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The Course of Change – Words from Thomas Jefferson

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As we sit on the cusp of new leadership in the United States of America and our countrymen fret about what changes may come, I like to think of Jefferson’s words. America, always growing, adapting, has kept ahead with our willingness to be flexible and open minded. May we not forget this as we exchange one coat for another:

I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times.

We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

— Thomas Jefferson, to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1810
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