On This Day in History: September 27, 

2019May God Bless and Save the United States of America – Our Constitutional Republic !

#3D – Where Is the Spirit of 1776?

It is the year of our Lord Twenty Twenty and of the United States of America the Two Hundred Forty-four. We the People have seemingly lost our way. Where is the fervor and zeal of our Founding Fathers and those of our ancestors who established our Constitutional Republic as a bastion of Liberty? We the People need to reflect upon the Words of Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and Third President of the United States of America.

This post contains Post-Presidency quotes.

The freedom and happiness of man…[are] the sole objects of all legitimate government. (Letter to Thaddeus Kosciusko, 1810)

In times of peace the people look most to their representatives; but in war, to the executive solely. (Letter to Caeser Rodney, February 10, 1810)

If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check. (Letter to William Duane, 1811)

[The people] are in truth the only legitimate proprietors of the soil and government. (Letter to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1813)

An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens….There has never been a moment of my life in which I should have relinquished for it the enjoyments of my family, my farm, my friends & books. (Letter to John Melish, January 13, 1813)

It is a wise rule and should be fundamental in a government disposed to cherish its credit, and at the same time to restrain the use of it within the limits of its faculties, “never to borrow a dollar without laying a tax in the same instant for paying the interest annually, and the principal within a given term; and to consider that tax as pledged to the creditors on the public faith.” (Letter to John Wayles Eppes, June 24, 1813)

Taxes should be continued by annual or biennial reeactments, because a constant hold, by the nation, of the strings of the public purse is a salutary restraint from which an honest government ought not wish, nor a corrupt one to be permitted, to be free. (Letter to John Wayles Eppes, June 24, 1813)

For I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents. (October 28, 1813)

His was the singular destiny and merit, of leading the armies of his country successfully through an arduous war, for the establishment of its independence; of conducting its councils through the birth of a government, new in its forms and principles, until it had settled down into a quite and orderly train; and of scrupulously obeying the laws through the whole of his career, civil and military, of which the history of the world furnishes no other example. (On George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814)

Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed. (On George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814)

On the whole, his character was, in its mass, perfect, in nothing bad, in few points indifferent; and it may truly be said, that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great, and to place him in the same constellation with whatever worthies have merited from man an everlasting remembrance. (On George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814)

Although in the circle of his friends, where he might be unreserved with safety, he took a free share in conversation his colloquial talents were not above mediocrity, possessing neither copiousness of ideas, nor fluency of words. In public, when called on for a sudden opinion, he was unready, short and embarrassed. (On George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814)

His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man. (On George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814)

His mind was great and powerful, without being of the very first order; his penetration strong, though not so acute as that of Newton, Bacon, or Locke; and as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder. (On George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814)

His person, you know, was fine, his stature exactly what one would wish, his deportment easy, erect and noble. (On George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814)

The love of justice and the love of country plead equally the cause of these people, and it is a moral reproach to us that they should have pleaded it so long in vain. (Letter to Edward Coles, August 25, 1814)

I had always hoped that the younger generation receiving their early impressions after the flame of liberty had been kindled in every breast…would have sympathized with oppression wherever found, and proved their love of liberty beyond their own share of it. (Letter to Edward Coles, August 25, 1814)

Although a republican government is slow to move, yet when once in motion, its momentum becomes irresistible. (Letter to Francis C. Gray, 1815)

The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all citizens. (Note in Destutt de Tracy, 1816)

Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe. (Letter to Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816)

If a nation expects to be ignorant — and free — in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. (Letter to Colonel Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816)

To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it. (Letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816)

For example. If the system be established on basis of Income, and his just proportion on that scale has been already drawn from every one, to step into the field of Consumption, and tax special articles in that, as broadcloth or homespun, wine or whiskey, a coach or a wagon, is doubly taxing the same article. For that portion of Income with which these articles are purchased, having already paid its tax as Income, to pay another tax on the thing it purchased, is paying twice for the same thing; it is an aggrievance on the citizens who use these articles in exoneration of those who do not, contrary to the most sacred of the duties of a government, to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens. (Letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816)

Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. (Letter to Dupont de Nemours, April 24, 1816)

