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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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2220. DICTATOR, Misapplied Precedent for.—
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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2220. DICTATOR, Misapplied Precedent for.—

Those who meant well, of the advocates
of this measure (and most of them
meant well, for I knew them personally, had
been their fellow-laborer in the common
cause, and had often proved the purity of
their principles), had been seduced in their
judgment by the example of an ancient republic,
whose constitution and circumstances
were fundamentally different. They had
sought this precedent in the history of Rome,
where alone it was to be found, and where at
length, too, it had proved fatal. They had
taken it from a republic rent by the most
bitter factions and tumults, where the government
was of a heavy-handed unfeeling aristocracy,
over a people ferocious and rendered
desperate by poverty and wretchedness; tumults
which could not be allayed under the
most trying circumstances, but by the omnipotent
hand of a single despot. Their constitution,
therefore, allowed a temporary tyrant
to be erected, under the name of a dic
tator; and that temporary tyrant, after a few
examples, became perpetual. They misapplied
this precedent to a people mild in their
dispositions, patient under their trial, united
for the public liberty, and affectionate to their
leaders. But if from the constitution of the
Roman government there resulted to their
senate a power of submitting all their rights
to the will of one man, does it follow that the
Assembly of Virginia have the same authority?
What clause in our Constitution has
substituted that of Rome, by way of residuary
provision, for all cases not otherwise provided
for? Or if they may step ad libitum into any other form of government for precedents
to rule us by, for what oppression May
not a precedent be found in this world of the
bellum omnium in omnia! Searching for the
foundations of this proposition, I can find
none which may pretend a color of right or
reason, but the defect * * * that there
being no barrier between the legislative, executive,
and judiciary departments, the Legislature
may seize the whole; that having
seized it and possessing a right to fix their
own quorum, they may reduce that quorum
to one, whom they may call a chairman,
speaker, dictator, or any other name they
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 370. Ford ed., iii, 234.