Jefferson And Socrates' Idea Of Democracy



Thomas Jefferson's idea of democracy was one in which people had the right to question the government. Just as Socrates' mission was that of questioning everything and everyone. Socrates educated many and created followers intent on continuing Socrates' work. In effect this is quite similar if not the same as Jefferson's ideas that the people have the right to alter or abolish a government if it violates them.
Socrates believed that "The unexamined life is not worth living.", similarly one of Jefferson's ideas was basically that the unexamined and unchecked government is not worth having. He said "...governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the ...

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large part of society and ultimately executed.(Kaplan, 1951, 13) Jefferson similarly was ostracized for his criticism's of Federalist policies, but he was embraced by those who shared his views, namely the republicans of his day. Socrates too had those who supported him, those included his pupils such as Crito, Phaedo, and most namely Plato. (Kaplan, 1951)
Even though Jefferson was in fact the founder of the Republican political party, and contributed greatly to America's two party system. Jefferson himself did not affiliate himself with a party. In a letter to Francis Hopkins, Jefferson wrote, "If I could go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all." (Peterson, 1984, 941). While he did grossly disagree with Hamilton and the federalists he did approach the world with and open mind.
Jefferson was always a proponent of rights of the people, and feared the threat of an elected monarchy. It was for these reasons that Jefferson led the fight for the addition of the Bill of ...

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Added: 12/28/2005 06:15:47 PM
Category: Government
Words: 1430
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