Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

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Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

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Excerpt

Little more than a century ago a civilized nation without an aristocracy was a pitiful spectacle scarcely to be witnessed in the world. The American colonists, having brought no dukes and barons with them to the rugged wilderness, fell in some sort under a moral compulsion to set up an imitation of the genuine creatures, and as their best makeshift in the emergency they ennobled in a kind of local fashion the richer Virginian planters. These gentlemen were not without many qualifications for playing the agreeable part assigned to them; they gambled recklessly over cards and at the horse-racings and cock-fightings which formed their chief pleasures; they caroused to excess at taverns and at each other's houses; they were very extravagant, very lazy, very arrogant, and fully persuaded of their . . .

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