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Great quote from Jefferson on the Constitution

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Patters, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I've said what he's saying many times before, but boy he puts it eloquently:

    George Washington Was Not A King, So Stop Treating Him Like One

    "Some men look at Constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the Covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendmentā€¦ laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mindā€¦ as that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, institutions must advance also, to keep pace with the timesā€¦ We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain forever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

    -- Thomas Jefferson, on reform of the Virginia Constitution

    That's the problem with today's most conservative Supreme Court Justices: They ignore the intent of our founders and prefer 'sanctimonious reverence.'
  2. Triumph

    Triumph Rookie

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    #32 Jersey

    Food stamps, welfare, unemployment benefits without looking for a job, free healthcare, free citizenship for illegal aliens, bigger government, more government control over our lives.

    Change you can believe in.
  3. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nice find, Patters. However, I fear our age is locked into reverence rather than the founders' intent.
  4. DocHoliday

    DocHoliday Rookie

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    Copy that from your republican thinking manual?
  5. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    I agree to a point. I think Triumph's "thinking manual" excerpt isn't entirely wrong. Without some fairly strict reverence to the constitution we could be subject to every whim that comes around. Change maybe slower than we like sometimes but at the same time every change isn't going to be good.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  6. Hamar

    Hamar Rookie

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    The problem is not so much with amending the constitution, the real problem is trusting the politicians in power at the time to change it for the good of America and not just for the good (more money/power) of themselves.
  7. Triumph

    Triumph Rookie

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    #32 Jersey

    Obamas 1st four years.
  8. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    They were so bad, he got re-elected quite easily..
  9. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    George Bush got reelected too.
  10. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you should focus on the words written after Jefferson's name.

    "on reform of the Virginia Constitution"

    For starters, Jefferson was a firm believer in the limited powers of the federal government if I'm not mistaken. He believed in state and local rights. What's good for Virginians, might not be good for those who live in Taxachusetts, and vice versa. Aside from that, is what most of the founders, including Jefferson, believed was the duty of "government" (federal vs state vs local), and what clearly was not. Since we're quoting...

    I'd say $3.7 trillion worth of federal government, qualifies as both bad, and too much government.

    My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

    Thomas Jefferson


    2nd Amendment anyone?

    When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.

    Thomas Jefferson


    To Triumphs post.

    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.

    Thomas Jefferson


    Yes please.

    Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.

    Thomas Jefferson


    Not a federal army, nor for hunting. Please take note, and consider the actions that led to our own independence from oppressive government.

    The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.

    For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.

    No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms.

    Thomas Jefferson



    There are so many I could post for all kinds of reasons, but I'll leave you with this one, with our current fiscal situation in mind.

    Never spend your money before you have earned it.

    Thomas Jefferson
  11. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    RW, you're right that Jefferson was a man of his time, but he definitely recognized that Constitutions are written by men and cannot account for unforeseen changes. When the Constitution was written, who would have thought we'd have women's rights? civil rights? gay rights? instant communications? weapons of mass destruction? But, as your quotes show he was human, and the quote I chose is simply one that is intended to remind us that we cannot hold the Constitution up like some God given document. It is simply a document by men that needs to be interpreted in light of current realities. But, otherwise, you're right: Jefferson was a human who had some beliefs that are no longer relevant.
  12. Triumph

    Triumph Rookie

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    #32 Jersey

    More welfare recipients = more democrats
  13. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    Jefferson didn't say that the, or a, constitution should be interpretted differently. He said they should be amended by current generations and/or realities.

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