Thomas Jefferson was elected President of the United States on February 17, 1801 on the thirty-sixth ballot in the U.S. House of Representatives – breaking a tie vote.
Certainly, our country has seen times of greater division than we are witnessing today. History has shown that because of an enduring American commitment to fairness and equality ensconced in our founding documents that the Republic can and will continue to thrive.
But it often falls to the sound judgment of the individual man or woman to uphold these principles in their words and actions that will shape our nation’s future.
Perhaps no finer example of that can be seen than in the inaugural words of Thomas Jefferson himself, our country’s first “Republican” (Jefferson and his colleagues adopted the full name of “Democratic-Republican Party”), when he said,
“All…will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind.” – Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801.
Let us all hope and pray the words of our first Republican president will be reflected in the remarks and deeds of our newly sworn-in President.