Thomas Jefferson Was Right About the Dangers of Consolidated Power

By: October 11, 2011

This is the fourth post in my continuing series on the Tea Party from a Christian perspective. My goal is to convince my spiritual brethren who are skeptical of our movement that they actually belong on its front lines. I believe an e-book (or a series of them) with the same goal would make a valuable addition to Voices of the Tea Party. This is merely one Tea Partier’s view on how our core principles relate to my faith.

Click here to read the previous post.


The U.S. Constitution institutes a weak Federal Government restrained by extensive checks and balances, because our founders knew that humans are naturally corruptible and those entrusted with centralized power will ultimately abuse it. Thomas Jefferson put it like this:

“I do verily believe that if the principle were to prevail of a common law being in force in the United States (which principle possesses the general government at once of all the powers of the state governments, and reduces us to a single consolidated government), it would become the most corrupt government on the earth.”

The Tea Party shares this view, which is a large part of why we work to advance constitutionally limited government. And as a Christian in the movement, my Biblical worldview aligns perfectly. In 1 Samuel 8, God’s people demanded he give them a king (even though God was already their King). He warned them, though, that an earthly king would rule over them with a heavy hand. But they ignored those warnings, and God ended up granting them their wish.

It was a disaster. Almost every king over the Israelite people ended up being corrupt, and even those few that were considered good overall had their contemptible moments. David, for example, was called “a man after God’s own heart,” yet he still abused his position of power to commit adultery and murder at one point. This illustrates the dangers of consolidated power in a fallen world when even someone considered to be one of the great pillars of faith in the history of the world can be seduced by his authoritative position into committing the most atrocious acts of evil.

So when President Obama speaks publicly about being tempted to bypass Congress and pass his own laws (in other words, become a dictator) while his audience chants, “Yes, you can!”, Christians should stand with the Tea Party in shouting back, “No, you can’t!” Because if King David was corrupted enough by power to cheat and murder, imagine what King Obama would be capable of.

Jon Wakefield is a leader of the Richmond, Virginia Tea Party. His novel, Fatal Reality,  will be released on November 21st.

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