The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


Our new Constitution is powerfully attacked in the American newspapers. The objections are, that its effect would be to form the thirteen States into one; that, proposing to melt all down into one general government, they have fenced the people by no declaration of rights; they have not renounced the power of keeping a standing army; they have not secured the liberty of the press; they have reserved the power of abolishing trials by jury in civil cases; they have proposed that the laws of the federal legislatures shall be paramount to the laws and constitutions of the States; they have abandoned rotation in office; and particularly, their President may be re-elected from four years to four years, for life, so as to render him a King for life, like a King of Poland; and they have not given him either the check or aid of a council. To these they add calculations of expense, etc., etc., to frighten the people. You will perceive that these objections are serious, and some of them not without foundation. The Constitution, however, has been received with a very general enthusiasm.

to William Carmichael, 11 December 1787