"I do believe that General Washington had not a firm confidence in the durability of our government. He was naturally distrustful of men, and inclined to gloomy apprehensions; and I was ever persuaded that a belief that we must at length end in something like a British constitution, had some weight in his adoption of the ceremonies of levees, birthdays, pompous meetings with Congress, and other forms of the same character, calculated to prepare us gradually for a change which he believed possible, and to let it come on with as little shock as might be to the public mind."
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
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Reader comments about this quote:
Jefferson and Washington were giants. Compare them with the pygmies in our congress today. For all but a few, calling them political hacks would be a compliment.
 -- jim k, austin     
    Jim, I agree. Also, Washington, wanting nothing to do with a monarch type system tended to sway away from anything that would support the concept. He did succumb to some of the brilliant and inspired minds of his time in establishing a government that would not only serve its sovereigns but also be recognized by other nations. It seems We The People have rejected Washington's healthy skepticism of foreign sovereigns. The mass have accepted compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, theft of the noble laborer's fruit, etc. And, instead of celebrating society's progress of a moral belief (victory over imponderable prejudices) and, going far beyond the festive observance of the eternal reality that the God of Nature’s heirs are all created equal, the slaves will now coronate, with great levees and pomps, their perfect omniscient/omnipotent.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Ancient history confirms Washington's fears. If you are irreligious, take the following as purely historical, but consider anyway: the Hebrews left a highly centrist, despotic Egypt and Moses gave them a govt of almost NO govt. No standing army, no king (both forbidden, even), and no taxes. They had enormous self-responsibility in defense and social welfare, but no one to really enforce it but the Law (God's). In time, they were plagued by the armies of kings, trained for war and controlled by one man's decision, unlike the eternal bickering and waffling of Hebrew militia. So the Hebrews demanded a king. They were warned extensively in 1 Samuel 8 what this would bring down on them, what a central govt would do to wreck their freedom and peace. If one substitutes the word "king" in this chapter for "any highly centralized govt" you will see the prediction works absolutely as predicted. For myself, I have sadly come to accept that God gave the best form of govt (almost no govt), but we cannot keep it. Try tho we might, "I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps." (Jeremiah 10:23)
     -- Paul, Union, WA     
    I'm with Washington on this one: I'm don't have "a firm confidence in the durability of our government" either.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
    We could sure use the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson today!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    If only our voting public had the wisdom to select such men for office today.
     -- warren, olathe     
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