Thomas Jefferson’s Original Declaration of Independence

H301 students, Pauline Maier (RIP) did a stunning job of presenting Jefferson’s original Declaration, complete with Congress’s edits.  I’m having a hard time scanning and posting it.  I’ll have photocopies made for you for Friday.  Thanks for being patient.


Crises Points, 1763-1774

Lexington, Mass.

Lexington, Mass.

“Crises Points, Leading to Revolution, 1763-1774”

Opening to Crisis, 1763-1765

  • Parliament passed the Sugar Act of 1764.  Taxed molasses and sugar at half the rate of the Navigation Acts.  Parliament pleased with itself—after all, they saw it as a tax cut.  But, in reality, that tax had never been enforced!  So, this tax was huge to the settlers.
  • In 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act.  Every single legal transaction had to have a stamp on it (meaning it had been taxed).  Pervasive and intensely bureaucratic.
  • In 1765, Parliament also passed the Quartering Act (another tax), forcing average citizens to pay for soldiers who needed housing.  Especially hit New York, the headquarters of British forces in America.

American Responses, 1765

  • Pamphlet war begins.
  • Protests. mass meetings, parades, bonfires.  Groups began to call themselves the Sons of Liberty.  Would meet under “Liberty Trees” and erect liberty poles, often with effigies hanging from them.  Sons of Liberty led a mob against the Massachusetts home of Lt. Governor Thomas Hutchinson.  Tore the house down and drank his wine.
  • Under the leadership of Patrick Henry, the Virginia House of Burgesses (in minority) passed a series of Resolves against the Stamp Act.  Henry even spoke of regicide, the assassination of King George III.  When told that was treason, he replied “If this be treason, make the most of it.”
  • John Adams is the first American to call for Independence in the Braintree Resolves.
  • Edmund Burke makes inaugural “maiden” speech, January 1766.  Pro-American, throughout the entire conflict.

British response to American Protests

July 1765, Rockingham, pro-American, made Prime Minister.  Rockingham Whigs chose Edmund Burke as their main advisor.

  • Repealed the Stamp Act in 1766 and reduced the Sugar Tax to one penny (less than the cost of a bribe)
  • But to pacify the opposition, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act–stated that Parliament had control of the colonies in all matters.

New Parliament, 1767

In the spring and early summer of 1767, the Parliament passed the Townsend Acts which

  • Suspended the New York Assembly for refusing to supply homes and assistance to British Troops
  • Placed a tax on colonial imports—glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea
  • Set up an office in Boston to monitor smuggling
  • John Dickinson offered first serious response in twelve “Letters of a Pennsyvania Farmer”

Boston Massacre, 1770

On March 5, 1770, a crowd gathered and began throwing snowballs at the soldiers, protesting the standing army as tyranny.  Soldiers opened fire on the crowd.  Americans began calling the army the “corrupt arm of British despotism.”  The soldier were tried, defended by John Adams.  All were acquitted but two who received light punishments.


  • Off of Rhode Island, a British ship looking for smugglers (the Gaspee) ran aground.  Colonists stormed the ship, kicked the sailors off, and burned it.  Parliament established an independent commission to investigate–had power to try out of normal courts.  Colonists viewed this as a violation of rights as it denied a jury of one’s peers.
  • In November 1772, Sam Adams formed the first of the Committees of Correspondence.  They soon developed throughout the colonies—information distribution; relay stations.


In Spring of 1773, the East India Company experienced a real drop in business.  Had 17 million pounds of tea rotting in British warehouses.  Parliament granted the company a monopoly on tea—even allowed to sell it cheaper than the colonists could get it from the Dutch.  Thought the colonists were motivated by material considerations.  All the colonists could see was the monopoly granted to the East Indian Co.

  • Under the leadership of Sam Adams, a group of men dressed as Mohawk Indians boarded a British ship and dumped its tea into the harbor.  Meanwhile, large crowds on the docks cheered.  With the exception of one destroyed padlock, the tea party made sure to violate no property rights beyond the tea.

