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August 26, 2008

What would Thomas Jefferson think of presidential politics today?

During his 1801 inaugural address, President Thomas Jefferson said, “Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.” Can the ideals that guided this founding father stand modern scrutiny? New from Colonial Williamsburg, “Jefferson’s Blog” at offers quotes from Mr. Jefferson’s writings for online discussion about the relevance of the third president’s ideas today.

Each week, a Jefferson quote, like the “difference of opinion” passage that serves for a theme, is posted, and visitors to the Web site are invited to share opinions on Jefferson's philosophies.

“This political blog has people talking,” said Robyn Eoff, director of Internet for Colonial Williamsburg. “Jefferson’s provocative words evoke passionate responses, and we’d like to think Jefferson would have approved of the spirited debate we’re encouraging.”

In advance of the 2008 election, teachers may want to suggest to their students that they participate in the blog just as citizens participated in lively debate in Jefferson’s day. Blog subjects have included thoughts on war, military draft, the meaning of the Constitution, resistance to authority and the accountability of public officials. Postings are anonymous and are monitored by Colonial Williamsburg’s Web team for appropriateness of language but not for opinion. Quotes from Jefferson’s writings will be added through the end of November’s presidential election month.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. “Revolutionary City®,” a dramatic live street theater presentation, is a 2008 Rand McNally Best-of-the-Road™ Editor’s Pick. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280