jefferson

Topics: Thomas Jefferson, John Locke, Rights Pages: 2 (745 words) Published: November 4, 2013
Thomas Jefferson as a politician believed in decentralizing the power of the national government and giving the power to the states. He was a firm believer in having a strong checks and balances to maintain order between the local and state government. Jefferson disliked the European system of established churches and called for a wall of separation between church and state at the federal level. (But this was hardly a new idea; Roger Williams, the Puritan-turned-Baptist founder of Rhode Island, had established such a wall at the state level about a century before Jefferson was born, and extended freedom of religion to Quakers and Jews.) Jefferson supported efforts to disestablish the Church of England, called the Anglican Church in Virginia after the Revolution, and authored the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. His Jeffersonian democracy and Democratic-Republican Party became dominant in early American politics. Jefferson's republican political principles were strongly influenced by the 18th-century British opposition writers of the Whig Party. He had high regard for John Locke, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton. Jefferson believed that each man has "certain inalienable rights". He defines the right of "liberty" by saying, "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others..." A proper government, for Jefferson, is one that not only prohibits individuals in society from infringing on the liberty of other individuals, but also restrains itself from diminishing individual liberty. Jefferson and contemporaries like James Madison were well aware of the possibility of tyranny from the majority and held this perspective in their implication of individual rights. Jefferson's political philosophy was a product of his time and his scientific interests. Influenced by Isaac Newton, he considered social systems as analogous to physical systems in the social world; Jefferson likens love as a force...
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