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Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.” –Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824. ME 16:73

NHL Great Terry Sawchuk


  • Thanks for the great quote from Jefferson. Brian Kilmeade’s recent book “The Forgotten War” also does a great job showing how Jefferson understood not just governments but also the people who form them and how they should interact. After years of dawdling by Washington and Adams as they tried to reason with (i.e. bribe) the Barbary pirates, Jefferson understood the realpolitik at work and took the fight to Tripoli. He believed correctly that force was the only factor that the pirates would understand and was the best and least expensive way to preserve our interests. Would that today’s “fearless leader” understood a tenth of what Jefferson knew.

    • Patience is a virtue. But sometimes a surly guy who doesn’t suffer fools well is the only person who can fix the problem.