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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.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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1579. CONGRESS, Reconsideration.—
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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1579. CONGRESS, Reconsideration.—

“How far” [you ask] “is it permitted to
bring on the reconsideration of a question
which Congress has once determined?” The
first Congress which met, being composed
mostly of persons who had been members of
the legislatures of their respective States, it
was natural for them to adopt those rules in
their proceedings to which they had been accustomed
in their legislative houses; and the
more so, as there happened to be nearly the
same, as having been copied from the same
original, those of the British Parliament.
One of these rules of proceeding was, that “a
question, once determined, cannot be proposed
a second time in the same session.” Congress,
during the first session, in the autumn
of 1774, observed this rule strictly. But before
their meeting in the spring of the following
year, the war had broken out. They
found themselves at the head of that war,
in an Executive as well as Legislative capacity.
They found that a rule, wise and
necessary for a legislative body, did not suit
an executive one, which, being governed by
events, must change their purposes, as those
change. Besides, their session was likely
then to become of equal duration with the
war; and a rule, which should render their
legislation immutable during all that period
could not be submitted to. They, therefore,
renounced it in practice, and have ever since
continued to reconsider their questions freely.
The only restraint as yet provided against
the abuse of this permission to reconsider, is
that when a question has been decided, it can


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not be proposed for reconsideration but by
some one who voted in favor of the former
decision, and declares that he has since
changed his opinion.—
Answers to M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 246. Ford ed., iv, 149.
(P. 1786)