In correspondence with John Adams in the summer of 1816, Thomas Jefferson described his  "dreams of the future" using the following words: "bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. education & free discussion are the antidotes of both. we are destined to be a barrier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism. old Europe will have to lean on our shoulders, and to hobble along by our side, under the monkish trammels of priests & kings, as she can. what a Colossus shall we be when the Southern continent comes up to our mark! what a stand will it secure as a ralliance for the reason & freedom of the globe! I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. so good night! I will dream on, always fancying that mrs Adams and yourself are by my side marking the progress and the obliquities of ages and countries."[1]

Adams replied, "May We be 'a Barrier against the Returns of Ignorance and Barbarism'! 'What a Colossus Shall We be'! But will it not be of Brass Iron and Clay? Your Taste is judicious in likeing better the dreams of the Future, than the History of the Past. Upon this Principle I prophecy that you and I Shall Soon meet and be better Friends than ever."[2]

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  1. ^ Jefferson to Adams, August 1, 1816, in PTJ:RS, 10:285. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  2. ^ Adams to Jefferson, August 9, 1816, in PTJ:RS, 10:306-07. Transcription available at Founders Online.