"Character and Constitution in Thomas Jefferson's Thought" to be Presented Today at MSU
The lecture, “Character and Constitution in Thomas Jefferson’s Thought,” will be presented today (9/29) at Missouri State University. Dr. Stephen Wirls, political science professor at Rhodes College in Memphis, will present the Constitution Day lecture.
The talk will be about Jefferson’s alternative understanding of the foundation of politics in the U.S., according to Wirls. He said Jefferson wasn’t opposed to a constitution, but he had very different ideas about the importance of a constitution.
"As opposed to the character of citizens, which he focuses on as the most important foundation of good government," he said.
Wirls said Jefferson believed humans had certain qualities, which, if enhanced by education, could compete with our not-so-good motives. So, he said, Jefferson had a greater confidence than the framers of the constitution that democracy—direct government by the people—could be good government.
"Because the people would be properly motivated to lead the government toward just outcomes that also serve the public good," he said.
Wirls’ lecture starts at 4 today (9/29) in the Meyer Library Auditorium. It’s open to the public.