Coercive Acts, March 1774

  • Closed the Boston Port
  • Set up martial law under the Governor
  • Close the courts in trials of British
  • Soldiers could lodge anywhere—including private homes

Quebec Act, Summer 1774 (considered fifth “Intolerable Act”

  • First Continental Congress called, September 1774
  • Independence from Parliament declared, September 1774

Charles Carroll of Carrollton’s Second CX Letter

American Cicero (ISI Books, 2010).

American Cicero (ISI Books, 2010).

SOURCE: CX [Charles Carroll of Carrollton], Dunlap’s Maryland Gazette; or, the Baltimore General Advertiser (April 2, 1776).

To tamper, therefore, in this affair, or try prospects merely upon the credit of supposed arguments or philosophy can never be the part of a wise magistrate, who will bear a reverence to what carries the marks of age; and though he may attempt some improvement for the public good, yet he will adjust his innovation, as much as possible, to the ancient fabric, and preserve entire the chief pillars and supports of the constitution.

–Hume’s Essays, Idea of a Perf. Commonwealth

Our present government seems to be approaching fast to its dissolution; necessity during the war will introduce material changes; INDEPENDENCE, the consequence of victory, will perpetuate them.  As innovations then must be made, let them be adjusted according to the advice of Mr. HUME, ‘as much as possible, to the ancient fabric.’  Let the spirit of our constitution be preserved; nay, improved by correcting the errors of our old system, and strengthening its soundest and best supports.  I shall briefly mention, without the least design of censuring past transactions, or calling blame on any man, what appear to me defects in our present government; and shall attempt with great diffidence to point out the proper remedies.—The following are some of its defects:

The principal offices are too lucrative, and the persons enjoying them are members of the Upper House of Assembly.  It is unnecessary, and be thought inordious [sic], to dwell on the mischiefs, which the Public has experienced in consequence of the misunderstanding between the two branches of the legislature, commonly occasioned by a difference of opinion respecting the fees of those offices.  Much time has certainly been consumed in debates, and conferences, and messages on that subject, which could have been usefully employed in other matters.  Is it proper that the same person should be both Governor, and Chancellor?  The Judges of our Provincial Court hold their commissions during pleasure; the duties of their station are most important and fatiguing; the highest truth is reposed in them, yet how inadequate the recompence!  The lessening of lucrative offices, and proportion the reward to the service in all; the exclusion of placemen from both Houses of Assembly; the separating the chancellorship from the chief magistracy; and the granting commissions to the judges of the Provincial Court, QUAM DIU SE BENE GESERRIT, with salaries annexed equal to the importance and fatigue of their functions; it is humbly conceived, would be alterations for the better in every instance.

The constitution of the Upper House seems defective also in this particular, That the members are removeable [sic] at the pleasure of the Lord Proprietary.  To give to that branch of the legislature more weight, it should be composed of gentlemen of the first fortune and abilities in the Province; and they should hold their seats for life.  An Upper House thus constituted would form some counterpoise to the democratical part of the legislature. Although it is confessed, that even then the democracy would be the preponderating weight in the scales of this government.  The Lower House wants a more equal representation, to make it as perfect as it should be.  At present, one third of the electors sends more delegates to the Assembly than the remaining two thirds. It will not be contended, I presume, that what has always been deemed a capital fault in the English Constitution is not one in ours, formed upon that model?  Every writer in speaking of the defects of the former, reckons the unequal representation of the commonality among the principal.  The Boroughs are proverbially stiled the rotten part of the constitution, on account of their venality, proceeding from the inconsiderable number of electors in most of them.  If the people of this Province are not fairly and equally represented; no doubt, in the new modeling of our constitution, great care will be taken to make the representation as equal as possible.  Before I proceed to point out a method for facilitating this desirable reform; I shall state some objections which have been used against the measure, and endeavour to give a satisfactory answer to each of them—

