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Quotations of Thomas Jefferson
"Of liberty I would say that...it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal. rights of others. I do not add within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of and individual."
"We think, in America, that it is necessary to introduce the people into every department of government, as far as they are capable of
exercising it, and that this is the only way to ensure a long continued and honest administration of its powers."
"(W)e have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. I believe it might be much simplified to the relief of those who maintain it." (Letter to W. Ludlow, 1824). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 161 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"...a wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned." (March 4, 1801 Conciliatory Address). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 43 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
BILL OF RIGHTS
"I have a right to nothing which another has a right to take away...a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general and particular; and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference." (Letter to James Madison, Paris, December 20, 1787).
"There are two amendments only which I am anxious for: 1. A bill of rights, which it is so much the interest of all to have that I conceive it must be yielded...2. The restoring of the principle of necessary rotation, particularly to the Senate and Presidency, but most of all to the last..." (Letter to Edward Carrington, Paris, May 27, 1788). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 138 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"I will now add what I do not like. First, the omission of a bill of rights providing clearly and without the aid of sophisms for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction against monopolies, the eternal and unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land and not by the law of nations." (Letter to James Madison, Paris, December 20, 1787). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 140 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
CENTRALIZATION (SEE ALSO: STATES' RIGHTS)
"My general plan would be to make the States one as to everything connected with foreign nations and several as to everything purely
domestic." (Letter to Edward Carrington, Paris, August 4, 1787). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 133 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"If ever this vast country is brought under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruption, indifferent and incapable of a wholesome care over so wide a spread of surface. This will not be borne, and you will have to choose between reform and revolution. If I know the spirit of this country, the one or the other is inevitable. Before the canker is become inveterate, before its venom has reached so much of the body politic as to get beyond control, remedy should be applied." (Letter to W.T. Barry, 1822). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 65-66 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated." (Letter to C. Hammond, 1821). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 163 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"(T)he way to have a good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many...What has destroyed liberty
and the rights of man in every government has ever existed under the Sun? The generalizing and the concentrating [of] all cares and powers
into one body." (Letter to Joseph C. Cabell, 1816). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 162 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens, and the same circumstance, by rendering direction impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder and waste. And I do verily believe, that if the principle were to prevail, of a common law being in force in the United States...it would become the most corrupt government on the earth..." (Letter to Gideon Granger, Monticello, August 13, 1800). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 97 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"(S)hould look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when corruption in this, as in the country from which we derive our origin, will have seized the heads of government, and be spread by them through the body of the people; when they will purchase the voices of the people, and make them pay the price."
CONSTITUTION (AS A COMPACT)
"When two parties make a compact, there results to each a power of compelling the other to execute it." (Letter to Edward Carrington,
Paris, August 4, 1787). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 133 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
CONSTITUTION (PURPOSE OF)
"(I)n questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution."
"Can one generation bind another, and all others, in succession forever? I think not. The Creator has made the earth for the living, not the dead. Rights and powers can only belong to persons, not to things, not to mere matter endowed with will...Nothing is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man." (Letter to John Cartwright, Monticello, June 5, 1824). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 162 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1787
"I am sorry they began their deliberations by so abominable a precedent as that of tying up the tongues of their members. Nothing can justify this example but the innocence of their intentions and ignorance of the value of public discussions. I have no doubt that all their other measures will be good and wise. It is really an assembly of demigods." (Letter to John Adams, Paris, August 30, 1787). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 136 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction." (Letter of September 7, 1803 to Wilson Cary Nicholas).
"No society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law." (Letter to James Madison, 1789). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 153 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"The functionaries of public power rarely strengthen in their dispositions to abridge it, and an unorganized call for timely amendment is not likely to prevail against an organized opposition to it. We are always told that things are going on well; Why change them? 'Chi sta bene, no si mueve,' said the Italian, 'let him who stands well, stand still.' This is true; and I verily believe they would go on well with us under an absolute monarch, while our present character remains, of order, industry and love of peace, and restrained as he would be, by the proper spirit of the people."
"Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the Ark of the Covenant, too sacred to be touched.
