Statesmanship In The Declaration Of Independence

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When one hears the word ‘Statesman’ it usually conjures up an image of The Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull. Great men, like John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Benjamin Rush, Robert Morris, Benjamin Harrison, and of course, Thomas Jefferson. Statesmanship is said to be difficult to locate, tough to understand, and challenging to define. Perhaps that is why a standard definition does not exist. Benjamin Franklin, while not specifically trying to define a statesman, wrote a list of twelve virtues he aspired to attain in his attempt at achieve moral perfection. After scouring Christian teachings, Biblical revelations and classical works, he determined that temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality,…show more content…
Some have labeled Jefferson’s actions Machiavellian. However, Machiavelli constrained the ruler’s behavior only by political necessity, separating the ruler from conventional Christian virtues. This may be the rare occasion, where Christian values and Machiavellianism can come together for a common purpose. Jefferson anguished over the decision to purchase the Louisiana Territory without a constitutional amendment, and decided it was in the best economic, political, and national security interests of the nation to proceed. Most historians agree with his conclusion; the benefits of purchasing the Louisiana Territory outweighed the cost to his strict constructionist principles. Statesmanship “requires a knowledge both of the true ends of political society and the means by which they may be attained” and the ends being “the good of the whole people, of the whole state.” Allowing for the fact that the Louisiana Purchase is considered the greatest achievement of Thomas Jefferson 's presidency, perhaps we should revisit Isaiah 52:13, and like Isaiah 's suffering servant, find our capacity to forgive others, and why Jefferson violated the Constitution; after all for he used both the statesman’s traits and skills for a higher purpose, for the betterment of society, offered in a spirit of deference to one’s self, and for the glory of
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