Thursday, October 13, 2005

Quote of the Day

President John F. Kennedy welcoming 49 Nobel Prize winners to the White House in 1962:
I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.


Disclaimer: I go to the University of Virginia, founded by good ol' TJ, so anything associated with him has almost mystical status!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mystical?

Many of our revered founding fathers were slave owners. George Washington, the father of our country, owned slaves as did the great Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence.

Mystical?

Anonymous said...

Mystical?

"I advance it, as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the
whites in the endowments both of body and mind." -- Thomas Jefferson, author of the famous statement, "All men are created equal."

Karthik Narayanaswamy said...

The "mystical status" refered to something conferred on TJ by folks here, not necessarily me individually. I do think when we judge historical figures, we need to take into account historical context, as well as look at their achievements and failures. Jefferson's record on slavery and race relations is suspect at best. At the same time, his perceptions of democracy have in large part shaped democracies of the word. How do you remember such a figure? It's a really tough question.

Incidentally, if anyone knows of a good biography of Jefferson, please do let me know. One of the problems I've noticed with a couple I have looked at is that they are either too enamored with his historical role, and gloss over his failings, or too trapped in his apparent hypocrisy to note his phenomenal contributions. A figure of his prominence requires a balanced read!