"In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man,
but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
by:
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Source:
The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, adopted on November 10, 1798, as a protest against the Alien and Sedition Acts passed by Congress. Authored by Thomas Jefferson, but he did not make public the fact until years later.
https://jeffersonpapers.princeton.edu/selected-documents/resolutions-adopted-kentucky-general-assembly
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Miekol, Gold Coast Australia      
Thomas Jefferson was not only a thinker, he was an inspired tinker. Maybe, even God inspired, whatever God is.
 -- Anonymous     
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     -- Mike, Norwalk      
    Let there be no doubt -- the Constitution was written because our governors are NOT to be trusted -- end of story.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    The quote is good -- but I have to admit I personally don't know enough about the Constitution. It's not something that comes up in regular conversation either. I know a little about history, and I understand that the people who lived during the founding period of the U.S. were much more involved in political discussion and debate. It is rare to find someone nowadays who really enjoys that. Some people have opinions, but don't have any skill in discussion. They think that "argue" means to quarrel or bicker or shout. I wish it still meant to "reason".
     -- Victor, Southern Utah     
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    E Archer is correct; we named what "organized" government may not do and not what they can do. It is an actual trust issue. "You can" is the law but "you may" is the point of law thus the mobsters know exactly what they can but may not do. Of course I also said we do not rule by a majority but rule by a majority of those who participate thus a Constitution does you no good if only crooks participate. It's supposed to be inherent: you cannot be an actual crook and live out the law as real or then you would not be a crook, would you? Therefore we must now be a nation of those who cast criminal votes. Franklin too is correct: Who cares if one person or a thousand persons rob you or even if 300 million rob you as whether they conspire together or alone it is still robbery and it is still mob rule. Referring to it as "mischief" is my mistake.
     -- T. Jefferson, Neptune Beach, FL     
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    A great man.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    I would like to know the source of the quotation so that I can study its context and intent. I am uncertain of Jefferson's use of the terms 'mischief' and 'chains". Kindly provide.
     -- George, Montreal     
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    Thomas Jefferson embraced and stood in one accord with the apostle Paul who wrote II Timothy 2:15, those 13 letters which give us the sound Doctrine of Liberty and Freedom from bondage and tyranny. "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Things that are different are not the same ! Which by the way Christian socialist pervert in saying the bondage is vice rather than the truth concerning slavery, liberty and freedom. WAKE UP PATRIOTS OF LIBERTY AND FREEDOM IN AMERICA AND WORLD WIDE !! WAKE UP, THE LIGHT IS SHINING BRIGHT.
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
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    In a day of the abject absence of moral authority from our supposed governors, an unholy day in which a rogue Federal Government exists to wantonly subsidize sloth, immorality, irresponsibility and base government dependency, at the top and the bottom of society, who will uphold the Constitution?

    It is only Sovereign Individuals, they who have a true faculty for self government, who so revere the Constitution as to regard themselves as being under the most solemn of obligations to endeavor to uphold it.

    As John Adams expressed it:

    " The Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."


     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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    I like John Adams but he did not like the freedom of the press. He jailed editors of papers for saying unkind things about him. He considered it an act of sedition.
     -- Warren, olathe     
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