I Do Not Need or Want Power


I have no pleasure in the exercise of power … to fortify the principles of free government, to fence them by every barrier practicable, and to establish in the government habits of economy, present the principal means by which I can render any permanent service: and if the pursuit of these should be found to acquire popularity, the love of popularity may induce some of those who come after me to practise what their natural dispositions might not otherwise lead them to.

Source: Thomas Jefferson letter to Timothy Bloodworth, December 31, 1802

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

Not all strong leaders desire that role.
The only Presidential authority Jefferson cared to exercise had these goals, to:
1. Strengthen the principles of free government
2. Limit government’s reach in every practical way
3. Make frugality in government spending a habit

Any success in these areas would be the permanent legacy he wanted. If his vision of limited government proved popular, perhaps future leaders would continue the trend, even if their personal interests were more expansive.

Historian Jon Meacham won a Pulitzer Prize for his 2012 biography, Thomas Jefferson – The Art of Power takes a more expansive view of Jefferson and his “exercise of power.” The President said he didn’t like it. Meacham said he did but credits Jefferson with using it very effectively.

“The group did not think you were an actor playing a role … but had become the MAN himself….
You did a marvelous job indeed …”
Program Committee Chair, International Hunter Education Association
Before your audience’s eyes, a costumed man will BECOME Thomas Jefferson.
Invite him to speak. Call 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 ThomasJeffersonLeadership.com.