thomas jefferson

The XYZ Affair (from "Have To" History)

Three Big Things 

1. France was mad because the U.S. was making nice with England, who France had only recently helped them break away from and who France hated most of the time anyway.

2. U.S. efforts to make nice with France led to serious drama when French representatives (code names “X,” “Y,” and “Z”) made demands the U.S. contingent found offensive.

3. The resulting kerfuffle led to a “Quasi-War” abroad and more pronounced divisions between political parties at home before being resolved by a new round of diplomacy and a new treaty. The dispute also prompted the Federalists to push through the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts (which didn’t turn out all that well).

Building A Wall of Separation (Faith & School)

The U.S. Constitution was written as a replacement for the Articles of Confederation – our first effort at writing a broad set of laws by which to govern the nation. The Articles had guaranteed the States almost complete sovereignty and absolute independence from one another – a great idea in theory, but not as workable as one might hope in practice. 

40 Credits & A Mule, Part V: Maybe Radio

Schoolhouse Rock The original element of despotism is a MONOPOLY OF TALENT, which consigns the multitude to comparative ignorance, and secures the balance of knowledge on the side of the rich and the rulers. If then the healthy existence of a free government be, as the committee believe, rooted in the WILL of the American people, it follows as a necessary consequence, of a government based upon that will, that this monopoly should be broken up, and that the means of equal knowledge, (the only security for equal liberty) should be rendered, by legal provision, the common property of all classes.

In a republic, the people constitute the government, and… frame the laws and create the institutions, that promote their happiness or produce their destruction… It appears, therefore, to the committee that there can be no real liberty without a wide diffusion of real intelligence; that the members of a republic, should all be alike instructed in the nature and character of their equal rights and duties, as human beings, and as citizens…

40 Credits & A Mule, Part I: This Land

Homesteaders Land was a big deal when our little experiment in democracy began. Now it's not - at least not as much. I'd like to convince you that today's college degree is yesterday's 160 acres.
If not, I'll seek to bore and befuddle you enough along the way that hopefully you'll begin skimming, and eventually just assume I've made some pretty good points.