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Reply #13: Length of a Generation [View All]

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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-08 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. Length of a Generation
Edited on Sun Sep-28-08 04:59 PM by RoyGBiv
I don't have a citation for this handy, so you can take it for what it's worth.

The length of a generation is not static, and there is not a precise measurement for how much time defines a generation. In general you take an arbitrary point in time defining something significant, e.g. the enactment of the Constitution, and figure how much time it takes for those shaped by that event to be "replaced" by their offspring.

The length of a generation has increased as lifespan has increased and as the average age of "first birth" increases. In Jefferson's time, a generation was around 20 years. Now, it's closer to 30.

Jefferson thought that each generation should define for itself how it should be governed.

More to the point, Jefferson was often taken by idealistic flights of fancy, of which this idea is a part. At the same time he thought each generation should write its own Constitution, he thought these generations would be guided by an advancement of enlightenment principles. He was wrong.

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