Today is the birthday of a President who was at heart a farmer. A man who loved the land, knew how to cultivate it and thought farming was the bedrock of a stable democracy.
“I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural.” Thomas Jefferson
I have always admired Jefferson as much for his agricultural experiments at Monticello as for the writing of the Declaration of Independence. A man who knew his civic duty and fulfilled it but really was much happier as a planter in Virginia.
But I think maybe my favorite factoid about Jefferson is that when he decided to make the Louisiana “Purchase” it was instead of sinking that same money into the industrialization of New Jersey. He bought farm land instead of contributing to the industrial revolution which would soon sweep the country and the world.
Perhaps one of his most famous quotes about the virtues of farmers:
“Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if he ever had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his particular deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth. Corruption of morals in the mass cultivator is a phenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example”
So Happy Birthday Thom!