University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
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.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
[Clear Hits]

expand sectionA. 
expand sectionB. 
expand sectionC. 
expand sectionD. 
expand sectionE. 
expand sectionF. 
collapse sectionG. 
expand sectionH. 
expand sectionI. 
expand sectionJ. 
expand sectionK. 
expand sectionL. 
expand sectionM. 
expand sectionN. 
expand sectionO. 
expand sectionP. 
expand sectionQ. 
expand sectionR. 
expand sectionS. 
expand sectionT. 
expand sectionU. 
expand sectionV. 
expand sectionW. 
expand sectionX. 
expand sectionY. 
expand sectionZ. 

expand section 
expand section 
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
[Clear Hits]

8837. VIRGINIA CONSTITUTION, Improvements on.—

The other States, who
successively formed constitutions for themselves
also, had the benefit of our ( Virginia's )
outline, and have made on it, doubtless,
successive improvements. One in the very
outset, and which has been adopted in every
subsequent constitution, was to lay its foundation
in the authority of the nation. To our
convention no special authority had been delegated
by the people to form a permanent
Constitution, over which their successors in
legislation should have no powers of alteration.
They had been elected for the ordinary
purposes of legislation only, and at a time
when the establishment of a new government
had not been proposed or contemplated. Although,
therefore, they gave to this act the
title of a Constitution, yet it could be no more
than an act of legislation subject, as their
other acts were, to alteration by their successors.
It has been said, indeed, that the
acquiescence of the people supplied the want
of original power. But it is a dangerous lesson
to say to them, “whenever your functionaries
exercise unlawful authority over you, if
you do not go into actual resistance, it will
be deemed acquiescence and confirmation”
How long had we acquiesced under usurpations
of the British parliament? Had that
confirmed them in right, and made our
revolution a wrong? Besides, no authority
has yet decided whether this resistance must
be instantaneous; when the right to resist
ceases, or whether it has yet ceased? Of
the twenty-four States now organized,
twenty-three have disapproved our doctrine
and example, and have deemed the authority
of their people a necessary foundation for
a constitution.—
To John Hambden Pleasants. Washington ed. vii, 344. Ford ed., x, 302.
(M. April. 1824)