Discovering Jefferson's Words Along the Tidal Basin
Jan. 20, 2013
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On Sunday afternoon, we walked around the Tidal Basin, visiting the
Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Roosevelt's Memorial, and the very new
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial -- which was packed, given that this
was the day before MLK Day and Obama's second inauguration.
Among everything we saw in DC, nothing made a greater impression on me
or seemed more important than this vision of an adaptable government,
from the author of the Declaration of Independence:
"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions.
But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the
human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new
discoveries are made, new truths are discovered and manners and opinions
change. With the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also
to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still
the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever
under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."