Jon Meacham on the Persistent Jefferson/Hamilton Divide

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jon Meacham, executive editor at Random House and author of  Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2013), talks about the latest goings-on in Washington and whether the founding Jefferson/Hamilton divide still operates.


Jon Meacham

Comments [7]

Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretenious Hudson Heights

Obama is not a Leader. He is a divider.

As of yet, his adiminstration hasn't been able to select a capable team to get the ACA signup website to work properly.

Google works. But the ACA website doesn't?

Obama is losing all credibility, expect with the glassy eyed drones who support him no matter what.

Oct. 29 2013 11:37 AM
John A

Just fix the republican party, I have respect for what it Was. Thx Jon for the 'Demosclerosis' reference - I missed it when originally published.

Oct. 29 2013 11:34 AM

It wasn't "Obama weakness" but his naivete that allowed him to persist in believing that the GOP was capable of putting nation above party.

The concentration of wealth and influence into fewer and fewer pockets has been going on since Kennedy and is the biggest threat to the republic. [The miinimum wage worker of 1963 ($1.25/hr) had 30% MORE buying power than the AVERAGE worker ($21/hr) does today!] If the trendline established since Reagan is allowed to persist, we won't recognize the America of 2030.

Oct. 29 2013 11:26 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Mr. Meacham's mention of the debate in the early US over whether to align w/France or England makes me see a Lewis Carroll quote in a whole new light: "The further off from England, the nearer is to France/Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?" I suppose it would be more relevant if Carroll had been American....

Oct. 29 2013 11:13 AM
Chriss from Montclair

Meacham seems to have forgotten that we had this same debate ("the party might split!!" stuff during the Bush years regarding the Dems.

America is bored with Obama and how despite the Repubs, how HE has failed to deliver on his promises.

That alone, not the Tea Party, has marked his Presidency. And we'll look back proud at our first Black President... but that's about it.

Oct. 29 2013 11:13 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Oh, gosh, a "discussion about Jefferson" becomes a typical WNYC/PBS bash fest against the Republicans and their "extreme elements".
Same old stuff.

Oct. 29 2013 11:11 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

“I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.”
Thomas Jefferson

Please ask Meacham: Hasn’t “Jeffersonian Democracy” become ripe for cherry-picking by all stripes to defend their current ideologies? In this highly polarized polity, can’t everyone use Jefferson to make their points? Example (from my side) - can’t our current President 51%, a great example of the cult of personality and the autocratic style, be seen as the antithesis of Jefferson’s vision if you emphasize the following basic tenets?

-the national government is a dangerous necessity; it should be watched closely and circumscribed in its powers
-strong state and local governments and a weak federal government
-the judiciary should be subservient to the elected branches
-though voting should be widely available, a great danger was the “tyranny of the majority” over the rights of the individuals (as in 51% of the resentful “have lessers” voting to take away from the 49% of “have mores”.)

-though he warned against commercial interests and financiers, he was championing the “yeoman farmer” ... not an Ivy League educated elite living in a bubble of academic narrowness like our current President and the “we know what’s good for you folks” social engineers without experience in Washington.

Oct. 29 2013 05:44 AM

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