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Pride in America: Thomas Jefferson

Pride in America: Thomas Jefferson

Niklas Kleinworth
July 4, 2023

Welcome to Pride in America Month. Every day in the month of June and through Independence Day, we will highlight a figure who has demonstrated and defended American values. Consider it a healthy alternative to the Left's June celebration that has taken over the media and corporate America.

Thomas Jefferson is arguably one of the most canceled figured among the founding fathers. The Left has made unabashed efforts to cut any positive mention of the author of the Declaration of Independence from American history.

But why is the Left so threatened by Jefferson? Is it really because he was a slave owner? The short answer is, no. Many figures in American history owned slaves, but the modern Left seems to have a special grudge against Jefferson. The real reason is that without Jefferson’s writings and philosophy, much of American culture would be lost, which is the whole goal of left-wing progressivism.

Thomas Jefferson has been known as the father of the original American brand of liberty, since penning the words: 

“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….”

Virtually all Americans, even those who lack a perfect understanding of our government or the Constitution, know these words by heart. They are the lifeblood of all other aspects of a free and independent way of American life. 

These famous words in the Declaration of Independence flip the script by placing limits on the government rather than the governed. Therein lies the problem, the Jeffersonian philosophy of government runs directly counter to the contemporary brand of socialism, social justice, and government control. So long as these principles live with the American people, Leftists will face an uphill battle. 

During the construction of our Republic, Jefferson was a catalyst for the great work of our founders and early Americans. Jefferson provided James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, with hundreds of written resources to aid in drafting the Constitution. Meriweather Lewis served President Jefferson as his secretary, studying under him and eventually leading the famous exploration of the Louisiana Purchase. These were instances where Jefferson’s influence shaped the very figures we look to as model examples of American independence, exploration, and the construction of government.

Despite serving as such an inspiration for liberty, Jefferson maintained that the Declaration of Independence was not original in its content. Rather, it was designed to “place before mankind the common sense of the subject; i[n] terms so plain and firm.” In a sense, it stated what people already knew and needed to act upon.

Jefferson repeatedly noted in his writings that the fight for liberty is constant and perpetual. We must be vigilant to ensure that it is not lost to the tendencies of an overgrown central government.

In a letter to Tench Coxe — another member of the Continental Congress — Jefferson noted that “this ball of liberty, I believe most piously, is now so well in motion that it will roll round the globe. [A]t least the enlightened part of it, for the light and liberty go together.” Thus, the pursuit of liberty is infectious, so long as the people are knowledgeable about the proper role of government.

Leftists understand this principle, too. This is why Jefferson has been such a ripe target for cancellation in our schools, in our governments, and in our discourse.

As Idahoans and Americans, we must not shy away from protecting the principles of liberty and independence because of mere ad hominem attacks on our founders. Instead, we must ensure that government is relegated to its proper role, by defending our freedom and educating future generations to do the same.

Thomas Jefferson died 197 years ago today, on July 4th, 1826 — exactly 50 years after the signing of our Declaration of Independence. He passed into history having bequeathed the never-ending fight for liberty to a new generation. His fight is now our fight, as we continue to keep the flame of freedom alive that has always burned in the hearts of American patriots. May you and I live up to Thomas Jefferson’s ideals, and courageously follow the road he trod before us.

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