We present President Thomas Jefferson with a listener question about what the phrase "promote the general welfare," found in the Constitution, actually means.
We answer letters from Richard Tucker and Rich Nieves. As Richard Tucker writes:
These constitutional responsibilities “we the people” have placed upon ourselves and onto “we the governors” precede the constitutional rights we have granted to ourselves. It seems that folks are quick to argue for “our rights”, but neglect to accept and exercise “our responsibilities.”
- Craig LeHoullier
- First Family: Abigail and John Adams by Joseph J. Ellis
- Jefferson Hour: 15 Greek and Latin Classics
- Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816: "Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched."
- Yale Law School: Jefferson's Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank
Jefferson wrote 26,000 letters, and received even more in the course of his amazing life. I can say this with categorical confidence. Nobody else ever dared to write to Jefferson in this way, nobody else assailed him so directly and with such laser-like aggression. And nobody who wrote to him in even milder rebuke could expect to remain his friend.
Read this week's Jefferson Watch essay, "Abigail Adams: Awesome and a Little Frightening".