Today in 1743, Thomas Jefferson was born. A classical liberal that embraced decentralized power, Jefferson championed a distinctly American political philosophy from Virginia’s ascension to statehood and the inception of the United States. Undoubtedly, he was one of the most successful statesmen in the history of the country.
Jefferson was a multi-faceted polymath. His mind was boundless, and he thrived in almost every realm he endeavored to pursue. He was well studied in many fields, including history, philosophy, law, music, architecture, and science. He wrote that he considered Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, and John Locke to be the greatest men who ever lived. He was an unwavering defender of natural rights. In 1774, he wrote: “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”
Jefferson may be best known as the primary penman of the Declaration of Independence, a declaration of secession against the British crown. The document enumerated a list of Parliamentary transgressions under George III, and acknowledged natural law and the right to alter or abolish one’s own government by force. Upon its acceptance by the Continental Congress, the former colonies were now free and independent states, each with the “full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”
In 1791, Jefferson wrote that the “foundation” of the United States Constitution was based on federalism, which was made explicit in the Tenth Amendment. Jefferson wrote, “