If every sound argument or objection was used by some one or other of the numerous debaters, it was enough: if not, I thought it sufficient to suggest the omission, without going into a repetition of what had been already said by others. That this was a waste and abuse of the time and patience of the house which could not be justified. And I believe that if the members of deliberative bodies were to observe this course generally, they would do in a day what takes them a week, and it is really more questionable, than may at first be thought, whether Bonaparte’s dumb legislature which said nothing and did much, may not be preferable to one which talks much and does nothing.
Source: Autobiography, 1821
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders prefer deeds to words.
Jefferson’s ideas for an effective legislative body:
1. If another argued a point, he didn’t need to repeat the same argument.
2. If something was omitted in an argument, he would point it out and then stop, without repeating what others had said. To do otherwise was abusive and an unjustifiable waste of time.
Adopting such self-limiting principles would enable “deliberative bodies” to accomplish in a day what currently took a week.
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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.