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Political Science Commons

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2014

United States History

Johann N. Neem

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Developing Freedom: Thomas Jefferson, The State, And Human Capability, Johann N. Neem May 2014

Developing Freedom: Thomas Jefferson, The State, And Human Capability, Johann N. Neem

Johann N. Neem

Thomas Jefferson is often invoked as an advocate of limited government and a defender of individual rights. This article argues that rights were Jefferson’s starting place. Jefferson also believed that American citizens should have opportunities to develop the capabilities necessary to enjoy the full use of their rights. Rather than thinking about Jefferson as progovernment or antigovernment, this article concludes that we must understand the particular kind of government Jefferson desired, the ends he had in mind, and why and how those ends differed from his Federalist predecessors. A better understanding of Jefferson’s statecraft not only offers a ...