First Inaugural (excerpt)

Thomas Jefferson

1801

Subjects: Thrift, Thrift Collection, Teaching thrift, Curricula, What is thrift?

More by: Thomas Jefferson

Let us, then, with courage and confidence, pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; too high-minded to endure the degradations of the others; possessing a chosen country, with room enough for our descendants to the thousandth and thousandth generation; entertaining a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisition of our own industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow citizens, resulting not from birth, but from our actions and their sense of them; enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced [sic] in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man and his greater happiness hereafter – with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens – a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.

Full text available online at: https://jeffersonpapers.princeton.edu/selected-documents/first-inaugural-address-0. Source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 33: 17 February to 30 April 1801. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006, pp. 134-52.

Follow

Institute for American Values, 420 Lexington Avenue, Room 1706, New York, NY 10170

212.246.3942