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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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2835. EXPATRIATION, Assertion of the right.—
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2835. EXPATRIATION, Assertion of the right.—

Our ancestors, before their emigration
to America, were the free inhabitants
of the British dominions in Europe, and possessed
a right, which nature has given to all
men, of departing from the country in which
chance, not choice, has placed them, of going
in quest of new habitations, and of there establishing
new societies, under such laws and
regulations as, to them, shall seem most
likely to promote public happiness. Their
Saxon ancestors had, under this universal
law, in like manner, left their native wilds
and woods in the North of Europe, had possessed
themselves of the Island of Britain,
then less charged with inhabitants, and had
established there that system of laws which
has so long been the glory and protection of
that country. Nor was ever any claim of
superiority or dependence asserted over them
by that mother country from which they had
migrated; and were such a claim made, it
is believed his Majesty's subjects in Great
Britain have too firm a feeling of the rights
derived to them from their ancestors, to
bow down the sovereignty of their State before
such visionary pretensions. And it is
thought that no circumstance has occurred
to distinguish, materially, the British from
the Saxon emigration. [183]
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 125. Ford ed., i, 429.


Rayner in his Life of Jefferson (c. 3) says: “The
correct definition and answer of the great question
which formed the hinge of the American Revolution,
to wit, of the right of taxation without representation,
were original with Mr. Jefferson. He,
following out the right of expatriation into all its
legitimate consequences, advanced at once, to the
necessary conclusion, and the only one which he
deemed orthodox or tenable—that there was no
political connection whatever between the Parliament
of Great Britain and the Colonies: and consequently,
that it had no right to tax them in any case—not even for the regulation of commerce. The
other patriots, either not admitting the right of expatriation,
or, which is most likely, not having pursued
to the same extent, its necessary results, conceded
the authority of Parliament over the Colonies,
for the purposes of commercial regulation, though
not of raising revenue.”—Editor.