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Thomas Jefferson's Machiavellian Political Science

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2009

Extract

On the face of it, there would seem to be little evidence suggesting that the political science of Thomas Jefferson owed much, if anything, to the speculation of Niccolò Machiavelli. The Virginian appears to have mentioned the Florentine by name but once, and he did so in a manner conveying his disdain for the author of The Prince. And yet, as I try to show in this article, Jefferson's commitment to limited government, his advocacy of a politics of distrust, his eager embrace of a species of populism, his ultimate understanding of the executive power, and the intention guiding the comprehensive legislative program that he devised for Virginia make sense only when understood in terms of the new science of republican politics articulated by Machiavelli in his Discourses on Livy.

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Research Article
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Copyright © University of Notre Dame 1995

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References

I am indebted to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D. C, for their support and to Jean Yarbrough and Anthony Parel who were free with their criticism. The translations are my own. In citing passages from sources in English, I have retained the original grammar, spelling, and emphasis. Nicholas Paul and Rosalee Williams helped me check the notes.

1. See, for example, Letters to Robert Skip with on 3 August 1771, to Peter Carr on 19 August 1785 and 10 August 1787, to John Jefferson, Garland on 11 June 1790, in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Boyd, Julian P. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950-), 1: 7681Google Scholar, 8: 405–8,12:14–19, 16: 480–82. See also Letter to Minor, John on 30 August 1814 (with enclosure), in The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Ford, Paul Leicester (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 18921999), 9:480–85Google Scholar.

2. Letter to James Madison on 7 May 1784, in Boyd, , Papers, 7: 228.Google Scholar

3. On the argument that Machiavelli presents in these chapters, see Orwin, Clifford, “Machiavelli's Unchristian Charity,” American Political Science Review 72 (1978): 1217–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Cox, Richard H., “Aristotle and Machiavelli on Liberality,” in The Crisis of Liberal Democracy, ed. Deutsch, Kenneth L. and Soffer, Walter (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1987), pp. 125–47.Google Scholar

4. In this connection, see Machiavelli and Republicanism, ed. Bock, Gisela, Skinner, Quentin, and Viroli, Maurizio (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).Google Scholar

5. He owned Machiavelli's collected works in Italian and in an English translation: see Sowerby, E. Millicent, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983), nos. 169,1143,2324,2351–53, 4579.Google Scholar

6. Letter from Pio on 22 July 1791, in Boyd, , Papers, 20: 662–63.Google Scholar The original letter is in French.

7. See Kahn, Victoria, Machiavellian Rhetoric: From the Counter-Reformation to Milton (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

8. See Pocock, J. G. A., “Virtue and Commerce in the Eighteenth Century,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 3 (1972): 119–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar; The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975)Google Scholar; and “The Myth of John Locke and the Obsession with Liberalism,” in John Locke: Papers Read at a Clark Library Seminar, 10 12 1977, ed. Pocock, J. G. A. and Ashcraft, Richard (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1980), pp. 324.Google Scholar

9. For an extended analysis of the character of Anglo-American republican thought in the early modern period, see Rahe, Paul A., Republics Ancient and Modern II: New Modes and Orders in Early Modern Political Thought (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994).Google Scholar

10. Machiavelli, Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio 1. 6,37,2 Proemio, , in Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere, ed. Martelli, Mario (Florence: G. C. Sansoni, 1971), pp. 8687,119,145.Google Scholar

11. One should read Machiavelli, Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio 1.3, in Tutte le opere, pp. 81–82, in light of II principe 15, in Tutte le opere, p. 280.

12. Note Harrington, James, The Prerogative of Popular Government (1658), in Works: The Oceana and Other Works of James Harrington, ed. Toland, John (London: Printed for T. Becket, and T. Cadell, and T. Evans, 1771), p. 241Google Scholar, and see James Harrington's Oceana, ed. Liljegren, S. B. (Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1924), pp. 152, 155.Google Scholar

13. Cf. James Harrington's Oceana, p. 22, with Thomas Hobbes, Human Nature Ep. Ded., in The English Works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, ed. SirMolesworth, William (London: J. Bohn, 18391845), 4: xiiiGoogle Scholar, and with Hobbes, , Leviathan, ed. Macpherson, C. B. (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968), p. 166.Google Scholar

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15. The Farmer Refuted, &c, 23 February 1775, in The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Syrett, Harold C. (New York: Columbia University Press, 19611979), 1:9495Google Scholar.