A new representation will offend those counties which now send to the Assembly a greater number of Delegates, than their just proportion; hence divisions will ensue, at all times to be dreaded, but most in the present.  Is the proposed alteration just or not!  If just, then they only should be esteemed sowers of division, who oppose it.  But should such a representation take place, more Delegates would be chosen in some counties, then in others, and should the votes be collected individually on all questions as heretofore practiced, they might frequently be carried against the smaller counties.  What is that but saying that the majority would determine every question, the only mode of decision that can with any propriety be adopted?  The Colonies vote by Colonies in Congress, therefore counties ought to vote by counties in Convention; and therefore it is useless to alter the representation, or to have more delegates from one country than another.  The force of this reasoning, if there be any in it, I could never comprehend.  The colonies are separately independent, and to preserve this independency, it may perhaps, be necessary to vote by colonies in Congress, but surely it will not be said that the counties of Maryland are thus independent, or that there are as many little independent principalities in the Province as there are counties?  All our counties are subject to the same legislature, which within the territory owning its jurisdiction, is supreme.   The inconveniences that may arise from the colonies voting by colonies in Congress must be imputed to the jealousy of Independence; or to use a softer term, to the necessity of securing to each colony its own peculiar government.  To reconcile the strength, safety, and welfare of all the United Colonies, with the entire privileges, and full independency of each, requires a much great share of political knowledge, than I am made of.  But if this imperfection in the general constitution or confederation of the colonies, can not be remedied, does it follow, that the same imperfection should run through the particular constitutions of every colony, or be retained in that of any one?  Different colonies may possibly, in process of time have different interests; and to secure to each Colony its peculiar and local interests; it may be thought most prudent to establish independence of each on a permanent basis.  Have the two shores of Maryland, or can they have[,] a difference of interests?  Should they be really so distinct, as to warrant the suspicion that the lesser part would be sacrificed to the greater; then are they unfit to be connected under one government; a separation ought to take place, to terminate the competition and rivalship, which this diversity of views and interests would produce; and all the consequent evils of two powerful and opposite factions in the same state.  The interests of the two shores are the same; in the imagination of some men a difference may indeed exist, but not in reality.  Is the welfare then of the whole Province to be sacrificed to the whims, the caprice, the humours [sic], and the groundless jealousy of individuals, not constituting a twentieth part of the people?  Let those, who would oppose an equal representation on a supposed contrariety the IPSE DIXIT of no man, or set of men ought to prevail against a reform of the representative, so consentaneous to the spirit of our constitution.

To come at a fair and equal representation of the whole people, the following method is proposed.

Let the Province be divided into districts, merely for the purpose of elections, containing each one thousand voters, or nearly that number; let every district elect [_____] representatives: suppose, for instance, the whole number of electors should amount to 40,000, then if every 1000 should elect two Representatives, there would be 80 Representatives returned to Assembly.  For facilitating the divisions of the counties into districts, and for the ease and convenience of the inhabitants in other respects such counties as are too large, may be divided into one or more, according to their respective extent.  As our people will in all likelihood greatly increase in the course of fifty or sixty years it may be necessary in order to correct the inequalities which that lapse of time will probably occasion in the representatives to new-model the elections, preserving the same number of Delegates to Assembly, it may be ordained that 1500 return two only.  If this precaution be not taken, the representative may in time become too numerous and unweildy [sic]; a medium should be preserved between a too small and a too large Senate; the former is more liable to the influence of a separate interest from that of their constituents and combination against that interest, the latter unfit for deliberation and mature counsels.  ‘Every numerous assembly (Cardinal de Retz observes) is [a] mob, and swayed in their debates by the least motives; consequently every thing there depends upon instantaneous turns.”  When the Province shall contain as many inhabitants as it will be capable of supporting in its most improved state of cultivation, it will not even then be advisable to suffer the representative to exceed one hundred for the reasons assigned.  If the Delegates should ever amount to that number, to preserve a due proportion between the two houses, the members of the Upper House ought to be encreased to eighteen or nineteen.  It would add to their importance, and give them more weight in the government, if on all vacancies they were to chuse [sic] their own members.  The above alterations of our constitution are no ways inconsistent with a dependence on the crown of Great Britain, and therefore, not justly liable to the censure and opposition of those who wish the colonies to continue dependent.

