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Fiscal ideology

If there was one historical figure that I would have the opportunity to sit down and have dinner with, it would have to be Thomas Jefferson. As the third president of the United States, as well as the writer of the Declaration of Independence, the founder of The University of Virginia and an inventor, the conversation would be terribly exciting and one that I would remember for the rest of my life.

I would ask President Jefferson what his thoughts were before writing the Declaration of Independence and did he see the impact that the document would have for future generations of not only Americans but also for every leader of every revolution who would quote the words of Thomas Jefferson in order to support their own cause. I would ask him about his time in France and why he felt it necessary to live in France for over a decade after the Revolutionary War?

Was the entire time needed to help forge a healthy relationship with France and The United States or was there some other reason? I would wonder of Jefferson was disappointed regarding the fact that his utopian agrarian society never did take hold and that even the nation’s capital which was placed In Washington D. C. because he wanted to avoid the commerce and industry of New York, became a big city in its own right.

Did he feel disappointed by that? But for everything that he did and accomplished, I would be more interested in what he did not do. He preached fiscal responsibility and even though he was born into one of the richest families in Virginia, lives his adult life always in debt and always seemed to spend much more than his income and died thousands of dollars in debt.

But the most alarming topic was that he owned almost two hundred slaves yet at the same time, introducing anti slavery measures twelve times while a member of the Virginia legislature and attempting to include it in the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson stated that he trembled for his country when he concluded that God’s correction does not sleep forever and that the sin of slavery will eventually have to be paid for. Yet, he never made an attempt to free any of his slaves.

If he had stayed true to his fiscal ideology, he could have found a way to pay his workers. Jefferson’s cousin freed his slaves and the free slave population at the end of the 18th century was growing. People were freeing their slaves but why wasn’t Thomas Jefferson despite all of his attempts to abolish or stop the spread of slavery while he was in politics? These questions would have to dominate our conversation. If time travel ever becomes possible, Monticello in 1800 would be my destination.

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