If, then, the control of the people over the organs of their government be the measure of its republicanism, and I confess I know no other measure, it must be agreed that our governments have much less of republicanism than ought to have been expected; in other words, that the people have less regular control over their agents, than their rights and their interests require. (Letter to John Taylor, May 28, 1816)

The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale. (Letter to John Taylor, May 28, 1816)

We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. (Letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816)

Men of energy of character must have enemies; because there are two sides to every question, and taking one with decision, and acting on it with effect, those who take the other will of course be hostile in proportion as they feel that effect. (December 21, 1817)

My construction of the constitution is very different from that you quote. It is that each department is truly independent of the others, and has an equal right to decide for itself what is the meaning of the constitution in the cases submitted to its action; and especially, where it is to act ultimately and without appeal. (Letter to Samuel Adams Wells, May 12, 1819)

The Constitution… is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please. (Letter to Judge Spencer Roane, September 6, 1819)

I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power. (Letter to William Charles Jarvis, September 28, 1820)

The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave. (Letter to Richard Rush, October 20, 1820)

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 co-ordination of a general and special government to a general and supreme one alone. (Letter to Thomas Ritchie, December 25, 1820)

A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone, is a good thing; but independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government. (Letter to Thomas Ritchie, December 25, 1820)

If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send 150 lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, & talk by the hour? That 150 lawyers should do business together ought not to be expected. (Autobiography, 1821)

Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread. (Autobiography, 1821)

The great object of my fear is the federal judiciary. That body, like gravity, ever acting, with noiseless foot, and unalarming advance, gaining ground step by step, and holding what it gains, is engulfing insidiously the special governments into the jaws of that which feeds them. (Letter to Judge Spencer Roane, Mar 9, 1821)

The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife. (Letter to Spencer Roane, March 9, 1821)

The Declaration of Independence… [is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man. (Letter to Samuel Adams Wells, May 12, 1821)

The germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal judiciary; an irresponsible body, (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow) working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all be consolidated into one. (Letter to Charles Hammond, Aug 18, 1821)

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. (Letter to Charles Hammond, August 18, 1821)

T]he flames kindled on the 4 of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them. (September 12, 1821)

I will not believe our labors are lost. I shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on a steady advance. (September 12, 1821)

A rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive. (Letter to Lafayette, 1823)

Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure. (Letter to William Johnson, 1823)

The ultimate arbiter is the people of the Union. (Letter to William Johnson, 1823)

On every question of construction carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and 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 passed. (Letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823)

The States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore… never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market. (Letter to Judge William Johnson, June 12, 1823)

To preserve the republican form and principles of our Constitution and cleave to the salutary distribution of powers which that [the Constitution] has established… are the two sheet anchors of our Union. If driven from either, we shall be in danger of foundering. (Letter to Judge William Johnson, June 12, 1823)

It is the duty of every good citizen to use all the opportunities which occur to him, for preserving documents relating to the history of our country. (Letter to Hugh P. Taylor, October 4, 1823)

Whatever enables us to go to war, secures our peace. (Letter to James Monroe, October 24, 1823)

At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little and little, the foundations of the constitution, and working its change by construction, before any one has perceived that that invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account. (Letter to Monsieur A. Coray, Oct 31, 1823)

The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves in all cases to which they think themselves competent, or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press. (Letter to John Cartwright, 1824)

I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. (Letter to William Ludlow, September 6, 1824)

His temper was excellent, and he generally observed decorum in debate. On one or two occasions I have seen him angry, and his anger was terrible; those who witnessed it, were not disposed to rouse it again. (On Patrick Henry, December, 1824)

Love your neighbor as yourself and your country more than yourself. (Letter to Thomas Jefferson Smith, February 21, 1825)

This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The writer will be in the grave before you can weigh its counsels. Your affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would address to you something which might possibly have a favorable influence on the course of life you have to run; and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that course. Few words will be necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which you have entered be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. Farewell. (Letter to Thomas Jefferson Smith, February 21, 1825)

This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. (Letter to Henry Lee, May 8, 1825)

One single object… [will merit] the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation. (Letter to Edward Livingston, March 25, 1825)

All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride legitimately, by the grace of God. )Letter to Roger C. Weightman, June 24, 1826)

Is it the Fourth? (Evening July 3; Jefferson died the next morning, July 4, 1826)

May God Bless and Save the United States of America —
Our Constitutional Republic !