Manuscript/Mixed Material Image 3 of Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, March 15, 1789

About this Item

-vable into the first objection before stated. The jealousy of the subordinate governments is a precious reliance. But observe that those governments are only agents. They must have principles furnished them whereon to found their opposition. The declaration of rights will be the text whereby they will try all the acts of the federal government. In this view it is necessary to the federal government also; as by the same text they may try the opposition of the subordinate governments. 4. Experience proves the inefficacy of a bill of rights. True. But tho it is not absolutely efficacious under all circumstances, it is of great potency always, and rarely inefficacious. A brace the more will often keep up the building which would have fallen with that brace the less. There is a remarkable difference between the characters of the Inconveniences which attend a Declaration of rights, & those which attend the want of it. The inconveniences of the Declaration are that it may cramp government in it's useful exertions. But the evil of this is short-lived, trivial & reparable. The inconveniences of the want of a Declaration are permanent, afflicting & irreparable. They are in constant progression from bad to worse. The executive in our governments is not the sole, it is scarcely the principal object of my jealousy. The tyranny of the legislatures is the most formidable dread at present, and will be for long years. That of the executive will come in it's turn, but it will be at a remote period. I know there are some

About this Item

Title
Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, March 15, 1789
Created / Published
1789-03-15
Subject Headings
-  Correspondence
Genre
Correspondence
Call Number/Physical Location
series: Series 1: General Correspondence. 1651-1827
Microfilm Reel: 011
Source Collection
The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
Repository
Manuscript Division
Digital Id
http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mtj.mtjbib001586
Language
English
Online Format
image
online text
pdf
Original Format
manuscript/mixed material

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is providing access to The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress for noncommercial, educational and research purposes. While the Library is not aware of any copyrights or other rights associated with this Collection, the written permission of any copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for reproduction, distribution, or other use of any protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with the persons desiring to use the item.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.

The following items are included in this Collection with permission:

The essay "American Sphinx: The Contradictions of Thomas Jefferson" by Joseph J. Ellis was originally published in the November-December 1994 issue of Civilization: The Magazine of the Library of Congress and may not be reprinted in any other form or by any other source.

The essay "The Jamestown Records of the Virginia Company of London: A Conservator's Perspective" by Sylvia R. Albro and Holly H. Krueger was originally published in a slightly different form in Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of the Institute of Paper Conservation, 6-9 April 1997 and may not be reprinted in any other form or by any other source.

Rembrandt Peale's 1800 Thomas Jefferson portrait on the Thomas Jefferson Time Line is from the White House Collection, courtesy of the White House Historical Association.

The image of Thomas Jefferson on the home page is from a photomechanical print held in the Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs Division, Presidential File, and is a reproduction of the popular 1805 Rembrandt Peale portrait in the collection of the New-York Historical Society.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison. -03-15, 1789. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mtjbib001586/.

APA citation style:

(1789) Thomas Jefferson to James Madison. -03-15. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mtjbib001586/.

MLA citation style:

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison. -03-15, 1789. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/mtjbib001586/>.

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