ideals they celebrate when they feel patriotic, but whether or not they do is a question you’ll have to ask them. I can only tell you what patriotism means to me as an American.

I understand that America has often fallen short of the superlative ideas expressed in the Declaration. That hasn’t diminished my reverence for them, nor has it dimmed my hope that future generations of Americans will be re-inspired by them.

This brand of patriotism, in fact, gets me through the roughest and most cynical of times. My patriotism is never affected by any politician’s failures, or any shortcoming of some government policy, or any slump in the economy or stock market. I never cease to get that “rush” that comes from watching Old Glory flapping in the breeze, no matter how far today’s generations have departed from the original meaning of those stars and stripes. No outcome of any election, no matter how adverse, makes me feel any less devoted to the ideals our Founders put to pen in 1776. Indeed, as life’s experiences mount, the wisdom of what giants like Jefferson and Madison bestowed on us becomes ever more apparent to me. I get more fired up than ever to help others come to appreciate the same things.

During a recent visit to the land of my ancestors, Scotland, I came across a few very old words that gave me pause. Though they preceded our Declaration of Independence by 456 years, and come from three thousand miles away, I can hardly think of anything ever written here that more powerfully stirs in me the patriotism I’ve defined above. In 1320, in an effort to explain why they had spent the previous 30 years in bloody battle to expel the invading English, Scottish leaders ended their Declaration of Arbroath with this line: “It is not for honor or glory or wealth that we fight, but for freedom alone, which no good man gives up except with his life.”

Freedom—understanding it, living it, teaching it, and supporting those who are educating others about its principles. That, my fellow Americans, is what patriotism should mean to each of us today.


Watch the video: Πατριωτισμός-Εθνικισμός η διαφορά (May 2022).