Saturday, May 21, 2011

Frame of Reference Example

Several blogs ago, Frame of Reference was the topic.  I received an email from a friend about Thomas Jefferson.  It is such a good example of building a frame of reference that I thought it would be good to include it in this blog.
                              Who Was Thomas Jefferson?
Over the years the world has seen many brilliant people-and then there was Thomas Jefferson.  Here is a snapshot of his background.  Brilliant does not begin to describe him.
Thomas Jefferson was a very remarkable man who started learning very early in life, and never stopped...

  • At 5, began studying under his cousin's tutor.
  • At 9, studied Latin, Greek, and French
  • At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages.
  • At 16, entered the College of William and Mary.
  • At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.
  • At 23, started his own law practice.
  • At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.
  • At 31, wrote the widely circulated "Summary View of the Rights of British America" and retired from his law practice.
  • At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress.
  • At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence.
  • At 33 took three years to revise Virginia's legal code and wrote a Public Education Bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.
  • At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia succeeding Patrick Henry.
  • At 40, served in Congress for two years.
  • At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations with Ben Franklin and John Adams.
  • At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.
  • At 53, served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophic Society.
  • At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of Republican Party.
  • At 57, was elected the third president of the United States.
  • At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase doubling the nation's size.
  • At 61, was elected to a second term as President.
  • At 65, retired to Monticello.
  • At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.
  • At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president.
  • At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence along with John Adams.
Thomas Jefferson was the finest mind in the colonies, his "Frame of Reference was extensive.  How did he obtain such a frame of reference?  First, he was fortunate to come from the upper class and had time to read, take part,travel, use his mind, body and senses. When he looked at a situation, because he had worked so hard in his research, his frame of reference engulfed what ever he was receiving and he could weigh the strengths and weaknesses better than anyone, people relied upon his judgement. Jefferson amassed the largest "library" in the colonies( his library would later become the beginning of The Library of Congress)  Remember, books were expensive and hard to obtain.  A person of wealth could spend that kind of money and he had the time to read and strengthen his "Frame of Reference".
He also studied previous failed attempts at government.  He understood actual history, the nature of God,his laws and the nature of man. 
John F. Kennedy said it best:
He held a dinner in the White House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time.  He made this statement: "This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligent people ever to gather at one time in the White House, with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

Being a citizen in a democratic republic takes education, constant updating of knowledge, travel--America is beautiful, but it also has physical problems that it's citizens need to engulf, an active curiousity and the ability to get involved in civic events.  Learn to serve as a volunteer, join a service club,  group that helps the homeless , get to see all your neighbors.  There is much more, however this example of Thomas Jefferson shows you what made up his Frame of Reference--it took a great deal of work.  Are people going to rely upon your decisions?