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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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7847. SHAYS'S REBELLION, The people and.—
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7847. SHAYS'S REBELLION, The people and.—

The interposition of the people
themselves on the side of the government has
had a great effect on the opinion here
[Europe]. I am persuaded myself that the
good sense of the people will always be found
to be the best army. They may be led astray
for a moment, but will soon correct themselves.
The people are the only censors of their governors;
and even their errors will tend to keep
these to the true principles of their institution.
To punish these errors too severely would be
to suppress the only safeguard of the public
liberty. The way to prevent these irregular
interpositions of the people is to give them full
information of their affairs through the channels
of the public papers, and to contrive that
those papers should penetrate the whole mass
of the people. The basis of our government being
the opinion of the people, the very first ob
ject should be to keep that right; and were it
left to me to decide whether we should have a
government without newspapers, or newspapers
without a government, I should not hesitate a
moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean
that every man should receive those papers,
and be capable of reading them.—
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 99. Ford ed., iv, 359.
(P. 1787)