16. Letter to Samuel Adams on 18 October 1790, in The Works of John Adams, ed. Adams, Charles Francis (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1850-1856), 6:415.Google Scholar

17. A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America (1787–88), Ibid., 4: 408–15 (with 556–58).

18. De Secondat, Charles, De La Bréde, BaronDe Montesquieu, Et, De I'esprit des lois 2.11.4, in Oeuvres complètes de Montesquieu, ed. Caillois, Roger (Paris: Gallimar 1949–51), 2: 395.Google Scholar

19. Hamilton, Alexander, Jay, John, and Madison, James, The Federalist, ed. Cooke, Jacob E. (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1961), p. 349 (No. 51).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

20. See Mayer, David N., The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994), pp. 53329 (esp. 70–74, 83–144,199–208,314–29).Google Scholar

21. Letter to Edward Carrington on 16 January 1787, in Boyd, , Papers, 11: 4850.Google Scholar Elsewhere, Jefferson employed the same metaphor to similar effect: see Jefferson, Thomas, Notes on the State of Virginia, ed. Peden, William (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1972), p. 93Google Scholar (Query XI); and Letter to James Madison on 30 January 1787, in Boyd, , Papers, 11: 9297 (at 93)Google Scholar.

22. Machiavelli, , Discorsi sopra la pritna deca di Tito Livio 1.4–5, in Tutte le opere, pp. 8284.Google Scholar See, in this connection, Skinner, Quentin, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978) I: The Renaissance pp. 180–86Google Scholar, and Machiavelli (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981), pp. 4877.Google Scholar For the ancient commitment to political and social harmony, see Rahe, Paul A., Republics Ancient and Modern I: The Ancien Régime in Classical Greece (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994).Google Scholar

23. Future discussions of Machiavelli's influence on Hobbes will have to begin with Three Discourses of Thomas Hobbes, ed. Reynolds, Noel B. and Saxonhouse, Arlen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).Google Scholar For a preview, see Reynolds, Noel B. and Hilton, John L., “Thomas Hobbes and Authorship of the Horae Subsecivae,” History of Political Thought 14 (1993): 361–79.Google Scholar

24. Consider Hobbes, , Leviathan, pp. 184–85Google Scholar, in light of Ibid., pp. 138–39; and for the distinction between “princes” and those “worthy to be such,” see Machiavelli, , Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio Ep. Ded, in Tutte le opere, p. 75.Google Scholar

25. Hobbes, , Leviathan, pp. 183251.Google Scholar

26. Harrington, , The Prerogative of Popular Government (1658), in Works, p. 241.Google Scholar In this connection, see Rahe, Paul A., “Antiquity Surpassed: The Repudiation of Classical Republicanism,” in Republicanism, Liberty, and Commercial Society, 1649–1776, ed. Wootton, David (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), pp. 233–69 (esp. 251–68).Google Scholar

27. See James Harrington's Oceana, pp. 30–32, 56, 185, and Harrington, The Prerogative of Popular Government (1658), The Art of Lawgiving (1659), A System of Politics, Political Aphorisms (1659), and A Discourse upon this Saying… (1659), in Works, pp. 242–48, 403–4, 468–69, 483, 567–74 (esp. 573–74).

28. James Harrington's Oceana, pp. 61, 84,135.

29. See Ibid., pp. 23–25, 117–24 (esp. 119, 123), 145–46, 174–75, and The Prerogative of Popular Government (1658), in Works, pp. 215, 236–38.

