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"Wisely, conservatives are looking back to the prudential statesmanship of Jefferson, Hamilton, Taft, and Reagan to craft an economic agenda that strengthens the American nation, families, industry, and entrepreneurs."

On the subject of political economy, Thomas Jefferson, the Sage of Monticello and defender of agrarian republicanism, famously wrote: “The maxim to be applied will depend on the circumstance which then shall exist. For in so complicated a science as political economy, no one axiom can be laid down as wise and expedient for all times and circumstances.”

Indeed, Mr. Jefferson lived by that mantra. A vocal and vociferous critique of Alexander Hamilton’s economic designs during the Washington administration, he did an about-face later in life after learning hard lessons in dealing with the British.

In an 1816 letter to Benjamin Austin, he refutes those contemporaries who would use his earlier writings as a proof text to “continue our dependence on England for manufactures,” lamenting that the circumstances have changed dramatically over the past 30 years and that the arguments of his critics were nothing more than a “stalking horse to cover their disloyal propensities to keep us in eternal vassalage to a foreign & unfriendly people.”

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