The Revolution of 1800

Advisor: Scott Casper, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Professor of History, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
National Humanities Center Fellow
© 2016 National Humanities Center

How did Thomas Jefferson use his first inaugural address to bridge the political divide generated by his election and redirect presidential policy?


The presidential election of 1800 was an intense political contest. Pitting two clearly opposing parties against each other for the first time, the Federalists and the Democratic Republicans fought in what some historians have called the dirtiest campaign in US politics. Referred to by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 as “The Revolution of 1800,” the election results marked the first peaceful change of executive party in the US and confirmed the role of the electorate in choosing the American president.

Thomas Jefferson


Thomas Jefferson, first inaugural address, 1801 (excerpts)

Text Type

Speech, non-fiction

Text Complexity

Grade 11-CCR complexity band. Based on lexile measurements this lesson could also be classified in upper levels of the 9th–10th complexity band.

For more information on text complexity see these resources from

In the Text Analysis section, Tier 2 vocabulary words are defined in pop-ups, and Tier 3 words are explained in brackets.

Click here for standards and skills for this lesson.


Common Core State Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.6 (determine author’s point of view)

Advanced Placement US History

  • Key Concept 4.1 (IA) (In the early 1800s national political parties continued to debate…)

Teacher’s Note

In this lesson students will analyze excerpts from Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address, given in March 1801. Students will examine how Jefferson sought to bridge the divide created by the bitter campaign and lay the groundwork for a new direction for the presidency. A transfer of political ideology within the presidency had never before been done, and many believed it impossible to accomplish. Jefferson edited this speech at least twice before his inauguration, and this document is the final version that was published in newspapers and broadsides.

These excerpts look at three main subjects in Jefferson’s speech. In excerpts one and two he seeks to reassure the opposing party as well as suggest that the differences among them may not be as contentious as previously thought. Note that his use of the terms “republican” and “federalist” are not capitalized and refer to the general definitions of the terms rather than the specific political parties. Excerpt three explains Jefferson’s beliefs and expectations regarding good government, including the need for less government. Excerpts four and five reinforce the legitimacy of Jefferson’s victory by connecting it back to the ideals of the American Revolution.

While a change of political party in the White House is today a matter of routine, this lesson focuses upon the upheaval associated with that first redirection of political ideology, allowing students to contextualize the importance of a peaceful transition of presidential power. In 1819 Jefferson himself referred to this peaceful transfer as “the revolution of 1800” in a letter to Judge Spencer Roane (original capitalization retained):

“…they contain the true principles of the revolution of 1800. for that was as real a revolution in the principles of our government as that of 76. was in it’s form; not effected indeed by the sword, as that, but by the rational and peaceable instrument of reform, the suffrage of the people. the nation declared it’s will by dismissing functionaries of one principle, and electing those of another, in the two branches, executive and legislative, submitted to their election.”

The development of political parties is not treated in detail in this lesson but is mentioned in the background note. Original spellings are retained.

This lesson is divided into two parts, both accessible below, and includes close reading questions, student interactives, and an optional followup assignment. The teacher’s guide includes the background note, the text analysis with responses to the close reading questions, access to the interactive exercises, and the followup assignment. The student’s version, an interactive worksheet that can be e-mailed, contains all of the above except the responses to the close reading questions and the follow-up assignment.

Teacher’s Guide (continues below) Student Version (click to open)

Teacher’s Guide


Background Questions

  1. What kind of text are we dealing with?
  2. When was it written?
  3. Who wrote it?
  4. For what audience was it intended?
  5. For what purpose was it written?

By the late 1790s, two clearly different political parties had developed in the United States. The Federalists envisioned an America grounded in the principles of commercial development, including an economic system based on the British model and a strong national government that could control the various states and their powerful ambitions. John Adams and Alexander Hamilton represented these ideas. In opposition stood the Democratic Republicans, who promoted an agrarian economy supported by manufactures, economic ties with several foreign countries, and strong state governments that would balance not only the federal government but each other. Thomas Jefferson came to represent the ideas of the Democratic Republicans. Hamilton saw Jefferson as a dangerous radical whose policies would bring about the secession of New England and the dissolution of the US; Jefferson saw Hamilton as a man whose strategies would make the US a satellite country of Britain and negate the hard-won victory of the American Revolution. Each man saw in the views of his opponent the downfall of America.

Jefferson and the Devil

Jefferson was seen by his opponents as trying to topple the federal government.

Partisan newspapers for both sides took up the cause with sharply critical and even slanderous articles about the opposition. Picnics, barbeques, and parades advertised the benefits of party ideals and the dangers of those opposed. In multiple state and local elections throughout the 1790s the Federalists and Democratic Republicans pitted themselves against each other with varying results, and by the end of the decade each side saw the other as a clear threat to the future of the US.