30. James Harrington's Oceana, p. 23.

31. Ibid., pp. 133–39.

32. Ibid., pp. 23–25,115–17,142–44, and The Prerogative of Popular Government (1658), in Works, pp. 235–38.

33. Letter to Edward Carrington on 16 January 1787, in Boyd, , Papers, 11:4849.Google Scholar

34. Letter to Edward Carrington on 16 January 1787, Ibid., p. 49.

35. Letters to James Madison on 30 January 1787 and Abigail Adams on 22 February 1787, Ibid., pp. 92–97 (at 92–93), 174–75.

36. See Letters to Tom [Thomas Westrowe?] on 20 October and 8 November 1659, in The Correspondence of John Locke, ed. De Beer, Esmond S. (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1976-), 1:122–26.Google Scholar

37. Cf. Locke, John, Two Treatises of Government: A Critical Edition with an Introduction and Apparatus Criticus, 2nd edition, ed. Laslett, Peter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 2. xiv. 159 with viii. 98.Google Scholar

38. Cf. Ibid., 2. xii. 145–48, xiii. 151, 154,156–xiv. 168, xviii. 205–10, xix. 222, with vii. 87, ix. 131, and consider Machiavelli, Discorsi, 1. 34 in light of 1.6 and II principe 18, in Tutte le opere, pp. 84–87,116–17, 283–84.

39. Cf. Locke, , Two Treatises of Government, 2. v. 42 with xiv. 165–66.Google Scholar

40. The Virginia Constitution [June 1776], in Boyd, , Papers, 1: 329–65 (esp. 341–42, 349–50, 359–60).Google Scholar

41. Jefferson's Draft of a Constitution for Virginia, 1783, in Boyd, , Papers, 6: 294308 (esp. 298–99).Google Scholar

42. Cf. Jefferson, , Notes on the State of Virginia, pp. 126–29Google Scholar (Query XIII), with Machiavelli, , Discorsi 1.34Google Scholar, in Tutte le opere, pp. 116–17.

43. See Mayer, , Constitutional Thought of Jefferson, pp. 185294.Google Scholar

44. Letter to James Madison on 20 December 1787, in Boyd, , Papers, 12: 438–43 (at 442).Google Scholar

45. For a thorough examination of the role played by the prince in modern republican speculation, see Mansfield, Harvey C. Jr., The Taming of the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power (New York: The Free Press, 1989).Google Scholar

46. Cf. Letter to J. B. Colvin on 20 September 1810, in Ford, , Writings of Jefferson, 9: 279–82Google Scholar, with Hamilton, , The Federalist, pp. 471–83 (Nos. 70–71).Google Scholar

47. Note Machiavelli, , Discorsi 1. 48, 58Google Scholar, in Tutte le ofere, pp. 82–90,140–42 consider Franklin, Julian H., John Locke and the Theory of Sovereignty: Mixed Monarchy and the Right of Resistance in the Political Thought of the English Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978)Google Scholar; and see Tarcov, Nathan, “Locke's Second Treatise and ‘The Best Fence Against Rebellion,'” Review of Politics 43 (1981): 198217 (esp. 211–17)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Pangle, Thomas L., “Executive Energy and Popular Spirit in Lockean Constitutionalism,” Presidential Studies Quarterly 17 (1987): 253–65 (esp. 259–64).Google Scholar

48. Locke, , Two Treatises of Government 2. xix. 223–24, 230.Google Scholar Note also 2. xiv. 168, and Some Considerations of the Consequences of Lowering the Interest and Raising the Value of Money, in The Works of John Locke (London: Printed for T. Tegg, 1823), 5:71.Google Scholar

