"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual
debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude.
If we run into such
debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds... [we will] have no time to think,
no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by
hiringourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers...
And this is the tendency of all human governments.
A departure from principle in one instance
becomes a precedent for [another ]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression."Letter to Samuel Kercheval, Monticello, July 12, 1816
"On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." Thomas Jefferson, letter to Justice William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p 322.