During the civil war the appointment of a Governor and Privy Council, not to exceed five, must be left to the two Houses of Assembly; and if we should separate from Great Britain, the appointment must remain with them.  The Governor and Council are to be entrusted with the whole executive department of government, and accountable for their misconduct to the two houses.  A continuance of power in the same hands is dangerous to liberty; let a rotation therefore be settled to obviate that danger yet not so quickly made, as to prove detrimental to the State by frequently throwing men of the greatest abilities out of public employments.  Where would be the inconvenience if the Governor and Privy Council were annually elected by the two Houses of Assembly, and a power given by the constitution to those Houses of continuing them in office from year to year, provided that their continuance should never extended beyond the term of three successive years?

A variety of other arrangements scarcely less important, must follow the proposed changes; only the outline of the constitution is drawn, the more intricate parts, “their nice conections [sic], just dependencies” remain to be adjusted by abler heads.  A long dissertation was not intended, a minute detail would be tiresome; and perhaps the author may be justly accused of having already trespassed on the patience of the Public.

–CX [Charles Carroll of Carrollton]


Charles Carroll of Carrollton’s First CX Letter

American Cicero (ISI Books, 2010).

American Cicero (ISI Books, 2010).

SOURCE: Dunlap’s Maryland Gazette, or the Baltimore General Advertiser (Tuesday, March 26, 1776).  Article by Charles Carroll of Carrollton, under the pseudonym “CX.”

“An established government has an infinite advantage by that very circumstance of its being established; the bulk of mankind being governed by authority, not reason; and never attributing authority to any thing, that has not the recommendation of antiquity.”–Hume’s Essays, Idea of a Perf. Commonweath.

The foregoing observation of the judicious Essayist fully explains the cause of that reluctance, which most nations discover to innovations in their government: oppressions must be grievous and extensive, before the body of the people can be prevailed on to resist the established authority of the state; or the pernicious tendency of unexperienced measures very evident indeed, when opposed by considerable numbers.  This proneness of mankind to obey the settled government, is productive of many benefits to society; it restrains the violence of factions, prevents civil wars, and frequent revolutions; more destructive to the Commonwealth, than the grievances real, or pretended, which might otherwise have given birth to them.  Changes in the constitution ought not be lightly made; but when corruptions has long infected the legislative, and executive powers: when these pervert the public treasure to the worst of purposes, and fraudently [sic] combine to undermine the liberties of the people; if THEY tamely submit to such misgovernment, we may fairly conclude, the bulk of that people to be ripe for slavery.  In this extremity, it is not only lawful, but it becomes the duty of all honest men, to unite in defense of their liberties; to use force, if force should be requisite; to suppress such enormities and to bring back the constitution to the purity of its original principles.  If a nation, in the case put, may lawfully resist the established government; resistance solely is equally justifiable in an empire composed of several separate territories; to each of which, for securing liberty and property, legislative powers have been granted by compact, and long enjoyed by common consent; for should these powers be invaded, and attempted to be rendered nugatory and useless by the principal part of the empire, possessing a limited sovereignty over the whole; should this part relying on its superior strength and riches, reject the supplications of the injured, or treat them with contempt; and appeal from reason to the sword: then are the bands burst asunder, which held together, and united under one dominion these separate territories; a dissolution of the empire ensues; all oaths of allegiance cease to be binding, and the parts attacked are at liberty to erect what government they think best suited to the temper of the people, and exigency of affairs.  The British North American Colonies are thus circumstanced:–they have then a right to chuse [sic] a constitution for themselves, and if the choice is delayed (should the contest continue) necessity will enforce that choice.–Whether it be prudent to wait till necessity shall compel these colonies to assume the forms, as well as the powers of government, shall be discussed in this paper.

