To make them [senators] independent, I had proposed that they should hold their places for nine years, and then go out (one third every three years) and be incapable for ever of being re-elected to that house. My idea was that if they might be re-elected, they would be casting their eyes forward to the period of election (however distant) and be currying favor with the electors, and consequently dependent on them.
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Limiting leaders keeps them properly focused.
Written just seven weeks after declaring independence, Jefferson expressed the view that senators should be chosen by popularly-elected representatives and not by direct vote of the people. He would limit a senator’s service to one term of nine years with no possibility of re-election.
Why no re-election? It was to keep the senator’s eyes on the task of governing only and on the people he was elected to serve. If he could be re-elected, he would seek favor with representatives who chose him, becoming dependent on them, because they could choose him again.
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The Moral Liberal Thomas Jefferson Editor, Patrick Lee, is a professional speaker, actor and writer. Since 1990, he has inspired, entertained and educated audiences from Maine to Hawaii with his authentic, first person leadership presentations as President Thomas Jefferson, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, and Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William Clark. He also appears as himself, The Hopeful Humorist™, with a program of motivational humor, patriotism and inspiration.