Why Thomas Jefferson Was the Right Man for the Job

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

I recently stumbled across an article posted at Forbes.com examining the leadership qualities of Thomas Jefferson and why he was well-qualified to sum up the revolutionary principles of self-government that were the basis of the American war for independence.  I am usually not a fan of the “Leadership Skills of (Blank)” genre of articles, but this essay does a yeoman-like job of explaining the intellectual and personal qualities that shaped Jefferson’s belief in government by consent of the people. It is a good introduction to the political and intellectuals sources used by Jefferson when writing the Declaration of Independence, as well as another proof why Forbes (at least in my opinion) has some of the better writing on non-business-related topics found in any business magazine. It is well worth the time spent reading the brief but informative essay.



Filed under History of the Declaration of Independence

4 responses to “Why Thomas Jefferson Was the Right Man for the Job

  1. Very nicely done Forbes article. What would Jefferson think today about the way his ideals have grown in the centuries since he gave them breath?

    • paulrhuard

      As always, it’s great to hear from you Deanne. When it comes to Jefferson’s take on the expansion of his ideas since his lifetime, my reply has to be “Which Mr. Jefferson?” The young radical who wrote the Declaration and somewhat older man who admired the French Revolution would probably embrace the democratic tumult that we call popular government as it is expressed in the Americas, most of Europe, and some of Asia. The older Sage of Monticello had problems with black embrace of liberty during the Haitian revolution. As he grew older, he made comments that indicated he thought people should be prepared for self-government through thorough education in the humanities and politics. To the day he died, he believed only property owners were fit to rule themselves. Trying to pin Jefferson down is like trying to nail jam to a wall, but I think those are a few ways his ghost might answer your question.

      • Excellent point, Paul! Just “which Jefferson” indeed, is at the heart of the matter. He’s one of the most unfathomable historical figures we have, yet he gave our country the bones it needed to grow. It almost seems like his philosophy had tones of “do as I say, not as I do,” and I don’t think we’ll ever be able to pin him down with certainty. Makes the study of Jefferson even more interesting, doesn’t it? Keep up the great posts – I learn something new with each one!

      • paulrhuard

        “The bones it needed to grow.” You have a gift for a clever turn of phrase. Thank you for your kind words. I am pleased that you enjoy the blog.

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