49. Locke, , Two Treatises of Government 2. xix. 223, 228.Google Scholar

50. Ibid., 1.vi. 58,2. xix. 230.

51. Ibid., 2. xix. 225,230.

52. Consider Ibid., 2. xix. 228 in light of Machiavelli, Discorsi 2.2,3.1, in Tutte le opere, pp. 148–51,195–97.

53. Locke, , Two Treatises of Government 2. xviii. 209.Google Scholar

54. See Machiavelli, , Discorsi 3.1 (with 3 and 49), in Tutte le opere, pp. 195–99, 253–54.Google Scholar

55. After reading Wood, Neal, “The Value of Asocial Sociability: Contributions of Machiavelli, Sidney and Montesquieu,” in Machiavelli and the Nature of Political Thought, ed. Fleisher, Martin (New York: Athenaeum, 1972), pp. 282307 (esp. 282–98)Google Scholar, consider Worden, Blair, “The Commonwealth Kidney of Algernon Sidney,” journal of British Studies 24 (1985): 140 (esp. 13–38)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Scott, Jonathan, Algernon Sidney and the English Republic, 1623–1677 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988)Google Scholar, and Algernon Sidney and the Restoration Crisis, 1677–1683 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991)Google Scholar; and Houston, Alan Craig, Algernon Sidney and the Republican Heritage in England and in America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992)Google Scholar, in light of Sidney, Algernon, Discourses Concerning Government (London: Booksellers of London and Westminster, 1698) 2.1314,24,26Google Scholar, and see Moyle, Walter, An Essay on the Lacedaemonian Government (1698), in The Whole Works of Walter Moyle (London: Printed for J. Briscoe, 1727), pp. 5758.Google Scholar

56. See Maier, Pauline, “Popular Uprisings and Civil Authority in EighteenthCentury America,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd series, 27 (1970): 335 (esp. 24–33).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

57. Consider Jefferson, Thomas, Notes on the State of Virginia, pp. 120–21,161, 164–65Google Scholar (Queries XIII, XVII, XIX), in light of Bonadeo, Alfredo, Corruption, Conflict, and Power in the Works and Times of Niccolo Machiavelli (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973)Google Scholar; and Breschi, Riccardo, “II concetto di ‘Corruzione’ nei ‘Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio,’” Studi Storici 29 (1989): 707–35.Google Scholar

58. Speech on 22 June 1787, in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, ed. Farrand, Max (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911-1937), 1: 381–82.Google Scholar

59. Letter to William Stephens Smith on 13 November 1787, in Boyd, , Papers, 12: 355–57.Google Scholar

60. See Lerner, Ralph, “Jefferson's Pulse of Republican Reformation,” The Thinking Revolutionary: Principle and Practice in the New Republic (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987), pp. 6090.Google Scholar

61. “The Revisal of the Laws, 18 June 1779: 82. A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom,” in Boyd, , Papers, 2: 545–53.Google Scholar

62. See Letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams on 28 October 1813, in The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams, ed. Cappon, Lester J. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1959), 2: 387–92.Google Scholar For the laws abolishing entails and primogeniture, see “Bill to Enable Tenants in Fee Tail to Convey their Lands in Fee Simple,” 14 October 1776, and “The Revisal of the Laws, 18 June 1779: 20. A Bill Directing the Course of Descents,” in Boyd, , Papers, 1: 560–62, 2: 391–93.Google Scholar

63. See “Autobiography,” in Ford, , Writings of Jefferson, 1: 66.Google Scholar

64. See “The Revisal of the Laws, 18 June 1779: 79. A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge,” in Boyd, , Papers, 2: 526–35.Google Scholar For a later version, see Letter to Cabell, Joseph C. on 9 09 1817, with draft of “An Act for Establishing Elementary Schools,” in The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Lipscomb, Andrew A. and Bergh, Albert Ellery (Washington, D. C: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903-4), 17: 417–41.Google Scholar

65. Jefferson, , Notes on the State of Virginia, pp. 146–49 (Query XIV).Google Scholar

66. For the history of Jefferson's efforts on behalf of education, see Peterson, Merrill D., Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation: A Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970), pp. 145–52,961–88.Google Scholar

67. See “The Revisal of the Laws, 18 June 1779: 80. A Bill for Amending the Constitution of the College of William and Mary, and Substituting More Certain Revenues for Its Support,” in Boyd, , Papers, 2: 535–43.Google Scholar

