C4.Jefferson-Constitutions

C4.Jefferson-Constitutions - Some Statements by Thomas...

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Some Statements by Thomas Jefferson on Written Constitutions From a letter to James Madison Paris, September 6, 1789 : On similar ground it may be proved that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation. They may manage it then, and what proceeds from it, as they please, during their usufruct. They are masters too of their own persons, and consequently may govern them as they please. But persons and property make the sum of the objects of government. The constitution and the laws of their predecessors extinguished them, in their natural course, with those whose will gave them being. This could preserve that being till it ceased to be itself, and no longer. Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19. years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force and not of right.” From a letter to Samuel Kercheval Monticello, July 12 1816: Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and to the men of the preceding age wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it, and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present, but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading; and this they would say themselves, were they to rise from the dead. I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2008 for the course HIS 167 taught by Professor Simura during the Spring '08 term at VCCS.

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C4.Jefferson-Constitutions - Some Statements by Thomas...

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