> Yes, TJ's > views did necessarily change as the young republic matured, but for > sound insight and felicitous expression the nation has never seen his > equal, at least in political life. His *views* did indeed change in response to changing circumstances, but I would argue that his *principles* remained quite consistent throughout his life. Certainly, he thought they did. For example, he early on believed that America should remain an agriculturally based society, but later (especially after the War of 1812) acknowledged the practical necessity of our becoming self-sufficient in manufactures. Yet, I feel sure that he still adhered to the principle that an agricultural society was more conducive to virtue in the populace than a manufacturing one. It is just that the principle of survival "trumps" the application of other principles whose application might undermine the very survivaly of the republic. My effort with the Jefferson quotes collection has been to try to emphasize the principles, and then to allow the effects of changing circumstances to be revealed in the applications of those principles. The most glaring change of this type I found with his views early-on embracing "a little rebellion" and his later recognition that in a nation whose republican institutions permit the rightful and lawful influence of the people on their own government, such acts of rebellion are justly condemned.
Table of Contents