Jefferson was a pragmatic utopian, and a utopian pragmatist.
"A traveler, sais I, retired at night to his chamber in an inn, all his effects contained in a single trunk, all his cares circumscribed by the walls of his apartment, unknown to all, unheeded, and undisturbed, writes, reads, thinks, sleeps, just in the moments when nature and the movements of his body and mind require."
"Two seraphs await me long shrouded in death; I will bear them your love on my last parting breath."
— Thomas Jefferson, July 1826
We conclude our Jefferson 101 biographical series by discussing his final days at Monticello, his legacy, and the deaths of both Jefferson and John Adams on July 4th, 1826 — the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
In the end food is just fuel. It keeps the engine running, and for me the engine was designed to do the work of the soul—to read books and maybe write some too, to imagine the world you want to live in, to evaluate the events that take place in the public square, to lift oneself and those around you to a higher plane of enlightenment, to do what you can—in Jefferson’s words—to ameliorate the condition of mankind.
"at best it is but the life of a mill-horse, who sees no end to his circle but in death. to such a life that of a cabbage is paradise."
— Thomas Jefferson, 27 June 1822
This week, we return with part two of the last three shows of the Jefferson 101 biography series, and continue our discussion of Jefferson’s final years in retirement at Monticello.
"Anything that is non-violent is an acceptable form of protest in a Republic."
— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson
President Jefferson shares his view on what he calls an essential need for citizens to speak out about issues they disagree with and he explains why dissent is necessary for the health of American democracy.