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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federal government's power should be much more encompassing. Hamilton’s basis for this is in the "Elastic Clause", Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18,

" And to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper
for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all
other powers vested in this constitution in the government
of the United States or in any department or office
thereof." (Wheeler Handout).

Both men used each citation from the constitution to support their respective opinions. Jefferson accused Hamilton and the federalists of many grievances. In a letter to George Washington in 1792 Jefferson wrote, "His [Hamilton] system flowed from principles adverse to liberty , & ...

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Jefferson And Socrates' Idea Of Democracy. (2005, December 28). Retrieved April 8, 2020, from
"Jefferson And Socrates' Idea Of Democracy.", 28 Dec. 2005. Web. 8 Apr. 2020. <>
"Jefferson And Socrates' Idea Of Democracy." December 28, 2005. Accessed April 8, 2020.
"Jefferson And Socrates' Idea Of Democracy." December 28, 2005. Accessed April 8, 2020.
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Added: 12/28/2005 06:15:47 PM
Category: Government
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1430
Pages: 6

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