Patriots Day: Thomas Jefferson

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Published by Anton Drexler in Hist



"Aware of the tendency of power to degenerate into abuse, the worthies of our country have secured its independence by the establishment of a Constitution and form of government for our nation, calculated to prevent as well as to correct abuse." --Thomas Jefferson to Washington Tammany Society, 1809. ME 16:346

"It is true, we are as yet secured against [tyrannical laws] by the spirit of the times... But is the spirit of the people an infallible, a permanent reliance? Is it government? Is this the kind of protection we receive in return for the rights we give up? Besides, the spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia, Q.XVII, 1782. ME 2:224

"[To establish republican government, it is necessary to] effect a constitution in which the will of the nation shall have an organized control over the actions of its government, and its citizens a regular protection against its oppressions." --Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1816. ME 19:240

"[The purpose of a written constitution is] to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIII, 1782. ME 2:178

"No interests are dearer to men than those which ought to be secured to them by their form of government, and none deserve better of them than those who contribute to the amelioration of that form." --Thomas Jefferson to M. Ruelle, 1809. ME 12:256

"A permanent constitution must be the work of quiet, leisure, much inquiry, and great deliberation." --Thomas Jefferson to A. Coray, 1823. ME 15:483

"Though written constitutions may be violated in moments of passion or delusion, yet they furnish a text to which those who are watchful may again rally and recall the people. They fix, too, for the people the principles of their political creed." --Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Priestley, 1802. ME 10:325

"I am persuaded no Constitution was ever before so well calculated as ours for extensive empire and self-government." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1809. ME 12:277

"[Ours is] a constitution of government destined to be the primitive and precious model of what is to change the condition of man over the globe." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1824. ME 16:26

"The authority of [the] people [is] a necessary foundation for a constitution." --Thomas Jefferson to John Hampden Pleasants, 1824. ME 16:28

Tags: Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father, USA, Patriot

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