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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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7297. REPUBLIC, Definition of.—[further continued].
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7297. REPUBLIC, Definition of.—[further continued].

If, then, the control of
the people over the organs of their government
be the measure of its republicanism,
and I confess I know no other measure, it
must be agreed that our governments have
much less of republicanism than ought to have
been expected; in other words, that the people
have less regular control over their agents
than their rights and their interests require.
And this I ascribe, not to any want of republican
dispositions in those who formed
these constitutions, but to a submission of
true principle to European authorities, to
speculators on government, whose fears of
the people have been inspired by the populace
of their own great cities, and were unjustly
entertained against the independent, the
happy, and, therefore, orderly citizens of the
United States. Much I apprehend that the
golden moment is past for reforming these
heresies. The functionaries of public power
rarely strengthen in their dispositions to
abridge it, and an unorganized call for timely
amendment is likely to prevail against an
organized opposition to it. We are told that
things are going on well; why change them?
Chi sta bene, non si muova,” said the
Italian, “let him who stands well, stand
still”. This is true; and I verily believe they
would go on well with us under an absolute
monarch, while our present character remains,
of order, industry and love of peace, and restrained,
as he would be, by the proper spirit
of the people. But it is while it remains such,
we should provide against the consequences
of its deterioration. And let us rest in the
hope that it will yet be done, and spare ourselves
the pain of evils which may never
To John Taylor. Washington ed. vi, 607. Ford ed., x, 30.
(M. 1816)