Thomas Jefferson's name gets thrown around quite a bit these days by the Tea Partisans, which is a good thing.
A populist movement of the right or the left that neglected Jefferson, the most radical of the first presidents, would be a sorry affair indeed.
Jefferson's distrust of concentrated and consolidated power was such that he left a legacy for any and every dissenter against the state.
But Jefferson did not stop there.
He was, as well, a relentless critic of the monopolizing of economic power by banks, corporations and those who put their faith in what the third president referred to as "the selfish spirit of commerce (that) knows no country, and feels no passion or principle but that of gain.
Jefferson might not have wanted a lot of government, but he wanted enough government to assert the sovereignty of citizens over corporations. To his view, nothing was more important to the health of the republic.
In the early years of the 19th century, as banks and corporations began to flex their political muscles, he announced that: “I hope we shall crush… in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
There are those who would have us believe that the founders intended for corporations to control our elections – and, tragically, five of these Tories sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, where they recently ruled that the nation’s biggest businesses may spend whatever they like to buy the results that best serve their bottom lines.
The better angels among the founders would be aghast.