Jefferson Constitution Quotes

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Jefferson Constitution Quotes

Jefferson feared that Hamilton had plans radically at odds with the Constitution. As he saw it, Hamilton wanted to warp the federal government out of constitutional shape, converting it into a copy of the British government, built on debt, corruption, and influence. Hamiltons goal, Jefferson charged, was to ally the rich and well born with the government at the peoples expense, creating a corrupt aristocracy leagued with the government against the people and destroying the virtue that was the basis of republican government. Only a republic could preserve liberty, Jefferson insisted, and only virtue among the people could preserve a republic.
— R.B. Bernstein —

Both Jefferson and Madison remained convinced to the end of their lives that all parts of America's government had equal authority to interpret the fundamental law of the Constitution-all departments had what Madison called a concurrent right to expound the constitution.

— Gordon S. Wood

Our adversaries [ the Confederate States of America ] have adopted some declarations of independence in which, unlike the good old one penned by Jefferson, they omit the words "all men are created equal." Why? They have adopted a temporary national constitution, in the preamble of which, unlike our good old one, signed by Washington, they omit "We, the People," and substitute "We, the deputies of the sovereign and independent States." Why? Why this deliberate pressing out of view, the rights of men, and the authority of the people?

— Abraham Lincoln

Jefferson, though the secret vote was still unknown at the time had at least a foreboding of how dangerous it might be to allow the people to share a public power without providing them at the same time with more public space than the ballot box and with more opportunity to make their voices heard in public than on election day. What he perceived to be the mortal danger to the republic was that the Constitution had given all power to the citizens, without giving them the opportunity of being citizens and of acting as citizens.

— Hannah Arendt

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