Thomas Jefferson and John and Abigail Adams and Political Discourse

Our American democratic republic works best when people of differing views are free to debate their ideas to test the strengths and weaknesses of their ideas, and then to find common ground if the debate reaches an impasse. Authoritarian governments want to eliminate differing opinions: left wing dictatorships try to kill off conservatives and independent minded leftists; right wing dictatorships try to kill off all leftists and moderates. Democracies allow divergent political viewpoints to debate each others ideas and to try to persuade the general public to support their proposed solutions to the democracy’s problems. Liberals, conservatives, moderates, democratic socialists, libertarians, anarchists, and other ideologies can contribute their best ideas while acting as a check to each others worst impulses.

An example of three Americans with divergent views who both contributed to this country were Thomas Jefferson and John and Abigail Adams. Though the three were good friends, they had very different political views.

Thomas Jefferson was a Republican who was very wary of power being centralized in the Federal government and believed that power should be diffused in the states. He felt that there was in every nation a natural aristocracy of the most talented men that would naturally rise up in a free society, as opposed to the artificial aristocracy of Europe that was created by primogeniture and was thus corrupt and incompetent.

As opposed to Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams felt that a strong federal government with a strong executive branch was necessary for the American republic. Adams refuted Jefferson’s distinctions between a natural aristocracy and an artificial aristocracy because he believed that the natural aristocracy was just as vulnerable to the human weaknesses of greed and corruption as the artificial aristocracy that Jefferson described. John Adams felt that human nature was such that the utopian vision that Jefferson had for the American republic was not possible in real life, and that checks and balances were necessary to fight the inevitable corruptions that comes with political power.

Towards the last decade of their lives, Adams and Jefferson had a correspondence where they debated their political differences. They both remained close friends in spite of the political differences. They both died on July 4, 1826.

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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