What would create “a paradise of the whole earth”?


I am glad you took the delightful tour which you describe in your letter. it is almost exactly that which mr Madison and myself pursued in May and June 1791 … but, from Saratoga till we got back to Northampton, was then mostly desert. now it is what 34. years of free and good government have made it. it shews how soon the labor of men would make a paradise of the whole earth, were it not for misgovernment, & a diversion of all his energies from their proper object, the happiness of man, to the selfish interests of kings, nobles and priests.

Source: To Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge, August 27, 1825

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

Free enterprise leaders know government doesn’t know best.
In the last year of his life, now 82, Jefferson wrote to his granddaughter who had married three months before and moved to Boston. She had written him about a trip she took up the Hudson River in New York, which mirrored one he’d taken with James Madison long before. She must have described the great development and prosperity she saw in the region north of Albany.

Jefferson described it as “mostly desert” when he saw it.To what did he attribute the vast change in just 34 years? A “free and good government” devoted to its only “proper object, the happiness of man.” That would be the American government, leaving its people as free as possible to pursue their own interests.

A similar approach in other lands “would make a paradise of the whole earth” in similar short order, except for their “misgovernment.” It diverted men’s energies to serve “the selfish interests” of a privileged few … monarchies, hereditary societies and church-state alliances.

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The Moral Liberal Thomas Jefferson Editor, Patrick Lee, is a professional speaker, actor and writer. Since 1990, he has inspired, entertained and educated audiences from Maine to Hawaii with his authentic, first person leadership presentations as President Thomas Jefferson, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, and Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William Clark. He also appears as himself, The Hopeful Humorist™, with a program of motivational humor, patriotism and inspiration.

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