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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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9096. WESTERN TERRITORY, Division into States.—
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9096. WESTERN TERRITORY, Division into States.—

With respect to the new
States, were the question to stand simply in this
form: How may the ultramontane territory
be disposed of, so as to produce the greatest
and most immediate benefit to the inhabitants
of the maritime States of the Union? The plan
would be more plausible, of laying it off into
two or more States only. Even on this view,
however, there would still be something to be
said against it, which might render it at least
doubtful. But that is a question which good
faith forbids us to receive into discussion. This
requires us to state the question in its just
form: How may the territories of the Union
be disposed of, so as to produce the greatest
degree of happiness to their inhabitants? With
respect to the maritime States, little or nothing
remains to be done. With respect, then, to the
ultramontane States, will their inhabitants be
happiest, divided into States of thirty thousand
square miles, not quite as large as Pennsylvania,
or into States of one hundred and sixty thousand
square miles, each, that is to say, three
times as large as Virginia within the Alleghany?
They will not only be happier in States
of a moderate size, but it is the only way in
which they can exist as a regular Society. Considering
the American character in general,
that of those people particularly, and the energetic
nature of our governments, a State of
such extent as one hundred and sixty thousand
square miles, would soon crumble into little
ones. These are the circumstances which reduce
the Indians to such small societies. They
would produce an effect on our people, similar
to this. They would not be broken into such
small pieces, because they are more habituated
to subordination, and value more a government
of regular law. But you would surely reverse
the nature of things, in making small States
on the ocean, and large ones beyond the mountains.
If we could, in our consciences, say, that
great States beyond the mountains will make
the people happiest, we must still ask, whether
they will be contented to be laid off into large
States? They certainly will not: and, if they
decide to divide themselves, we are not able to
restrain them. They will end by separating
from our confederacy, and becoming its enemies.
We had better, then, look forward, and
see what will be the probable course of things.
This will surely be a division of that country
into States of a small, or, at most, of a moderate
size. If we lay them off into such, they will acquiesce;
and we shall have the advantage of
arranging them so as to produce the best combinations
of interest. What Congress has already
done in this matter is an argument the
more in favor of the revolt of those States
against a different arrangement, and of their
acquiescence under a continuance of that,
Upon this plan, we treat them as fellow citizens;
they will have a just share in their own
government; they will love us, and pride themselves
in an union with us. Upon the other,
we treat them as subjects; we govern them,
and not they themselves; they will abhor us as
masters, and break off from us in defiance. I
confess to you, that I can see no other turn that
these two plans would take. But I respect your
opinion, and your knowledge of the country
too much, to be ever confident in my own.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 587. Ford ed., iv, 246.
(P. 1786)