"were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."
— Thomas Jefferson, 1787
This week we discuss the importance of a free press with President Jefferson.
On November 4, 1823 Thomas Jefferson wrote to Marquis de Lafayette that "the only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted, when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary to keep the waters pure."
In January of 1816 Jefferson wrote to Colonel Charles Yancey, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe."
Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.