Why is it good to bind men in chains?


The observations are but too just which are made in your friendly address on the origin & progress of those abuses of public confidence & power which have so often terminated in a suppression of the rights of the people, & the mere aggrandizement [made to appear greater] & emolument [enriching] of their oppressors. taught by these truths and aware of the tendency of power to degenerate into abuse, the worthies of our own Country have secured its independence by the establishment of a Constitution & form of Government for our nation calculated to prevent as well as to correct abuse.

Source: To the Washington City Tammany Society*, March 2, 1890

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

Honest leaders seek limitations to their authority.
This wordy and complicated excerpt, written two days before Jefferson left the Presidency, contains important observations about men and government:

Too much confidence in government officials leads to
– Too much power in their hands
– Their thinking more highly of themselves than they should
– Enriching themselves at public expense
– A suppression of the rights of the people

This “tendency of power to degenerate into abuse” inspired “the worthies of our own Country” (the founding fathers) to establish a government upon a Constitution.
– A Constitution is a “super law,” a law above all other laws, drafted by an assembly called for that purpose alone and adopted by considerably more than a mere majority of the states.
– Its purpose is to both prevent and correct abuses of power.

The post title is drawn from Jefferson’s draft of the Kentucky Resolutions, 1798. The answer to the question is because men cannot be trusted.

*Tammany Societies had their roots in early Pennsylvania and Delaware Chief Tammany. Originally, they envisioned a merging of European and American Indian cultures into a new and better one. The interesting letter from the Society to Jefferson was “styled” as if it were written by native Americans.


“It was heartening to see our members and guests
so engaged during your portrayal …”
Nevada Association of Counties
Thomas Jefferson will captivate and inspire your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739


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.

His business address is ThomasJeffersonLeadership.com.

Your comments