Home History Happy Birthday, Mr. Jefferson

Happy Birthday, Mr. Jefferson

by Jan Schroder

I still remember my high school civics teacher Dave Drake’s final exam question: “What does it mean to say America evolved in a Hamiltonian manner under a Jeffersonian banner?”

Today’s the 274th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth. Other than during his 1800 election as president, his reputation has never been more under siege. With enlightened perspective vilifying slaveowners and paternalistic improprieties – and the raging popularity of the musical “Hamilton” – Jefferson’s reputation is descendent.

Jefferson, like any human or country, is a blend of maddening contradictory forces, yet no American better illustrates our ideal for intellectual, geographic and self-governing exploration.

Chris Schroder, SPR Atlanta

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