Your Thick Skin Just Got Thicker – Thomas Jefferson Leadership


if we suffer ourselves to be frightened from our post by mere lying, surely the enemy will use that weapon: for what one so cheap to those of whose system of politics morality makes no part? the patriot, like the Christian, must learn that to bear revilings & persecutions is a part of his duty: and in proportion as the trial is severe, firmness under it becomes more requisite & praiseworthy. it requires indeed self-command. but that will be fortified in proportion as the calls for it’s exercise are repeated.

Source: Thomas Jefferson letter to James Sullivan, May 21, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

Principled leaders must stand in the face of slander.
Sullivan (1744-1808) was a Massachusetts lawyer, politician and Jefferson ally. The President commiserated with him regarding lies from the opposing party and suggested George Washington himself would not have been able to bear up against the current slanders.

Fleeing public office because of lies would only encourage the liars to use the same tactic against others. It was a cheap weapon for those without any moral sense. Enduring slander was simply one’s duty. The worse the slander, the more important and noble resistance became. That resistance, while never easy, would become less difficult with practice.

“… Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts about democracy, responsibility and leadership
at the local level surely succeeded in reinforcing the call to serve …”
Executive Director, Maine Municipal Association
Mr. Jefferson will sound a strong call to serve!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search or call me. I’ll help you find it.

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

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