Thursday, June 24, 2010

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Current Administration

Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction; therefore you need to be reminded, because you have my Country on the road to ruin....

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government. It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world. Never spend your money before you have earned it. I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. The Republic will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements.Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?

In defense of our persons and properties under actual violation, we took up arms. When that violence shall be removed, when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, hostilities shall cease on our part also. The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own. Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits. To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it. (Addresses your Socialist programs and ideas!)

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.

The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. If not…And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Thomas Jefferson

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