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Jefferson is often cited as an important figure in early American democracy. He envisioned democracy as an expression of society as a whole, and called for national self-determination, cultural uniformity, and education of all the people (or all the males, as he believed at the time). His emphasis on uniformity did not envision a multiracial republic in which some groups were not fully assimilated into the identical republican values. Historians have noted that Jefferson's philosophy of liberty help to shape American ideals. Jefferson believed that public education and a free press were essential to a democratic nation: "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free it expects what never was and never will be.... The people cannot be safe without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe."