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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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486. ARISTOTLE, Writings of.—
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486. ARISTOTLE, Writings of.—

different was the style of society then, and
with those people, from what it is now and
with us, that I think little edification can be
obtained from their writings on the subject of
government. They had just ideas of the value
of personal liberty, but none at all of the
structure of government best calculated to
preserve it. They knew no medium between
a democracy (the only pure republic, but impracticable
beyond the limits of a town) and
an abandonment of themselves to an aristocracy,
or a tyranny independent of the people.
It seems not to have occurred that where the
citizens can not meet to transact their business
in person, they alone have the right to choose
the agents who shall transact it; and that in
this way a republican, or popular government,
of the second grade of purity, may be exer
cised over any extent of country. The full
experiment of a government, democratical,
but representative, was and is still reserved
for us. * * * The introduction of this new
principle of representative democracy has rendered
useless almost everything written before
on the structure of government; and, in a
great measure, relieves our regret, if the political
writings of Aristotle, or of any other
ancient, have been lost, or are unfaithfully
rendered or explained to us.—
To Isaac H. Tiffany. Washington ed. vii, 32.
(M. 1816)