Friday, February 12, 2010

Thomas Jefferson's Prophecy

The Founding Fathers had a deep concern as to where this nation would be headed after the war that won its independence. Even though the ending of the Revolutionary War promised the dawning of a new day, which would bring to an end civil punishment for religious non-conformity, Thomas Jefferson expressed deep concerns.  In a most unusual prophetic utterance following the Revolutionary War, the author of the Declaration of Independence, who later served as the third president of the United States, wrote:

“Besides, the spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecution, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going downhill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.”*

*Adrienne Koch and William Peden, The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, Query XVII (New York NY: Random House, Inc.) 1944. P. 277.

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