Bingham on Jefferson

The other day I was reading John Bingham’s closing speech during Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial (Bingham was one of the House Managers) and came across this interesting passage about the relevance of Thomas Jefferson’s views for constitutional interpretation:

“I know well that he was not one of the framers of the Constitution. . . . He was a man, doubtless, of fine philosophic mind; he was a man of noble, patriotic impulse; he rendered great service to the country and deserves well of his countrymen, but he is not an authoritative exponent of the principles of your Constitution, and never was.”

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3 Responses

  1. Nero says:

    Yes, wasn’t Jefferson in France during the Constitutional Convention.

  2. Ken says:

    Right … and Einstein was not a participant in the Manhattan Project either, but I suspect he knew a thing or two about it.