68. See “Autobiography,” in Ford, , Writings of Jefferson, 1: 6670.Google Scholar

69. See Letter to Dr. Joseph Priestley on 27 January 1800, and A Memorandum (Service to My Country), in Ford, , Writings of Jefferson, 7:413–16, 475–77.Google Scholar

70. Letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams on 28 October 1813, in The Adams-Jefferson Correspondence, 2: 387–92.Google Scholar

71. For the overall plan as it developed, see “Report of the Commissioners for the University of Virginia (Rockfish Gap Report),” 4 08 1818, in Early History of the University of Virginia As Contained in the Letters of Thomas Jefferson and Joseph C. Cabell, ed. Cabell, Nathaniel F. (Richmond: J. W. Randolph, 1856), pp. 432–47Google Scholar; and “An Exact Transcript of the Minutes of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia during the Rectorship of Thomas Jefferson,” 5 May 1817 to 7 April 1826, in Lipscomb, and Bergh, , Writings of Jefferson, 19: 361499 (esp. 407–8, 413–16, 433–51, 454–61).Google Scholar In the mid-1790s, Jefferson toyed with the idea of shifting the Academy of Geneva to Virginia; in 1800, he began talking of establishing a new, thoroughly modern university in the Piedmont. See Letters to Frangois d'lvernois on 6 February 1795 and to Dr. Joseph Priestley on 18 and 27 January 1800, in Ford, , Writings of Jefferson, 7: 26, 406–10, 413–16Google Scholar; Letter to Littleton Waller Tazewell on 5 January 1805, in Jefferson, Thomas, Writings, ed. Peterson, Merrill D. (New York: Library of America, 1984) 1149–53Google Scholar; and Letter to Joseph C. Cabell on 9 September 1817, with draft of “An Act for Establishing Elementary Schools,” in Lipscomb, and Bergh, , Writings of Jefferson, 17: 417–41.Google Scholar In this connection, see Letter to Messrs. Hugh L. White and Others on 6 May 1810, in The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Washington, H. A. (New York: J. B.Lippincott, 18531855), 5: 520–22.Google Scholar To this project, he turned his attention a few years after he left the presidency. At first, he focused on the establishment of an academy in Albemarle County. See Letter to Peter Carr on 7 September 1814, in Lipscomb, and Bergh, , Writings of Jefferson, 19:211–21.Google Scholar Perhaps the clearest testimony of the degree to which Jefferson was dedicated to this project is the fact that, though very nearly bankrupt, he nonetheless kept his promise and left his library to the university. See “Thomas Jefferson's Will,” in Lipscomb and Bergh, Writings of Jefferson, 17: 465–70 (at 469), 19: x. See also Peterson, Merrill D., Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation, pp. 961–88, 989–92,1006–1007.Google Scholar

72. Letter to Joseph C. Cabell on 13 January 1823, in Early History of the University of Virginia, pp. 266–68.

73. See “An Exact Transcript of the Minutes of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia during the Rectorship of Thomas Jefferson,” 4 March 1825, in Lipscomb, and Bergh, , Writings of Jefferson, 19: 460–61.Google Scholar

74. Letter to James Madison on 17 February 1826, in Lipscomb, and Bergh, , Writings of Jefferson, 16: 155–59 (at 156–57).Google Scholar

75. See Letters to James Madison on 20 December 1787, to Alexander Donald on 7 February 1788, to George Washington on 4 November 1788, to Francis Hopkinson on 13 March 1789, and, again, to James Madison on 15 March 1789, in Boyd, , Papers, 12: 438–43, 570–72,14: 328–32 (at 328), 649–51, 659–63.Google Scholar

