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Discovering Jefferson's Words Along the Tidal Basin

Washington, DC
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."