Quote of the moment: Jefferson, on reason in a republic

August 7, 2012

Bust of Jefferson in the Great Hall, Library of Congress (Jefferson Building) - photo by Carol Highsmith

Bust of Jefferson in the Great Hall, Library of Congress (Jefferson Building) – photo by Carol Highsmith. The plaster bust of Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) is a copy of a work by the French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741–1828).

In a republican nation, whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion, and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance.

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to David Harding, from Monticello, April 20, 1824; found in The Quotable Jefferson, collected and edited by John P. Kaminski, Princeton University Press 2006, p. 162.

I worry that perhaps we have as a people, abandoned the ideal of being ruled by reason and persuasion.

What’s your mileage?

Great Hall of the Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building - Carol Highsmith photo

Great Hall of the Library of Congress viewed from the second floor, Thomas Jefferson Building – Carol Highsmith photo. Note bust of Jefferson, opposite


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