They ascribe to men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age
well; I belonged to it and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book reading; and this they would themselves say, were they to rise from the dead...Laws and institutions must go hand and hand with the progress of the human mind." (Letter to S. Kercheval, 1816). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 67 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"A generation may bind itself as long as its majority continues in life; when that has disappeared, another majority is in place, holds all the rights and powers their predecessors once held, and may change their laws and institutions to suit themselves. Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and inalienable rights of man." (Letter to J. Cartwright, 1824). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 68 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"I believe we may lessen the danger of buying and selling votes, by making the number of voters too great for any means of purchase. I
may further say that I have not observed men's honesty to increase with their riches." (Letter to J. Moor, 1800). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON
DEMOCRACY 165 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold of us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and claws after he shall have entered." (Notes on Virginia, Query XIIV). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 162 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"The whole art of government consists in being honest." VI WORKS, 186.
"We consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts." (Letter to ?, 1813). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 159 (S.
Padover Ed. 1953).
"I wish it were possible to (amend our) constitution with...an additional article taking from the federal government the power of borrowing." (Letter to John Taylor).
"The conclusion...is, that neither the representatives of a nation nor the whole nation itself assembled, can validly engage debts beyond what they may pay in their time, that is to say, within thirty-four years of the date of the engagement." (Letter to Madison, 1789). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 73 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"To make provision for the speedy payment of their foreign debts will be the first operation necessary. This will give them credit." (Letter to John Brown, Paris, May 26, 1788). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 139 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
DELEGATION OF POWER
"Our ancient laws expressly declare that those who are but delegates themselves shall not delegate to others powers which require judgment
and integrity in their exercise."
"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty." (Letter to Mazzei, 1796). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY
154 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"Ask finally whether peace is best preserved by giving energy to the government, or information to the people. This last is the most certain and the most legitimate engine of government. Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is in their best interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them. And it requires no very high degree of education to
convince them of this."
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost." (Letter to Dr. J. Currie, 1786).
THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 164 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
JUDGES (ELECTION OF)
"It has been thought that the people are not competent electors of judges learned in the law. But I do not know this to be true, and, if doubtful, we should follow principle." (Letter to S. Kercheval, 1816). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 62 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"The...question whether the judges are invested with exclusive authority to decide on the constitutionality of a law has been heretofore a subject of consideration with me in the exercise of official duties. Certainly there is not a word in the constitution which has given that power to them more than to the executive or legislative branches." (Letter to William Torrance, Monticello, June 11, 1815). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 151 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"The judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric. They are construing our constitution from a coordination of a general and special government to a general and supreme one alone. This will lay all things at their feet...We shall see if they are bold enough to take the daring stride their five lawyers have lately taken. If they do, then...I will say, that 'against this every man should raise his voice,' and more, should uplift his arm." (Letter to T. Ritchie, 1820). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 63 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"The great object of my fear is the Federal Judiciary. That body, like gravity, ever acting, with noiseless foot, and alarming advance...,is engulfing insidiously the special governments into the jaws of that which feeds them." (Letter to Judge Roan, 1812). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 152 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"The constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruption's of time and party, its members would become despots." (Letter to William C. Jarvis, Monticello, September 28, 1820). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 64
(S. Padover Ed. 1953).
JUDGES (LIMITED TERMS)
"(T)he best (remedy) I can devise would be to give future commissions to (federal) judges for six years with a re-appointability by the President with the approbation of both houses. If this would not be independence enough, I know not what would be..." (Letter to Pleasants, 1821). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 65 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"Let the future appointments of judges be for four or six years, and renewable by the President and Senate. This will bring their conduct, at regular periods, under revision and probation..We have erred in this point, by copying England, where certainly it is a good thing to have the judges independent of the King. But we have omitted to copy their caution also, which makes a judge removable by the address of both legislative Houses. That there should be public functionaries independent of the nation, whatever may be their demerit, is a solecism in a republic, of the first order of absurdity and inconsistency." (Letter to W.T. Barry, 1822). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 66 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
JURY (RIGHTS OF)
"It is left, therefore, to the juries, if they think the permanent judges are under any bias whatever in any cause, to take on themselves to judge the law as well as the fact. They never exercise this power but when they suspect partiality in the judges, and by the exercise of this power they have been the firmest bulwarks of English liberty." (Letter to Abbe Arnoux, Paris, July 19, 1789). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 89 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
JURY TRIAL (RIGHT TO)
"Trial by jury, I consider as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." (Letter to Thomas Paine, 1789). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 160 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"The execution of the laws is more important than the making of them." (Letter to Abbe Arnond, 1789). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 152 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"I love to see honest and honorable men at the helm, men who will not bend their politics to their purses, nor pursue measures by
which they may profit, and then profit by their measures."
