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Response to BigOleDummy (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 21, 2017, 04:30 AM

24. An interesting thing about this quote ...

When viewed in it's entire context ... Jefferson referred to a limited and specific 'rebellion' that took place in Massachusetts (Shays Rebellion ... which was just as much against the State and Local governments as it was against the Feds) to make a totally different point besides 'violence is the answer'.

He was NOT advancing the notion that the US Citizenry should rise up in arms against the Democratically-Elected Federal Government that he'd been instrumental in creating ... if they so desire.

Read what comes before:

"The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independent 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & a half without a rebellion?"

Interpreting this to mean he's suggesting people should violently rebel against our own Federal Government ... is a huge stretch, given the totality of the letter. What do you suppose he meant by 'honorably conducted'? You think that meant they were putting Congressmen's heads up on spikes? No. That's not what was happening.

Yet folks on the Right LOVE to use this brief blurb as justification/inspiration for the idea the Jefferson himself was a proponent of violent uprising against the very Federal Government ... he was in the process of creating.

That interpretation is laughable, really ... Just like the one they like to use to 'prove' that Jefferson was a die-hard Christian who thought we were a 'Christian Nation' ... another one taken completely out of context ...

It's clear that he feels that not only was the rebellion borne of 'ignorance' but also that the 'remedy' should involve properly educating the ignorant ... as opposed to him supporting the notion that 'violence is the answer'.

What he was really getting at is that USA was not in a state of 'anarchy', like the British were trying to claim ... just because we'd had ONE rebellion in one of 13 states, in 11 years of independence.

One last bit ... Shay's rebellion happened BEFORE The Constitution was ratified, right before in fact, and it played a significant part in the debates leading up to it ... the goal being ... "let's construct a government where people DON'T feel a need to rebel in this manner".

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BigOleDummy Apr 20 #13
LineLineLineReply An interesting thing about this quote ...
mr_lebowski Apr 21 #24
crosinski Apr 21 #30
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