Extract from Carl Sagan’s Remarks at the Independence Day Ceremony at Monticello

Jefferson was a childhood hero of mine, not because of his science, but because he, more than anybody else, was responsible for the spread of democracy throughout the world. And the idea, breath-taking, radical, revolutionary at that time—and some places in the world, it still is today—is that not princes, not priests, not kinds, not big city bosses, not dictators, but the people are to rule. And not only was he a leading theoretician of this cause, he was involved in the most practical way, for the first time, bringing it about in the American experiment that has been copied, amplified, longed for, all over the world since.

Published in Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc., The Great Birthday of Our Republic: Celebrating Independence Day at Monticello (Charlottesville, 2003), 28.
Carl Sagan
Date Range
July 4, 1992
Quotes by and about Thomas Jefferson
Great Birthday of Our Republic, 28