That the United Colonies have already exercised the real powers of government, will not be denied: Why they should not assume the forms, no good reason can be given; as the controversy must NOW be decided by the sword!  it may be said, that forms are unessential; if of so little consequence, why hesitate to give to every colony a COMPLEAT government?  it has been suggested, that the inhabitants of this Province are not yet ripe for the alteration, and that they are still strongly attached to the subsisting constitution; –if they are so strongly attached to it, their attachment will continue, as long as the name and appearances of that constitution remain.  The argument drawn from the affection of the people for the present constitution against the expediency of the proposed change at this time, will extend to any given period of time; and render the measure as improper THEN, as NOW.  While our people consider the King of Great-Britain as THEIR King, while they wish to be connected with, and subordinate to Great Britain; while the notion remains impressed on their minds, that this connection and subordination are beneficial to themselves, we must not expect that unanimity, and those exertions of valour and perseverance, which distinguishes nations fighting in support of their independence.  Confidence once betrayed and extinguished friendship can never be regained; the confidence of the colonies in, and their attachment to the Parent State arose from the interchange of benefits, and the conceived opinion of a sameness of interests; but now we plainly perceive that these are distinct; nay, incompatible: Why then should we consider ourselves any longer dependent on Great Britain, unless we mean to prefer slavery to liberty, or unconditional submission to independence?  I by no means admit that the people are so much attached, as is alleged, to the present constitution: they are now fully convinced by facts too plain to be flossed over with ministerial arts; that the British government, on which the several provincial administrations immediately depend has for some years past aimed at a tyranny over these colonies.  What security have they that some other attempt will not be made, should this be defeated?  And before this security is obtained, or even proposed, to suppose an inclination in our people to run the hazard a second time of being enslaved, by the obstinately adhering to the present constitution; which in the end would inevitably lead them to their former dependence, and thus expose them to that hazard; is paying no great compliment to their understandings.  For no other purpose are forms of a nominal, useless, and expensive government preserved, but that on a possible though very improbably compromise; the transition may be early and gentle from the present arrangements into the ordinary and customary course of administration.  Is the advantage (and let the sticklers for the measure answer the question) any way equal to the risk?  To suffer men to continue at the head of our communities, and in places of profit and trust, who are attached by interest, and conceive themselves to be found by the ties of oaths to the British government; is keeping up the remembrance of that subordination, which we should strive to obliterate since self-defence [sic], and the preservation of all we hold dear, seem NOW to be necessarily connected with our independence.  It has been asserted, but not proved, that the people of this Province would dislike the abolition of the old, and the establishment of a new government, because they conceive the Convention to be already armed with too much power; and that this step would obstruct a reconciliation with Great Britain.–Were a compleat [sic] government to be framed, and the legislative, executive, and judicial functions distributed into different orders in the state; it is most certain, that the Convention so far from being thereby invested with ample powers, would deprive itself of part of those, which it now engrosses.  What is it that constitutes despotism, but the assemblage and union of the legislative, executive, and judicial functions in the same person, or persons?  When they are united in one person, a monarchy is established; when in many, an aristocracy, or oligarchy, both equally inconsistent with the liberties of the people: the absolute dominion of a single person is indeed preferable to the absolute dominion of many, as one tyrant is better than twenty.  When the British ministry and senate are taught wisdom by experience; when they find that force will not effectuate what treaty may, they will offer terms of peace and reconciliation.  If the former connection and dependence should be insisted on, and no security given to the colonies against the repetition of similar injuries, and similar attacks; would they act unwisely in rejecting the proposition?  however, should a considerable majority entertain a different sentiment; a few placement under the new establishment, if inclined, will not have the power, I presume, to defeat the treaty.  The interests of the people rightly understood, calls for the establishment of a regular and constituent government; and good policy should induce the Convention to  consult the true interest of the people, by parting with the executive, and judicial powers, and placing them in different hands.  By neglecting to do this, the long Parliament grew at last obnoxious to the nation.

