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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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8075. SPANISH AMERICA, Self-government and.—
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8075. SPANISH AMERICA, Self-government and.—

The Spanish-American countries
are beginning to be interesting to the
whole world. They are now becoming the
scenes of political revolution, to take their stations
as integral members of the great family
of nations. All are now in insurrection. In
several, the Independents are already triumphant,
and they will undoubtedly be so in all.
What kind of government will they establish?
How much liberty can they bear without intoxication?
Are their chiefs sufficiently enlightened
to form a well-guarded government,
and their people to watch their chiefs? Have
they mind enough to place their domesticated
Indians on a footing with the whites? All
these questions you [Baron Humboldt] can
answer better than any other. I imagine they
will copy our outlines of confederation and elective
government, abolish distinction of ranks,
bow the neck to their priests, and persevere in
intolerantism. Their greatest difficulty will be
in the construction of their executive. I suspect
that, regardless of the experiment of
France, and of that of the United States in
1784, they will begin with a directory, and when
the unavoidable schisms in that kind of executive
shall drive them to something else, their
great question will come on whether to substitute
an executive elective for years, for life,
or an hereditary one. But unless instruction
can be spread among them more rapidly than
experience promises, despotism may come upon
them before they are qualified to save the
ground they will have gained.—
To Baron von Humboldt. Washington ed. v, 580.
(M. April. 1811)