Extract from Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson

Monticello, June 12, 1823.

on every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, & instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was past.



Extract from Thomas Jefferson to the Tammany Society of Washington

March 2, 1809.

aware of the tendency of power to degenerate into abuse, the worthies of our own country have secured it’s independence by the establishment of a constitution & form of Government for our nation calculated to prevent as well as to correct abuse.


Extracts from Thomas Jefferson to H. Tompkinson(Samuel Kercheval)

Monticello July 12, 1816.

I am not among those who fear the people. they and not the rich, are our dependance for continued freedom. and to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt … if we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries & our comforts, in our labors & our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor 16. hours in the 24. give the earnings of 15. of these to the government for their debts and daily expences; and the 16th being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal & potatoes.