Thomas Jefferson is considered to be one of the nation’s greatest presidents. Of course, that opinion is subjective based on the political leanings of the person doing the considering.
He had his faults, no doubt, but it is undeniable the impact this Founding Father had during the earliest days of our fledgling nation.
Author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was the third president of these United States, our first Secretary of State and second vice president. He negotiated the Louisiana Purchase, and was the organizer of the Lewis and Clark expedition to explore the western part of what would later become additional American states.
Yes, he had faults. He was a slave owner, and many like to paint him as a liberal (although l must protest that classical liberalism is a very different and distinct animal from the current liberalism of today’s world). Jefferson wanted a weak federal government and believed strongly people should be responsible for their own selves.
Despite any faults, I am a Jefferson buff. I’ve read numerous books about his life, his works and his beliefs. And I’ve got to tell you that his “10 Rules” are good guidelines by which to lead a life.
Not 10 Commandments, those being the laws of God passed down to Moses and then on to man, but rather 10 points of perspective to guide one through difficult situations and ways to respond when obstacles cross your path.
Jefferson’s 10 Rules for leading a fulfilling life:
1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3. Never spend your money before you have it.
4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
9. Take things always by their smooth handle. (Jefferson believed strongly that the exchange of ideas must always be civil)
10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.
These rules are timeless guidelines of the way to lead a fulfilling life. Take Jefferson’s rules, combine them with the laws of the Father, and follow the rules set forth in Galatians 5:19-21 and you have the makings of a righteous life.
Well, at least as righteous as any of us mere mortals can be.