Manuscript/Mixed Material Image 2 of Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, December 23, 1791

About this Item

-ments as it stands at present, and to take every prudent means of preventing either from stepping over it. Tho' the experiment has not yet had a long enough course to shew us from which quarter encroachments are most to be feared, yet it is easy to foresee from the nature of things that the encroachments of the state governments will tend to an excess of liberty which will correct itself (as in the late instance) while those of the general government will tend to monarchy, which will fortify itself from day to day, instead of working its own cure, as all experience shews. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. Then it is important to strengthen the state governments: and as this cannot be done by any change in the federal constitution, (for the preservation of that is all we need contend for,) it must be done by the states themselves, erecting such barriers at the constitutional line as cannot be surmounted either by themselves or by the general government. The only barrier in their power is a wise government. A weak one will lose ground in every contest. To obtain a wise & an able government, I consider the following changes as important. Render the legislature a desirable station by lessening the number of representatives (say to 100) and lengthening somewhat their term, and proportion them equally among the electors: adopt also a better mode of appointing Senators. Render

About this Item

Title
Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, December 23, 1791
Created / Published
1791-12-23
Subject Headings
-  Correspondence
Genre
Correspondence
Call Number/Physical Location
series: Series 1: General Correspondence. 1651-1827
Microfilm Reel: 015
Source Collection
The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
Repository
Manuscript Division
Digital Id
http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mtj.mtjbib005776
Language
English
Online Format
image
online text
pdf

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 Archibald Stuart. -12-23, 1791. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mtjbib005776/.

APA citation style:

(1791) Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart. -12-23. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mtjbib005776/.

MLA citation style:

Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart. -12-23, 1791. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/mtjbib005776/>.