The distinction is an important one and is key to Meacham's characterization. The former Jefferson is some parts salesman and knucklehead, conveniently straying from principle through ignorance and intrigue; the latter is a wise statesmen, guided by principle, but flexible and creative, a man who "did what had to be done to preserve the possibility of republicanism and progress." Other creatures of the Enlightenment experimented in medicine, the sciences, mechanics, and agriculture. Though he dabbled in all, for Jefferson, the real science was political systems. These were the ultimate tools to "exert some power over the affairs of the world."