The Witherspoon Institute, Public Discourse, Aaron Alexander Zubia: In the interpretation of at least one of the Founders, Thomas Jefferson, American political institutions are not constructed to direct citizens toward virtue, but simply to direct them toward ease, convenience, and the satisfaction of desire. Jefferson attests to this Hobbesian aspect of the American regime in a series of letters he authored in praise of Epicureanism. Epicurean political theory of the sort that Hobbes proposed is a repudiation of the political priorities of other premodern philosophers, such as Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. Thus, by praising Epicureanism as the most rational system of ancient philosophy, Jefferson seems to contradict his assertion that the principles of the Declaration align with the ideas of Aristotle and Cicero. Full article is here.
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