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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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2927. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, Principles of.—
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2927. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, Principles of.—

About to enter, fellow citizens, on
the exercise of duties which comprehend
everything dear and valuable to you, it is
proper that you should understand what I
deem the essential principles of our government,
and consequently those which ought
to shape its administration. I will compress
them within the narrowest compass they will
bear, stating the general principle, but not
all its limitations. Equal and exact justice
to all men, of whatever state or persuasion,
religious or political; peace, commerce and
honest friendship with all nations, entangling
alliances with none; the support of the State
governments in all their rights, as the most
competent administrations for our domestic
concerns, and the surest bulwark against antirepublican
tendencies; the preservation of the
General Government in its whole constitutional
vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace
at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of
the right of election by the people—a mild
and safe corrective of abuses, which are lopped
by the sword of revolution, where peaceable
remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence
in the decisions of the majority—the
vital principle of republics, from which there
is no appeal but to force, the vital principle
and immediate parent of despotism; a welldisciplined
militia—our best reliance in peace
and for the first moments of war, till regulars
may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil
over the military authority; economy in the
public expense, that labor may be lightly
burdened; the honest payment of our debts
and sacred preservation of the public faith;
encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce
as its handmaid: the diffusion of information


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and the arraignment of all abuses at the bar of public reason; freedom of religion;
freedom of the press: freedom of person,
under the protection of the habeas corpus;
and trial by juries impartially selected.
These principles form the bright constellation
which has gone before us, and guided our
steps through an age of revolution and reformation.
The wisdom of our sages and the
blood of our heroes have been devoted to their
attainment. They should be the creed of our
political faith; the text of civil instruction;
the touchstone by which to try the services
of those we trust; and should we wander
from them in moments of error or alarm, let
us hasten to retrace our steps, and to regain
the road which alone leads to peace, liberty,
and safety.—
First Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 4. Ford ed., viii, 4.