Politics, Elections, & the Presidency: a Video Conversation with Thomas Jefferson
You told your friend James Monroe in 1808 that you “knew too well from experience the progress of political controversy….” Party spirit ran high in your day. At what point, if any, does the enthusiasm for partisan politics cross the line of healthy public debate and lose sight of important issues?

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Answer:
I have often said that I would go to hell and back for my nation, but if I could only get into heaven by way of a party, then I should not go to heaven at all. I think we should continually remind ourselves about the principles on which we have founded this nation. The principles of self-government are vested in the right of the individual to pursue his opinion freely. This is the first and foremost of our natural rights – that we might hold an opinion freely and freely express it.

And that secondly – as well a natural right – is to pursue a free and peaceable assembly in a collective debate of our various opinions and to continue to show ourselves as well the rest of the world that as Americans we can move forward through compromise and resolution for our common good.

So therefore I hope regardless of political party that we might continually look bipartisan in an effort to preserve our principles and as well our union.