Tag Archives: Obligations

“I’ll pay you back. Later. Really!”

Again suppose [French King] Louis XV … had said to the money lenders of Genoa, give us money that we may eat, drink, and be merry in our day; and on condition you will demand no interest till [our death and then] you shall then forever after receive an annual interest [from our successors] … The money is lent on these conditions, is divided among the living, eaten, drank, and squandered. Would the present generation be obliged to apply the produce of the earth and of their labour to replace their dissipations? Not at all.
To James Madison, September 6, 1789

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Honest leaders don’t bind future generations.
This comes from a long, complicated letter addressing the question whether the current generation can bind future ones. That binding could be through laws, a constitution, or debt.
In this excerpt, Jefferson suggested an outrageous scenario:
– Loan us money with no repayment during our lifetimes.
– We will spend that money on our own pleasure.
– When we die, our descendents will make exorbitant interest payments to you forever.

Would those descendents be obligated to repay? “Not at all,” said Jefferson.

Sound familiar? Are your children and grandchildren obligated to repay?

“Mr. Lee was able to engage the audience in remarkable ways.”
Program Coordinator, The Smithsonian Associates, Washington, D.C.

Invite Mr. Jefferson to engage your audience. They, too, will find him remarkable.
Schedule him today: 573-657-2739

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