I love to go back and read from the writings of those who lived, fought and in some cases died to establish our country. Thank God their writings have been preserved as schools want to teach revisionist history and paint our country in less than flattering hues.
In these troubled times I often find the writings of the patriots of the Revolution uncannily germane in our current political clime. How true ring their exhortations against trusting governments.
In yesterday’s post I bemoaned the demise of civics classes. As Uppity Woman pointed out in the comments our children are not being educated so much as they are being indoctrinated. It is up to us, We, the People, to educate ourselves and our children, our neighbors and friends; to ensure that the ideals upon which this great country was founded are not lost to the politics of those who would drag our country into oblivion.
In days gone by, February was the month in which all school children learned about our forefathers. The earliest grades learned about Washington and Lincoln (and there was no “President’s Day”- we celebrated separately the birthdays of those two great men!) As we progressed through the grades more Founding Fathers were introduced along with their writings. Nowadays children are fortunate if they have read either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution before they graduate from high school. Most high school kids can tell you Jefferson was a slave owner (and therefore a horrible example of humanity) but few know the role he played in crafting the documents all Americans should revere.
For my own benefit I have decided to take a look back and see what those great patriots have to say to us, here, in the 21st century. Come along if you like.
Here is a bit from Jefferson I find àpropos today-
“But of all the views of this law none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty. For this purpose the reading in the first stage, where they will receive their whole education, is proposed, as has been said, to be chiefly historical. History by apprising them of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views. In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate, and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe their minds must be improved to a certain degree. This indeed is not all that is necessary, though it be essentially necessary.”
Should you care to read the quote in context-
It is quite a long document but worth the read. His quote above equating safety with education and the reading of history intrigued me.
So many documents! So little time!
(Just a little more on education and the dumbing down concept- the spell/grammar checker flagged six phrases in the Jefferson quote! One spelling and a few that are “complex expressions” – the grammar editor does not like complex expressions! It wants to simplify them! Far be it from me to dumb down Jefferson!)