Jefferson railed against tyranny in all forms, and encouraged others to do so as well. In a letter to William S. Smith he wrote, "And what country can preserve its liberties, if the rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." Jefferson was a believer in one's right to protect one's self, family and property. He defended the right to bear arms on an individual basis when he wrote, "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes ... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
Jefferson played a pivotal role in winning this country's freedom. He warned future generations against the tyranny that could so easily engulf our fledgling nation then and in the future when he wrote , again to William S. Smith, "The tree of liberty must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Jefferson reminds us that our government rules at the sufferance of the people. Jefferson's principle that the government rules with, and by, the consent of the governed is most evident in the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence. [G]overnments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government shall become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, & to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles & organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety & happiness." This is a lesson that today's leaders would be wise to remember.
Jefferson was not a perfect man. Like all heroes and patriots mentioned her,e he was merely mortal. There is great evidence that her fathered several children with one of his slaves. For all that he tried to free the slaves in the Deceleration of Independence, and wrote papers against the practice, he too was a slave owner. This should not however, detract from the greatness of a great man. I would be terribly interested to hear what he has to say about the current situation our great nation finds itself in.