"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it." (Letter to
A. Stuart, 1791). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 154 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"You are too well informed a politician, too good a judge of men, not to know that the ground of liberty is gained by inches, that we must be contented to secure what we can get from time to time, and eternally press forward for what is yet to get. It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good." (Letter to Ch. Clay, 1790). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 154 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." (Letter to Edward Carrington, Paris, May 27, 1788). THE NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS 105 (H. Rawson & M. Miner 1986).
"The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government." (Letter to B. Waring, 1801). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON
DEMOCRACY 161 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"No government can continue good, but under the control of the people." (Letter to Adams, 1819). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY
163 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and
wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories." (Notes on Virginia, Query 14). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 87 (S. Padover Ed.
"The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government." (Letter to B. Waring, 1801).
"If I could not go to heaven with but a party, I would not go there at all. Therefore, I am not of the party of federalists. But I am much further from that of the anti-federalists."
"Perfection in wisdom, as well as in integrity, is neither required nor expected in these agents (public servants). It belongs not to man. The wise know too well their weaknesses to assume infallibility; and he who knows most, knows best how little he knows."
"The people are not always well-informed, but is better that they have misconceptions that make them restless than that they be lethargic--for lethargy in the people means death for republics."
"The influence over government must be shared among all the people. If every individual which composes their mass participates of the
ultimate authority, the government will be safe, because the corrupting of the whole mass will exceed any private resources of wealth, and public ones cannot be provided but by levies on the people. In this case every man would have to pay his own price." (Notes on Virginia, Query XIV). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 92 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"No government can continue good but under the control of the people." (Letter to John Adams, Monticello, December 10, 1819). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 92 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories."
(Notes on Virginia, Query XIV).
"It is an axiom of my mind that our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves, and that, too, of the people with a certain degree of instruction. This is the business of the state to effect and on a general plan."
PRESS (FREEDOM OF THE)
"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost." (Letter to James Currie, 1786).
"No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free, no one ever will." (Letter to Washington, 1792). THOMAS
JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 93 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe." (Letter to Col. Yancey, 1816). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 89 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment,
but will soon correct themselves. The people are the only censors of their governors; and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution." (Letter to Carrington, 1787). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 92 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property." (Letter to Baron Humboldt).
REPUBLICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT
"The further the departure from direct and constant control by the citizens, the less has the government of the ingredient of republicanism..." (Letter to John Taylor, Monticello, May 28, 1816). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 51 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"My most earnest wish is to see the republican element of popular control pushed to the maximum of its practicable exercise. I shall then believe that our government may be pure and perpetual." (Letter to J. H. Tiffany, 1816). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 162 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"The spirit of 1776 is not dead. It had only been slumbering. The body of the American people is substantially republican." (Letter to Thomas Lomax, Monticello, March 12, 1799). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 78 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"It is a misnomer to call a government republican in which a branch of the supreme power is independent of the nation." (Letter to James Pleasants, Monticello, December 26, 1821). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 152 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"(W)e may say with truth and meaning, that governments are more or less republican, as they have more or less of the element of popular
election and control in their composition; and believing as I do, that the mass of the citizens is the safest depository of their own rights and especially that the evils flowing from the duperies of the people are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents, I am a friend to that composition of government which has in it the most of this ingredient." (Letter to John Taylor, Monticello, May 28, 1816). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 53 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"Were I to assign to this term a precise and definite idea, I would say, purely and simply, it means a government by its citizens in mass, acting directly and not personally, according to the rules established by the majority; and that every other government is more or less republican, in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of the direct action of the citizens." (Letter to John Taylor, Monticello, May 28, 1816). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 53 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"There are two subjects, indeed, which I shall claim a right to further as long as I breathe, the public education, and the subdivision of counties into wards. I consider the continuance of republican government as absolutely hanging on these two hooks."
"Debt and revolution are inseparable as cause and effect." (Letter to Samuel Smith, 1821). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 159 (S. Padover Ed. 1953)."
ROTATION IN OFFICE (REMOVAL)
"If a due participation of office is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be obtained? Those by death are few; by resignation, none." (Statement to New England Merchants, 1801). X WORLD'S BEST ORATIONS 299 (D. Brewer Ed. 1923).
