How much do you trust people to govern themselves wisely?


He [President Washington] was neither an Angloman [pro-England], a monarchist [pro- king], nor a separatist [pro-seceding from the American union]. He sincerely wished the people to have as much self-government as they were competent to exercise themselves. The only point on which he and I ever differed in opinion, was, that I had more confidence than he had in the natural integrity and discretion of the people, and in the safety and extent to which they might trust themselves with a control over their government.

Source: To John Melish, January 13, 1813

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders did, and still do, differ on this question!

More than a dozen years after Washington’s death in late 1799, Jefferson challenged the thought that he and the first President were great opponents. He affirmed Washington’s support for America’s independence and continuing union, and its peoples’ self-government. Any issue of division between the two had its root in how much self-government.

Jefferson claimed to have more confidence in the judgment of the people than Washington did.  Alexander Hamilton, influential during the Washington and Adams administrations, had very little confidence in people. Thus, Hamilton continually lobbied for more concentration of power in the national government. In contrast, Jefferson never wavered in his belief that most power was best left to the states, their counties, townships, wards and ultimately, in the hands of the individual.

“Everyone felt as if they actually were in the presence
of the Third President of the United States.”
Assistant to the Executive Director, Illinois Association of School Boards
Give your audience the opportunity to be in
President Jefferson’s actual presence!

Call Patrick Lee, 573-657-2739

Self-Educated American 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.

His business address is