Thomas Jefferson Web Sites
After struggling hard with the composite-work project, and after finally acquiring a computer (again with the assistance of Bobby, who is an industrial engineer), it appeared that a continuous narrative was not practicable. I then abandoned that approach and put the materials I had collected into the form of a series of quotations, organized under topics, and, with Bobby helping on setting up the homepage, we installed Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government on the World Wide Web. Beginning with hardly more than 300 quotes, the collection has grown, and now contains almost every significant expression of principle that Jefferson made with respect to politics and government. Although the bulk of the work has been done, there is still some refinements that are possible, and I expect that the work of minor rearrangements and additions will go on indefinitely.
After the Jefferson Quotes site was substantially complete, I began a second site, The Jeffersonian Perspective, in order to use the quotes and provide "commentary on today's social and political issues based on the writings of Thomas Jefferson." I have found that the more I work with Jefferson's writings and the better I understand his point of view, the more I am impressed with this, our most brilliant Founding Father and, in my opinion, possibly the greatest political philosopher who has ever lived. In his many writings, Jefferson described a political philosophy that was realistic, practical, and understandable, but also one that was based on a fundamental comprehension of the meaning of human existence in a state of freedom. No one before or since has approached his wisdom and insights.
Later on, I became acquainted with the compilation Jefferson made for his own use of the ethical teachings of Jesus, familiarly known as The Jefferson Bible. Jefferson took the Gospel stories and extracted all the moral teachings, believing that there was a great historical person back there, but that the "religious people" had taken that reality and almost buried it. The result of his labors was this compilation of the moral philosophy of Jesus, which Jefferson considered the sublimest the world has ever known. This was not available on the Web, it was the foundation of Jefferson's own moral code, and it seemed a perfect companion to the other two sites.
In the Spring of 1997, while trying to track down a quote attributed to Jefferson, I obtained a copy of B. L. Rayner's Life of Thomas Jefferson, from the New Orleans Public Library and, as the saying goes, "fell in love." Here was a lively and interesting biography by someone who lived at the same time as Jefferson. The book was full of the republican spirit and demonstrated how Jefferson was the intellectual force behind the creation of the American republic, and truly, as Willard Sterne Randall has written, "invented the United States of America." And seeing that the book was neglected and forgotten, I determined to make it available on the World Wide Web. After six weeks of intensive typing, a revised and corrected edition was produced and installed on June 15, 1997.
On December 1, 1997, the Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government website was moved to the Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia. This new location will allow the website to outlive the editor, and will also provide the benefits of specialized facilities at the University.
I would enjoy hearing from anyone on any topic of mutual interest. My email address is:
My address for snail mail is:
of the United States of America
and to the Republic which it defines,
One Nation, by the grace of God,
securing our inalienable rights to
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.
Some Interesting Web Sites
Rodney Dangerfield just might be our greatest living standup comedian--if only he could get a little respect! His site has lots of his material, and is well worth a visit from his fans.
The Seismo-Zombie Home Page by Scott Davis has some weirdly interesting stuff. I especially enjoyed his "Random Sentence Generator," which creates some of the wackiest thoughts you might ever run into.
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