"My principles, and those always received by the republicans, do not admit to removing any person from office merely for a difference of political opinion. Malversations in office, and the exerting of official influence to control the freedom of election are good causes for removal." (Letter to Dickinson, 1801). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 35 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"The present generation has the same right of self-government which the past one has exercised for itself." (Letter to John H. Pleasants,
Monticello, April 19, 1824). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 83 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"Every man, and every body of men on earth, possess the right of self-government. They receive it with their being from the hand of nature. Individuals exercise it by their single will--collections of men by that of their majority, for the law of the majority is the natural law of every society of men." (Cabinet Opinion, July 15, 1790). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 163 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive. It places the governors indeed more at their ease at the expense of the people. The late rebellion in Massachusetts has given much more alarm than I think it should have done. Calculate that one rebellion in thirteen States in the course of eleven years is but one for each State in a century and a half. No country should be so long without one. Nor will any degree of power in the hands of the government prevent insurrections. In England, where the hand of power is heavier than with us, there are seldom half a dozen years without an insurrection. In France, where it is still heavier but less despotic, as Montesquieu supposes, than in some other countries and where there are always two or three hundred thousand men ready to crush insurrections, there have been three in the course of the three years I have been here, in every one of which greater numbers were engaged than in Massachusetts." (Letter to James Madison, Paris,
December 20, 1787). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 67-68
(Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"And say, finally, whether peace is best preserved by giving energy to the government or information to the people. This last is the most legitimate engine of government. Educate and inform the whole mass of people. Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them. And it requires no very high degree of education to convince them of this. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." (Letter to James Madison, Paris, December 20, 1787). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS
JEFFERSON 68 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people, which produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government." (Letter to James Madison, Paris, January 30, 1787). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 67 (Dumbauld Ed.1955).
"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion [Shays's 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. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had thirteen States independent for eleven years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each State. What country ever before existed a century and a half without a rebellion. And what country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that the people preserve the spirit
of resistance? 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 nature manure. Our convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts, and on the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order." (Letter to Col. William S. Smith, Paris, November 13, 1787). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 68-69 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"Equal rights for all, special privileges for none." HOYT'S NEW CYCLOPEDIA OF PRACTICAL QUOTATIONS 675 (Kate Roberts Ed. 1922).
"[If the book] be false in its facts, disprove them; if false in its reasoning, refute it. But, for God's sake let us freely hear both sides." (Letter to Dufief, 1814). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 155 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
STATES' RIGHTS (SEE ALSO: CENTRALIZATION)
"(T)he States should be watchful to note every material usurpation on their rights; to denounce them as they occur in the most peremptory terms; to protest against them as wrongs to which our present submission shall be considered, not as acknowledgments or precedents of rights, but as a temporary yielding to the lesser evil, until their accumulation shall overweigh that of separation." (Letter to W.B. Giles, 1825). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 55 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"I consider the foundation of the constitution as laid on this ground--that all powers not delegated to the United States, by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, or to the people." (1791).
TRUST IN GOVERNMENT
"The sheep are happier of themselves, than under care of the wolves." (Notes of Virginia, 1787 Ed.). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 161 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"(C)onfidence is everywhere the parent of despotism--free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealously and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power..." THE COMPLETE
JEFFERSON 133 (1969) (Kentucky Resolution--Nov. 10, 1798).
"Experience has shewn that, even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be to illuminate, as far as practical, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts which history exhibiteth." CLAUDE BOWERS, THE YOUNG JEFFERSON 182-183 (1945).
TRUST IN PEOPLE
"Men by their constitution are naturally divided into two parties. 1. Those who fear and distrust the people and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2dly those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them therefore liberals and serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, republicans and federalists, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last appellation of aristocratics and democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all." (Letter to H. Lee, 1824). THOMAS JEFFERSON ON DEMOCRACY 42 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).
"When wrongs are pressed because it is believed that they will be borne; resistance becomes morality."
"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."
"I have sworn upon the alter of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." (Letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush,
Monticello, September 23, 1800). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 76 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955).
"Our maxim of that day  was, 'where annual election ends, tyranny begins.'" (Letter to Samuel Adams, 1800). THOMAS JEFFERSON
ON DEMOCRACY 169 (S. Padover Ed. 1953).