Extract from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Address at the Jackson Day Dinner

Thomas Jefferson is a hero to me despite the fact that the theories of the French Revolutionists at times overexcited his practical judgment. He is a hero because, in his many-sided genius, he too did the big job that then had to be done–to establish the new republic as a real democracy based on universal suffrage and the inalienable rights of man, instead of a restricted suffrage in the hands of a small oligarchy. Jefferson realized that if the people were free to get and discourse all the facts, their composite judgment would be better than the judgment of a self-perpetuating few. That is why I think of Jefferson as belonging to the rank and file of both major political parties today.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Address at Jackson Day Dinner,” 8 Jan. 1940. Published by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, eds., American Presidency Project (accessed 2014).
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Date Range
January 8, 1940
Quotes by and about Thomas Jefferson
American Presidency Project, Univ. of California-Santa Barbara