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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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8955. WAR OF 1812, Justifiable.—
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8955. WAR OF 1812, Justifiable.—

[Great Britain threw] down to us the gauntlet
of war or submission as the only alternatives.
We cannot blame the government for choosing
that of war, because certainly the great majority
of the nation thought it ought to be chosen, not
that they were to gain by it in dollars and
cents; all men know that war is a losing game
to both parties. But they know, also, that if
they did not resist encroachment at some point,
all will be taken from them, and that more
would then be lost even in dollars and cents by
submission than resistance. It is the case of
giving a part to save the whole, a limb to save
life. It is the melancholy law of human societies
to be compelled sometimes to choose a great
evil in order to ward off a greater; to deter their
neighbors from rapine by making it cost them
more than honest gains. * * * Had we
adopted the other alternative of submission,
no mortal can tell what the cost would have
been. I consider the war then as entirely justifiable
on our part, although I am still sensible
it is a deplorable misfortune to us.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vi, 399.
(M. Nov. 1814)