Lincoln was an ardent admirer of Thomas Jefferson. Here he pays tribute to the man whose “principles . . . are the definitions and axioms of free society.” Jefferson’s Declaration remains “a rebuke and a stumbling-block” to those who would enslave and oppress other human beings.
Messrs. Henry L. Pierce, & others.
April 6, 1859
Your kind note inviting me to attend a Festival in Boston, on the 13th Inst. in honor of the birth-day of Thomas Jefferson, was duly received. My engagements are such that I cannot attend.
Bearing in mind that about seventy years ago, two great political parties were first formed in this country, that Thomas Jefferson was the head of one of them, and Boston the headquarters of the other, it is both curious and interesting that those supposed to descend politically from the party opposed to Jefferson, should now be celebrating his birth-day in their own original seat of empire, while those claiming political descent from him have nearly ceased to breathe his name everywhere.
Remembering too, that the Jefferson party were formed upon their supposed superior devotion to the personal rights of men, holding the rights of property to be secondary only, and greatly inferior, and then assuming that the so-called democracy of to-day, are the Jefferson, and their opponents, the anti-Jefferson parties, it will be equally interesting to note how completely the two have changed hands as to the principle upon which they were originally supposed to be divided.
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