We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (3) Thomas Jefferson

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery*

John Scales Avery, author of this book: We Need Their Voices Today! has generously granted Human Wrongs Watch permission to publish it in a series of chapters. This is Chapter 3: Thomas Jefferson. The others will follow successively. 



Figure 4.1: Thomas Jeerson in a painting by R. Peale (Wikipedia).

Jefferson’s Education

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was born in the British Colony of Virginia.

His father, Peter Jefferson, who was a planter and surveyor, died when Thomas Jefferson was 14 years old, and Thomas inherited an estate of approximately 5000 acres.

At the age of 16, Jefferson entered the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg Virginia. His studies there included mathematics and philosophy. He became familiar with John Locke, Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton.
Jefferson also improved his knowledge of languages and his skill in playing the violin. He graduated in two years and afterwards studied law. Jefferson was an avid reader, hand his personal library ultimately included 6,500 books.

When the British government passed the Intolerable Acts in 1774, Jefferson wrote a resolution calling for a day of fasting and prayer in protest, as well as a boycott of all British goods. He later expanded this into a larger publication with the title “A Summary View of the Rights of British America”.


In 1768, Jefferson began construction his home, Monticello, on a hilltop overlooking his estate. It was a large mansion in the Paladian style, designed by Jefferson. He worked to improve it throughout most of his life. It is now a much-visited museum and national monument.

In 1772, Jefferson married his third cousin, the 23-year old widow Martha Wayles Skelton. The marriage was an extremely happy one, and they had six children. However, weakened by the birth of her last child, Martha died at the age of 33.

Before her death she made her heartbroken husband promise never to marry again because she could not bear to think of her children being brought up by a stepmother. Through Martha, Jefferson inherited an additional estate of 11,000 acres, but he also inherited the debts of the estate. These debts were a financial worry for Jefferson until he finally was able to pay all of them..

Political service to Virginia and to the United States

At 33, Jefferson represented Virginia at the Continental Congress, where he was one of the youngest delegates. He was the main author of the {\em Declaration of Independence}. In writing it, he drew on his deep knowledge of Enlightenment thought, for example the writings of John Locke and Montaigne.

As a Virginia legislator, Jefferson drafted a law for religious freedom. He also served as Virginia’s wartime governor (1779-1781).

In 1785, Jefferson became the United States’ Minister to France. Later, from 1790 to 1793 he served as Secretary of State under President George Washington. He was America’s second Vice President, under John Adams. Finally, from 1801 to 1809 he served as the third President of the United States.

A few things that Thomas Jefferson said:

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”

“I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.”

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

“All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”

“Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.”

“Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.”

“The world is indebted for all triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression.”

“Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.”

“The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force. I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another.”

“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

“If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.”

“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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Thomas Jefferson, architect of American democracy, we need your voice today!

Read Previous Chapters

Introduction: We Need Their Voices Today! Compassion and Greed: Two Sides of Human Nature

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (1) Saint Francis of Assisi

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (2) Thomas Paine

johnavery2*AUTHOR: John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London.

He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent books are Information Theory and Evolution and Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf).

Read more John Scales Avery’s articles published in Human Wrongs Watch:

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (2) Thomas Paine

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (1) Saint Francis of Assisi

We Need Their Voices Today! Compassion and Greed: Two Sides of Human Nature

Interview with John Scales Avery, One of the Greatest Living Intellectuals on Earth

Trump and the Deep State

Individual  Responsibility

We Must Not Demonize and Threaten Russia

Tribalism, Nationalism and Fascism

Europe Must Not Be a Vassal to Trump’s USA

Trump Threatens the World with Climate Disaster

Gorbachev Appeals for Sanity, Dialogue

What U.S. Progressives Should Do on November 8

Science and Society

Fossil Fuels: At What Price?

Human Nature: An Evolutionary Paradox

Mainstream Media Are Betraying Humanity

US Elections Cry Out for Reform!

NATO Threatens Europe With Annihilation

USA: Another Stolen Election?

The Danger of Fascism in the United States

Creating the Future

OPEC Oil and Climate Change

A Scientist Presses for Action on Many Fronts: A Review of The Need for a New Economic System by John Scales Avery

John Scales Avery – Collected Essays


Culture, Education and Human Solidarity

The United States Drifts Towards Political Irresponsibilty

Paris: We Need System Change!

Paris and the Long-Term Future

We Must Stop the Madness of Brinkmanship

Paris, India, and Coal

Paris: A Sense of Proportions Is Urgently Needed

Debt Slavery

Book Review: Aurelio Peccei and Daisako Ikeda, “Before It Is Too Late”

The Need for a New Economic System – PART IX: a New Society, a New Social Contract, a New Way Life

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VIII: The Cooperative Movement

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VII: The Global Food Crisis

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VI: Adverse Effects of Globalization

The Need for a New Economic System – PART V: The Threats and Costs of War

The Need for a New Economic System – PART IV: Neocolonialism and Resource Wars

The Need for a New Economic System – Part III: Climate Change and the Urgent Need for Renewable Energy

The Need for a New Economic System – PART II: Entropy and Economics

The Need for a New Economic System – PART I : Limits to Growth

Israel, Iran and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Debt Slavery

Will the Real Issues Be Discussed in 2016?

Militarism’s Hostages

New Hope for Avoiding Catastrophic Climate Change

Exponential Growth

Albert Einstein, Scientist and Pacifist

“The Path to Zero: Dialogues on Nuclear Dangers”, by Richard Falk and David Krieger

Millay’s “Epitaph for the Race of Man” 

The Future of International Law (Part I)

The Future of International Law (Part II)

The Future of International Law (Part III)

Europe Must Not Be Forced Into a Nuclear War with Russia

Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe – The Dangers Are Very Great Today

Why Is the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons So Urgent?

Why Is the Military-Industrial Complex Sometimes Called “The Devil’s Dynamo”?

Of Reciprocity and Karma

Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand Is at Our Throats

Perpetual War

Kill or Be Killed… Or Both!

Does It Make Sense to Saw Off the Branch on Which You Are Sitting?

Blood for Oil – The Close Relationship Between Petroleum and War

2017 Human Wrongs Watch

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