What Kind of Nation?

By James F. Simon

This solid work examines the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and John Marshall, which was as contentious as one would expect a rivalry between a staunch state’s rights proponent and a Federalist could be. It also serves as a lens through which to view the national dilemma as expounded by Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and others. Both Jefferson and Marshall were right of course, and both were wrong; a lesson we would do well to take to heart today. It seems not much has changed since the founding days other than the names of the protagonists. The only real difference between now and then is our ubiquitous and nearly inescapable news cycle, which serves only to divide and embitter, not inform. We are in a mess, something they were acquainted with as well.

“There is so much in the political world to wound honest men, who have honorable feelings, that I am disgusted with it and begin to see things, and indeed human nature, in a much more gloomy medium than I once thought possible.” Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall

What kind of nation, indeed? The question is once again before us. We are at a tipping point and seemingly without the kind of thoughtful reflection and dialog that served so well then. The two sides did not agree on much, and neither do we. But … they found a way, and that may be their biggest legacy, one we should not forget.

What Kind of Nation? by James F. Simon

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