Thomas Jefferson Papers

Second Inaugural Address, Partial Draft, 4 March 1805

ca. 4 Mch. 1805

In the greatness of our country Middle, Southern, Westward the progress towards a final consolidn of sentiment in matters of government has reached that ultimate term beyond which perhaps it is not desirable it should extend. that there should be some difference of opn, some opponents to the prevailing one is certainly wholsome. they are as watchmen over every branch <department> of the government, and serving voluntarily & at their own expense, they are more active and less costly checks than any constitution can contrive: experience will convince them that false alarms cease to give alarm and that truth alone will have effect if left free then to exercise their office of [. . . .] they will become more useful in preserving purity of principle & of conduct in public offices, by dragging into light every departure from it than those who act with less suspicion tho’ with better intentions. In the other extremity of the union, the appoint division is never equal but it is apparent only, not real. they think [. . . .] with us in matters of govmt as we do, but are made to believe we do not think with them. facts however, will at length pierce thro’ the veil under which they are covered by men whose views are very different from theirs. they will at length see that their brethren who constitute the great majority of the nation wish to direct all their efforts to the improvement of our country & not to waste them in unnecessary wars; that they desire a govmt simple & attentive to it’s duties, not attemptive to impose on their minds by a pomp and splendour which they must pay for, but commanding respect & obedience by their integrity, their justice and the exact performance of their duties, that their objects are to pay our debts, to keep the public burthens at their minimum, not to feed idlers on the labor of others by creating useless offices, to have no order of men with privileges above others, to maintain equality of rights and that state of property equal or unequal which results to every man by his care and industry—, and to enforce vigorous observance of law and order. when these views are seen by them it is not in human nature that they should not approve & support them. in the mean time let us cherish them with affection & patience let us do them justice & may their justice in all capacities [. . . .] and we [. . . .] note that truth, reason & their own interest will at length prevail & will gather them into the fold of their country & will complete that union of opinion which gives to a nation the benefit of all it’s strength. in furthering these objects and such others for the public good as your wisdom shall propose, you may count on my zealous coopern.


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the progress towards a final consoldn of sentiment in matters of govmt in nearly the whole of the states the great mass of our union has reached that ultimate term beyond which perhaps it is not desireable it should extend. some opposition to the prevailing opinion by keeping it always at the bar of truth and reason may preserve it’s purity: the opponents will learn from experience that false alarms cease to give alarm, & that in performing their censorial functions truth alone will have effect. with this restraint and the use of a free press their [. . . .] of the public sents. may not be without use. in that portion of the union where the public opn is still divided the work of reunion is still advancing with a slow but steady pace. facts will in time pierce thro the veil drawn over them, and our brethern there will see that the mass of their fellow citizens from whom they keep aloof think as they think, and desire what they desire; that all our efforts shall be directed to the improvemet of our country not wasted in war & folly: that our governmt shall be simple, commanding respect by it’s attention to duty, & not by a pomp splendour which they must pay for; to pay the public debt; to keep the public burthens at their minimum; to maintain equality of rights & that state of property equal or unequal which results to every one from his care & industry, and to enforce a vigorous observence of law and order. when &c.


and in the remnant of the Union not yet entirely called to the same opn

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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