There is nothing more natural (Dr. DAVENANT observes) than, for the commonality to love their own representatives, and to respect that authority, which by the constitution was established to protect their civil rights; and yet the Parliament in 1640, is an instance, that when the House of Commons took upon themselves the whole administration of affairs; the people grew as weary of them, as they had formerly been of State Ministers; and while they acted in this executive capacity, many of the multitude began to complain of their proceedings, question their privileges, and arraign their authority; for when collective bodies take in hand such affairs as were wont to be transacted by private men, mankind is apt to suspect they may be liable to those partialities, errors, or corruptions, of which particular persons may be accused in their management; so that it is possible for assemblies to become unpopular, as well as Ministers of State.

The Provincial Conventions, or Congresses have inadvertently pursued the very conduct they so justly condemn in the British Parliament, which has exceeded the limits prescribed by the constitution to its operations.  The House of Commons was not instituted for the sole purpose of concurring with the other branches of the legislature in enacting laws, but to be a check also on bad ministers, to correct abuses, and to punish offenders too great for the ordinary courts of justice; in short the Commons were formerly not improperly [ailed?] the Grand Inquest of the nation:–But what are they now?  Why a part of that very administration, they were by the original institution intended to control.  The design the ministry in making parliament a partaker of, or indeed a principal in all their undertakings, is as evident, as it is pernicious to the public: for as the above quoted author remarks, “When the lawmakers transact the whole business of the State, for what can the ministers be accountable!”  Besides the danger arising from the want of a proper check on the administration wherever the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government are blended together; these several powers in their nature distinct, and unfit to be trusted to the same persons, to interfere and clash with each other, that business is thereby greatly retarded; and the public of course considerably injured.  For the truth of this assertion, I appeal to the last session of Convention the business of which might have been transacted in half the time, had not the attention of the members been distracted by the different capacities, they were constrained to act in, and taken up by matters very foreign from the duty of legislators.  To those, who consider the subsisting forms of an useless government, as outward and insignificant signs power while the Convention grasps the solid substance, the above reasoning may appear to have little weight by such it must be objected, that Caesar in Rome, and Cromwell in England, without the name and pageantry of a King, governed as absolutely, as Tarquin the proud, or Henry VIII.  If they should thus object, I will venture to pronounce, that they do not, or will not comprehend the force of the foregoing arguments.  As perpetual dictator, Caesar was perpetual tyrant; Cromwell chose to rule the English nation, rather as Protector, than King; the prerogatives of the latter being defined, the powers of the former unknown.  Having endeavoured to shew [sic] the expediency, if not the necessity of settling without delay a new government: I shall point out in my next paper, what alterations of the old one would render it, in my judgment, more perfect, and better adapted to our present, and probably future situation, and change of circumstances.

–CX [Charles Carroll of Carrollton]

Light, Math, & Color: 2014 Edition

FracTad's Fractopia

For several years now I’ve taught a three-week course on making artglass windows. After learning the basic technique, I ask each student to research a math-related topic and illustrate it with an artglass window. This year’s group did exceptionally good work! The projects ranged from perennial favorites like the Pythagorean Theorem and tessellations to some new topics –  tesseracts, Borromean Rings, and Johnson’s Circle Theorem.

Pictures of their projects are below:

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FracTad's Fractopia

A boon for teachers,

A space students can access;

Knowledge is shared.

Well, I’m not a very good poet, but I wanted to write a haiku in honor of the learning management system my school uses: Haiku. Other LMS’s include Moodle (which is open-source), and Blackboard. They all serve the same purpose: to provide teachers and students an online place where information can be shared. Teachers can post images, videos, assignments, worksheets, etc., and they can create forums for online discussions. Students can submit files to a “dropbox”, see a calendar that displays all of their assignments with due dates, and access all kinds of media posted by their teachers.

Harpeth Hall switched to Haiku this year, so I’m a newbie when it comes to utilizing all of its features, but I like it a lot. One of the best is the ability to rearrange content blocks by…

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University Bookman (Autumn 1966), COMPLETE

Full version of Russell Kirk’s journal, University Bookman (Autumn 1966), v. 7, no. 1.  Includes articles by George Carey and Gordon Tullock.

university bookman autumn 1966

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