"The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the States are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign affairs. Let the General Government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our General Government may be reduced to a very simple organization, and a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants."
by:
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Source:
March 1800
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Mike, Norwalk      
 -- Anonymous      
Everyone should know and understand this. Unfortunately, few seem to.
 -- Cogitator     
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    Gee, that's exactly what a Libertarian will tell you too. Smaller Government...what a concept.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Many complain about the size of government without really thinking about it. For example the Treasury Dept is approx. 130,000 persons of which the IRS is approx. 90,000. Some think this is large. If you consider that the largest banks in the country have over 100,000 employees and, that thier are hundreds of banks the size of the government, government size pales beside that of the banking industry. Take this analysis to every industry such as auto, oil, etcetera and government does not appear to be so big. The view that government is big is also predicated upon the fact that we all are stock holders if you will in the government. We all have a right to have a say and a right to know what is going on. We have no such right (unless we own common stock) in reference to corporations big or small. If people could constanly harp about the management or mismanagement of Ford, GM, Bank of America etcetera we would have a much bigger field day than we already do with our governments.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Waff, you did it again. There is a BIG difference between Ford, Bank of America, GM and the federal government. If Ford or any company is mismanaged , the company will eventually go out of business or it's management is fired and new people take over. The government has no such problem. when one of it's many bureaus is a failure, as most are, no problem, just raise their budget and send them more money. Your analogy is nonsense, no surprise here.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    "Let the General Government be reduced to foreign concerns only,"- if only. Then the people could go to the different states that they liked the laws of. They could "vote with their feet", in the free market competion of state laws.
     -- Chris, Durham     
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     -- Chris, Durham      
    Interesting idea Chris.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Chris has got it right -- that was the intent of a 'federal' government rather than a 'national' one. Obvioulsy, the federal government must be the most powerful corporation in America -- that doesn't mean it can't be frugal. If you think the IRS is frugal, or any other agency for that matter, then you obviously have never worked for a government agency. The 'true theory' of the Constitution is still unfortunately only theory.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Industry produces money, and pays for itself. Government is a leach that drains the public funds. Big difference.
     -- Ken, Milford Pa.     
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    Historical industry has succeed by welfare from the people and their government. Wide tracts of land were given to the railroads. Massive highways were built at public expense so that car makers could make a profit selling cars. Industry has been polluting the peoples rivers, lakes and streams since the founding of the nation. The micro economy of industry cares only about their stock holders and to hell with the rest of us. Thank got for the united people and their government which has given us clean air, cleaner water etcetera. We would otherwise be poisoned by American Greed.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Your point on industry being dirty and not caring about anyone else is right on. You get no argument from me on that point.
     -- Ken, Milford Pa     
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     -- warren, olathe      
    Waffler, you can't compare the federal government to a business. Nobody can force you to buy a car, but government is nothing BUT force.
     -- Tommy J, Indianapolis     
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     -- Mark R, Butler, Pa      
    Waffler. When Jefferson said this, he was not reffering to the number of people the government employed or the amount of money handled(Which is far more than any company in the world.) He was talking about the umbrella of government influence. He believed, as many people today do, that our government should infringe on the people the least amount possible without jepordizing the "inalienable rights of man". To compare the federal government to any company is naive. As Tommy J says, government is force. No company can tell me what to drive or how much to pay for energy and by Thomas Jefferson himself, government should never have that ability either.
     -- Nick C, Port Arthur, TX     
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    The states have been reduced to simple beggars at the coffers of the fed in this recent economic downturn - which in itself was largely caused by the federal governments official policy of "a home for every man - whether he can afford it or not". A new party should be formed - The States Rights Party - with a simple mission of reducing the size and scope of federal authority, and retaking the rights of the states as the founding fathers envisioned.
     -- Curt B, Fort Collins, CO     
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    Thomas Jefferson, one of our great founders of the “ORIGINAL CONSITITUTION” and “BILL OF RIGHTS”…..You know….the Constitution OUR GOVERNMENT choses Not Obey…. Here is what Mr. Jefferson had to say about BANKS and CORPORATIONS: “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."... See More Thomas Jefferson 1802 So, If I understand this ...... Mr. Jefferson was against "Privatization" of Banks? Knowing that the Private Banks and Corporations were going to be the ones who ultimately destroyed our Nation, and our Citizens lively hood? Or was Mr. Jefferson totally OFF BASE....??? I don't think so.
     -- "Radicalrick", Detroit     
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    Right on, Radicalrick.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    I consider this a good definition of a 'republican form of government.'
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Waffler, your employer, the IRS is not part of the U.S. treasury. It is an alien ? (once a corporation, now just a demonic usurper) If the second plank of the communist manifesto were removed, so as to lesson the slavery enforced by the federal theocracy, government would shrink. Read the Constitution, if a specific duty, reference to a particular category, agency, department, etc. is not exclusively and precisely identified, it is contrary to the de jure body politic, law and order outlined by the Constitution. Any direct involvement or otherwise association with individual sovereigns (civil, criminal, regulatory or otherwise) by the States united's created principal (federal government) that is beyond the immediate outline of Constitutional order, is an usurpation, unlawful, unjust, immoral and criminal. Direct involvement with foreign countries, other than commerce (by way of example, policing the world, proselytizing - financing - training terrorists and creating wars and chaos are criminal acts of totalitarian despots) can not be found in writ or otherwise with in the body of the laws of nature and of nature's God. The occupying criminal police state, that statist theocracy infesting this land is to the extreme, antithetical to the true theory of our Constitution.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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     -- Mary - MI      
     
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