The Tea party and militias (including Tim Mcveigh) love this Thomas Jefferson quote:
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants
Jefferson was actually describing Shays' Rebellion, which was on the minds of the folks at the Constitutional Convention. Although Jefferson saw the short-lived uprising as ignorant people being whipped up, he still regarded them as patriotic, if not very bright.
I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all and always well-informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive..... Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon, and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Jefferson said rebellion sprouts among the ignorant, and the death of the occasional rebellious dingbat was also the price of liberty. He and several of the Founders also emphasized pardoning the rebels.
James Iredell picks up the theme of Shays' Rebellion, ignorance, and mercy
We have seen a happy instance of the good effect of such an exercise of mercy in the state of Massachusetts, where, very lately, there was so formidable an insurrection. I believe a great majority of the insurgents were drawn into it by false artifices. They at length saw their error, and were willing to disband. Government, by a wise exercise of lenity, after having shown its power, generally granted a pardon; and the whole party were dispersed. There is now as much peace in that country as in any state in the Union.
I'm sure there are more nuanced interpretations of Shays' Rebellion, which involved settlers being pushed off their land by real estate developers, currency speculators, lawyers, and corrupt judges.
But Jefferson's comments about these rebels-without-a-clue seems to have held up quite well. When today's armchair rebels use this Jefferson quote that describes them as ignorant and misinformed, they certainly seem to lack any sort of self awareness or even basic reading skills.
It really caught my eye over at RedState where they were having their monthly Civil War II circle jerk where they relive the trauma of school integration in Little Rock and fantasize about walling off the cities as if they were the Warsaw Ghetto. The writer used the Jefferson quote, and I said, wait, that guy just called himself an idiot. Not surprisingly, a similar lack of self awareness can be seen in the Paultards.