Stolen Quote: Withdrawing

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.

Thomas Jefferson

Good, as long as he doesn’t mean, withdrawing a knife.

33 comments

  • but I wonder if such differences are enough to never want to form a friendship with someone…

    if you are already friends with someone, you’ve likely found some common areas of interest, and you might be able to ignore some of the differences you learn about later.

    if you learn of those differences first, I wonder if people even bother to try and become friends..

    Liked by 4 people

  • I think its pretty sad if those differences end a friendship. Now if the friend is trying to impose their beliefs on you then that is different. But a true friend is going to like you for who you are Not for what you believe!

    Liked by 2 people

  • It’s a curious quote… especially from Jefferson. He may have been wielding something pointy, though most likely a penknife…

    My main upper-division US history project was based (mostly) in reading John Adams’ and Thomas Jefferson’s letters to one another. Adams staunchly supported a strong central government (he’d probably be considered a flaming leftist today), while Jefferson believed in maximizing states’ rights (he’d probably be an extreme-right libertarian). The latter period of Adam’s presidency and Jefferson’s election was so Machiavellian, vitriolic and underhanded, it makes current politics look like a couple of ten-year old kids hurling names in a schoolyard. The trope of Jefferson having children with his slave, Sally Hemmings, was actually a rumor spread by Adams. Jefferson responded by paying a newspaper journalist to write stories about how Adams wanted to attack France. Alexander Hamilton’s support of Jefferson (which won him the presidency) was what got him shot by Aaron Burr, who otherwise likely would have been our third president due to Adams and Jefferson so trashing each other. And Hamilton and Burr were people who mostly agreed with each other! Adams and Jefferson didn’t talk to each other for twelve years.

    By the time of Adams’ and Jefferson’s deaths, however, both highly respected one other, and each considered the other a dear and worthy friend. What marked that transition was 14-years of constant correspondence. Understanding this is one of the main reasons that I’ve always endeavored to respectfully engage others with wildly diverging perspectives. I won’t hold back on what I think. But I always want to understand where someone else is coming from, and that demands not fearing another’s perspective. If you dig around in here, you can find where I’ve engaged in a few monster political debates that could qualify as long articles in themselves… but ALWAYS with mutual respect. Frankly, I think most who resort to name-calling are just insecure in their own beliefs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you hit the nail on the head about those who name call, being insecure about their own beliefs!
      Interesting facts about Jefferson and Adam’s. Glad they made up in the end.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve heard of their political rivalry, and how bitter things became, between them. I think an important lesson in American history is how the two eventually became friends, and were able to agree to disagree.

      Somehow I pictured Adams, and the Federalist movement, to be on the right, not the left. But it makes sense, now that you mention it, that it would be leftist in today’s world.

      Liked by 2 people

      • This is a fascinating time in US history. Aside from the Federalist vs. Democratic-Republican conflict, the early 1800s was the time of “The Second Great Awakening” Christian movement in the US. Not everyone had been happy about the Constitution replacing the Articles of Confederation. So the shift toward centralizing the government was the “liberal leftist” movement of the time, while those wanting more state’s-rights and freedoms were the old-school “conservatives”. Religion was also something approached in a very different way. While it was till central to the lifestyle of most common folk, all of the first five US Presidents had supported the Establishment clause in the 1st Amendment to the new Constitution, and (variously) opposed the Free Exercise clause, taking a cue from the French Revolution. They wanted religion to be entirely removed from having any influence in government, though they varied on their acceptance of personal expression. (There was a lot of political posturing here, especially with Washington.)

        During Washington’s Presidency, Jefferson was appointed as Secretary of State to replace John Jay, who had been appointed to the office by the 14th President of the Continental Congress, Cyrus Griffin. (Everybody forgets the first 14 US Presidents!) Jay, who was also the 5th United States President of the Continental Congress, was among those who wanted to enshrine a requirement that only “Christians” could serve in the US government, and had been instrumental in including the Free Exercise clause. Ironically, Hamilton eventually appealed to the Christian movement for political leverage, despite having supported Jefferson. One of the main reasons Adams and Jefferson began corresponding with each other was that they thought the Constitution would probably be re-opened to a Convention due to the rising political influence of the Christian movement, and that that would be the end of the United States. Having been raised Puritan, Adams had a dark sense of humor about the whole thing.

        Reading so many of their letters, Adams came across as the brilliant pragmatist, and Jefferson was the compassionate prodigy. Jefferson despised public speaking, but was a pathological writer. As a consequence, he left tens-of-thousands of letters and documents, along with 14,000 pages regarding every nuance of his life.

        Probably more than you ever wanted to know, but it just amazes me that so much US history is just forgotten… or maybe just re-interpreted for convenience.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Wow, that’s fascinating. I’ve never delved very deeply into our country’s early history, and wasn’t aware the Christians were so close to a Constitutional Convention. If I was still in college I think I’d want to be in your class. This is all very interesting.

          Liked by 1 person

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