Thomas Jefferson, in a nutshell


I love industry & abhor severity.

Source: Thomas Jefferson letter to John Strode, 5 June 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

These are two very good qualities for any leader.
Strode was one of several people whose help Jefferson sought in finding a replacement for his competent but over-priced manager at Monticello. Strode was a long-time friend, and the President occasionally spent the night at his home when he traveled between Monticello and Washington City. This letter, like the others, described the many duties of an overseer.

In the middle of this letter are these six words that capture the heart of Thomas Jefferson. He loved kind, industrious people. He could have described himself the same way. He was unfailingly thoughtful and always on-task. In a letter to his daughter (one I can’t find at the moment), he advised her how much a person could accomplish if they were not wasting time but always doing something productive.

One concern Jefferson had about his current overseer, Gabriel Lilley, was his occasional severity toward the slaves. Jefferson wanted none of it. He hated that kind of behavior, whether toward his servants or anyone else.

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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.

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