76. Letter to James Madison on 20 December 1787, in Boyd, , Papers, 12: 438–43 (at 442).Google Scholar

77. Letter to Edward Carrington on 16 January 1787, in Boyd, , Papers, 11: 49.Google Scholar

78. See Letters to John Tyler on 26 May 1810, to Samuel Kercheval on 12 July and 5 September 1816, and to John Taylor on 21 July 1816, in Ford, , Writings of Jefferson, 9: 276n-78n, 10: 37–45, 45n-46n, 50–55Google Scholar; Letter from Jefferson, Thomas to Adams, John on 28 10 1813, in The Adams-Jefferson Letters, 2:387–92Google Scholar; Letter to Cabell, Joseph C. on 2 02 1816, in Washington, Writings of Jefferson, 6: 540–44Google Scholar; Letter to Cartwright, Major John on 5 06 1824, in The Memoirs, Correspondence and Private Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (London: H. Colburn and R. Bentley, 1829), 4:405Google Scholar. See also Letter to Cabell, Joseph C. on 28 11 1820, in Early History of the University of Virginia, pp. 184–88.Google Scholar The passage quoted in the text is to be found in the second of the two letters to Samuel Kercheval.

79. Letter to Samuel Kercheval on 12 July 1816, in Ford, , Writings of Jefferson, 10: 3745 (at 40–41).Google Scholar

80. Letter to Joseph C. Cabell on 2 February 1816, in Washington, , Writings of Jefferson, 6: 540–44.Google Scholar

81. Cf. Arendt, Hannah, On Revolution (New York: Viking Press, 1963), pp. 111285 (esp. 115–37,234–85)Google Scholar, with Yarbrough, Jean, “Republicanism Reconsidered: Some Thoughts on the Foundation and Preservation of the American Republic,” Review of Politics 41 (1979): 6195 (esp. 84–92).CrossRefGoogle Scholar Arendt's argument has beguiled many a scholar: see Pocock, , Machiavellian Moment, pp. 506–52 (esp. 550)Google Scholar; Matthews, Richard K., The Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson: A Revisionist View (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1984), pp. 7795 (esp. 83–90)Google Scholar; and Sheldon, Garrett Ward, The Political Philosophy of Thomas Jefferson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 53111.Google Scholar

82. Draft of the Kentucky Resolutions, [October] 1798, in Ford, , Writings of Jefferson, 7: 304.Google Scholar

83. Letter to Spencer Roane on 6 September 1819, in Ford, , Writings of Jefferson, 10:140–43.Google Scholar

84. Letter to Jarvis, William Charles on 28 September 1820, in The Works of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Ford, Paul Leicester (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904–5), 12:161–64.Google Scholar

85. Blackstone, William, Commentaries on the Laws of England (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1765–69), 1:119–41Google Scholar (with special attention to 139).

86. Cf. Shalhope, Robert E., “The Ideological Origins of the Second Amendment,” Journal of American History 69 (1982): 599614CrossRefGoogle Scholar, with Cress, Lawrence Delbert, “An Armed Community: The Origins and Meaning of the Right to Bear Arms,” Journal of American History 71 (1984): 2242CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and see Hardy, David T., “The Second Amendment and the Historiography of the Bill of Rights,” Journal of Law and Politics 4 (1987): 162Google Scholar, and Malcolm, Joyce Lee, To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994).Google Scholar If I am correct in asserting (Rahe, Paul A., Republics Ancient and Modern: Classical Republicanism and the American Revolution [Chapel Hill: Universiy of North Carolina Press, 1992], pp. 254–59, 321–Google Scholar; 34, 347– 56, 409–747) that Whigs of all stripes, in America as well as in Britain, were united in accepting Dictum, Blackstone's {Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1:135)Google Scholar that “the public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual's private rights,” the current dispute between those who interpret the econd Amendment in terms of individual rights and those who stress communal duties is an artifact of contemporary scholarship grounded on a dichotomy than would have made little, if any sense to anyone in the eighteenth century. The revolutionary generation disliked standing armies and saw them as a threat to liberty. Even when they conceded the necessity of such an army, they wanted to see the individual citizens armed and organized as a militia in such a way as to help provide for the common defense while safeguarding the right to revolution.

87. Letter to Roger C. Weightman on 24 June 1826, in Ford, , Writings of Jefferson, 10: 390–92.Google Scholar

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