“The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” ~~ W.E.B. Du Bois
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“There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.” ~~ Alexander Hamilton
“Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.” ~~ Edward Everett
“Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.” ~~ Alexander Hamilton
“Vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty.” ~~ Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers
“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.” ~~ John Adams to Abigail Adams, May 12, 1780
The third president of the United States of America and a powerful advocate of liberty was born April 3, 1743 in Albemarle County, Virginia. Thomas Jefferson inherited from his father, a planter and surveyor, some 5,000 acres of land, and from his mother, a Randolph, high social standing. He studied at the College of William and Mary, and then went on to practice or “read” law as it was known in his day. In 1772 he married Martha Wayles Skelton, a young widow, and took her to live in his partly constructed mountaintop home, Monticello. It was at Monticello that they had six children: Martha Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836), Jane Randolph (1774–1775), a stillborn or unnamed son (1777), Mary Wayles (1778–1804), Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781), and Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785). Martha died on September 6, 1782 and Jefferson never remarried. It has been stated but never fully proven that Jefferson may also have been the father of several children with his slave Sally Hemings.
Thomas was freckled and sandy-haired and was often described as being rather tall and awkward. While Jefferson was eloquent as a correspondent, he was not public speaker. While he was in the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress, he contributed his pen rather than his voice to the patriot cause. Acting as the “silent member” of the Congress, Jefferson, age 33, drafted the Declaration of Independence. In the following years he labored diligently to make its words a reality in Virginia. One of his most notable achievements was when he wrote a bill establishing religious freedom, enacted in 1786.
Jefferson succeeded the popular Benjamin Franklin as minister to France in 1785. His very public sympathy for the French Revolution led him into conflict with Alexander Hamilton when Jefferson was Secretary of State in President Washington’s Cabinet. Disillusioned with politics he resigned in 1793.
It was during this time that sharp political conflict developed, and two separate parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, began to form. Jefferson went on to gradually assume leadership of the Republicans, who sympathized with the revolutionary cause in France. His opinions vigorously attacked Federalist policies and he opposed a strong centralized Government and championed the rights of states.
Thomas Jefferson became a reluctant candidate for President in 1796 and came within three votes of election. History buffs are delighted that through a flaw in the Constitution, he became Vice President, although he was an opponent of President Adams. Yet in 1800 this defect caused a more serious problem when Republican electors, attempting to name both a President and a Vice President from their own party, cast a tie vote between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. The House of Representatives went on to settle the tie. Ironically it was his old nemesis Alexander Hamilton who championed Jefferson’s election to the presidency.
When Jefferson had assumed the Presidency, the crisis in France had already passed. One of his first acts as President was to slash Army and Navy expenditures, cut the budget, eliminate the tax on whiskey (that was wildly unpopular in the West,) and still manage to reduce the national debt by a third. He also became a foreign policy President when he sent a naval squadron to fight the Barbary pirates, who were harassing American commerce in the Mediterranean. Further, while the Constitution made no provision for the acquisition of new land, Jefferson suppressed his qualms over constitutionality when he had the opportunity to acquire the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon in 1803.
During Jefferson’s second term as President, he became increasingly preoccupied with keeping the nation from involvement in the Napoleonic wars. He worked constantly on this though both England and France interfered with the neutral rights of American merchantmen. Jefferson’s attempted solution to this conflict was an embargo upon American shipping, which worked badly and was unpopular.
After two terms as President, Jefferson retired to Monticello to ponder such projects as his grand designs for the University of Virginia.
He died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Ironically he died just a few hours before the death of John Adams, co-signer of the Declaration of Independence, one time political rival and later friend and correspondent.
Theodore Seuss Geisel was a brilliant American author, talented artist and a child at heart. He was better known to the world under his “pen name” Dr. Seuss and was extremely famous for his collection of children’s books. Even though he wrote several most loved children’s books, Dr. Seuss never had any children of his own.
Dr. Seuss was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 2, 1904 to wealthy parents Theodore Robert Geisel and Henrietta Seuss Geisel, both German immigrants. Dr. Seuss’ father and grandfather were successful brewmasters in the city where he grew up. Even though the family enjoyed financial success for many years, the beginning of World War I and prohibition caused them to face both financial and social challenges. Along with other Germans, they started to be targets for many insults regarding their background and livelihoods. In spite of what the family had gone through, they continued to work hard and again became wealthy. Dr. Seuss and his sister Marnie grew up in a fairly happy home and enjoyed every moment of their childhood.
After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1925, Dr. Seuss’ father Theodore Robert Giesel sent him to Oxford University in England with the intent of him earning a doctorate in literature to become a professor. At Oxford, he met a fellow American student Helen Palmer who recommended that he pursue his drawing career instead of becoming a professor. He eventually married Helen Palmer in 1927 and left England to look for work in the United States. He eventually found a job in advertising for Standard Oil where he devoted 15 years of his life. He also worked as a cartoonist and submitted humorous articles for different magazines. Some of the bigger publications such as Life, Vanity Fair and Liberty magazine found his unique and humorous work very enjoyable. His many published cartoons in various well-known magazines got him a job creating ads for an insecticide company. One of his ads for a product called “flit” soon became famous and gained him national exposure. While still working in the advertising industry, he also started writing and illustrating in his spare time an alphabet book for children. Unfortunately, many publishers didn’t think the book was an eye popping book and turned him down. Discouraged and frustrated, he decided to stop writing for a while.
In 1936, he decided to take the pen once more and wrote his very first book called “To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”. Many publishers declined printing the book but eventually in 1937, the book was published. After the War, he and his wife Helen moved to La Jolla, California where he began writing children’s books including “ If I Ran the Zoo” in 1950 “Scramble Eggs Super!” in 1953 “If I Ran The Circus” in 1956 and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” also in 1956. In 1954, He read a report in “Life” magazine about the illiteracy in schools. It was documented that most children were not learning to read because most books in school were hard and boring to read. With his publisher’s help, Dr. Seuss wrote the “Cat in The Hat” which only contains 220 words, followed by “Green Eggs and Ham” which has only 50 words. Both of these two books are still the most favorite books for children who are beginning to read.
In 1967, Dr Seuss’ wife Helen committed suicide. A few months later, he married one of his close friends Audrey Stone Diamond. At age 87, Dr Seuss passed away in his sleep in his home in La Jolla California on September 24th, 1991. His body was cremated as he wished.