Jefferson Alone


Next Monday, April 13th, will mark the 266th anniversary of the birth of America’s third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. It’s worth remembering what President John F. Kennedy said to a number of Nobel Laureates gathered at the White House in December 1962: he welcomed them as the most distinguished collection of talent ever to assemble in the Executive Mansion, except when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.

In truth, Jefferson rarely dined alone, inviting sundry guests nearly every evening for scintillating conversation over excellent fare. And however witty Kennedy’s quip, it perhaps does an injustice to America’s other truly brilliant (but sadly, unsuccessful) president, John Quincy Adams – almost certainly Jefferson’s only intellectual equal among the occupants of our highest office.

Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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