Jefferson’s sentiment that “a little rebellion now and then is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government” is echoed by Thomas Paine, who penned some of the most stirring words of the American Revolution by the fading light of a campfire, beside his compatriot, George Washington. Upon reading Paine’s essay, Washington commanded that it be read to all of the troops. Paine’s words still stir American hearts today: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
Paine’s words, referring to the American Revolution, are just as meaningful in describing the current revolution by the Americans who are in the “service of their country,” passionately reclaiming a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”
The Constitution , penned primarily by James Madison, also abandons the patriarchal view of “power over,” in order to empower its citizens.
One example of the feminine qualities of compromise, and creating a win-win outcome, occurred when systems of representation were debated in the Continental Congress. The larger states wanted Virginia’s proposal, which would allow representation based on population. The smaller states naturally preferred New Jersey’s plan of equal representation by state. The “Great Compromise” was a paradigm shifting, win-win solution, which birthed the concept of two houses in Congress: the Senate and the House of Representatives.
In another example of a conscious shift toward more inclusivity, the preamble to our Constitution was edited. It originally read, “We the States…” but was changed to “We the people of the United States…” Our founders wanted to punctuate the fact that the government was instituted in order to be in service to the citizens, not the other way around.
Thomas Jefferson set the cornerstone for freedom of religion in America as author of both the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and the Declaration of Independence. (These two endeavors, along with, “Father of the University of Virginia,” are the three accomplishments that were inscribed over Jefferson’s grave, according to his instruction. It is fascinating to note that from Jefferson’s perspective, being president of the United States didn’t make the top three!)
In his wisdom, Jefferson referred to spiritual influences in inclusive terminology, such as “Creator,” “Divine Providence,” and the pantheistic, “nature’s God,” in the Declaration.