The 1800 presidential election was different from those that had come before. Both parties actively campaigned throughout 1800 at the state and local levels, pointing out the dangers in their opponents’ views. In addition, several states (there were 16 states by 1800) had switched their presidential voting systems to ones of overall popular vote rather than voting by district, and in some cases this made a significant difference in the awarding of electoral votes. Through the Electoral College system the Founders had intended for state legislators to choose electors and therefore the president, but 1800 marked the first significant influence of popular vote totals in the presidential election.

The presidential election of 1800 saw for the first time clearly identified political opponents. On December 3, election day, electors chose between four major candidates: John Adams (Federalist and current president); Thomas Jefferson (Democratic Republican and current vice president); Aaron Burr (Democratic Republican and former US Senator from New York); and Charles Pinckney (Federalist and former US minister to France). The electoral ballots submitted by the states to Congress were, by law, not to be opened until February 11, 1801, but their contents leaked to the press. Although the public supported Jefferson to be president, Burr and Jefferson tied in the Electoral College vote. How could this happen?

In 1800, prior to the passage of the 12th amendment, each state elector cast two votes without specifying which was for president and which for vice president, and the votes were then tallied. Whoever received the most votes was declared president with the vice presidency going to the second highest candidate. Why did the Founders put this process into effect in the Constitution? They wanted the presidency to be a contest between individuals, not political factions or parties. If two candidates received a majority of votes but were tied, the decision was referred to the House of Representatives. Once in the House of Representatives, each state had one vote, and the candidate with the most votes was declared president.

Jefferson, as vice president and Speaker of the House, announced the totals of the first vote on February 11, 1801. Jefferson and Burr tied, and this result surprised no one. The House had agreed earlier to remain in session and to take up no other business until the election was decided, so the balloting continued. Fifteen ballots were taken on that first day, with Jefferson always one vote shy of victory.

Electoral votes

Tally of electoral votes for the 1800 Presidential election, February 11, 1801.

Many waited with great apprehension to see if it would be possible to shift the political policies of the US government. The political parties of 1800 were not organized the way modern political parties are — they were more like modern political interest groups — and they were not an accepted part of a presidential election. In 1800 these political groups involved changing loyalties, back room deals, and political patronage. Since both Jefferson and Burr were Democratic Republicans, the Federalists had clearly lost the presidential election, but they felt they could, through political dealing and negotiations, decide which man would be president. Once the voting began with no clear sign of a winner, political threats seemed more serious than ever. There was talk of military action to prevent the Federalists from blocking Jefferson from taking office; talk of holding another national election in hopes of different results; talk of an assassination plot against Jefferson; talk of the secession of Virginia if Jefferson was not allowed to take office; personal threats against Federalist electors; and talk of a deal between the Federalists and Jefferson to give him the election if he would agree to continue Federalist policies. Finally, on February 17, Delaware and South Carolina abstained from voting, allowing Jefferson a clear majority. Jefferson was declared the winner on the 36th ballot.

On March 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson walked from his boarding house to the Senate Chamber. John Adams had already left Washington, and as was the custom at the time, Jefferson gave his inaugural address before taking the oath as president. Uncomfortable speaking in public, he addressed an audience of approximately 1000 people for fewer than 30 minutes. The speech was printed in the newspapers the next day and was well received by members of both parties.

The new nation was only 11 years old and had never had a president under the Constitution who was not a supporter of the Federalist ideas. As you work with this document, think of how Jefferson uses language in an attempt to ease the wounds of this bitter election, focusing on similarities rather than differences. Pay attention to his use of the terms “republican” (a believer in a government of the people) and “federalist” (a believer in a union of states under a central government) as separate from the names of political parties. Through his beliefs about government and his views for the future of America, note how Jefferson seeks to redirect the political culture of the country, moving from government by an elite group based mainly in New England to government by the people with a broader geographical base. As he closes his speech, look for ways Jefferson seeks to connect to America’s founding principles.

Text Analysis

Excerpt 1

Close Reading Questions

Activity: VocabularyActivity: Vocabulary
Learn definitions by exploring how words are used in context.

1. In the first sentence, Jefferson expresses three thoughts about his election to the presidency. What are they?

  1. thanks for the election to the office of the presidency
  2. the presidency is above his talents
  3. he is nervous about taking the office

2. Is Jefferson planning to govern alone? How do you know?
In sentence two he states that there are, “in the other high authorities,” or offices of the government, “resources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal, on which to rely…” He is referring to seeking the advice of others in the government.

3. In sentence three, to what branch of government is Jefferson reaching out in order to work with them?
The legislature.

4. Based on sentences one through three, what tone is Jefferson establishing with this introduction? How does he establish that tone?
He establishes a conciliatory tone by complimenting others in the government and making sure they are recognized. He also does not set himself above the members of the audience, even though he has just been elected president, by stating that he plans to work with the members of the legislature. He attempts to connect the executive and legislative branches, encouraging cooperation.

In this excerpt Jefferson connects with his audience and recognizes the other members of government present. Pay attention to the tone Jefferson works to establish in this introduction.

…(1) Called upon to undertake the duties of the first Executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow citizens which is here assembled to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look towards me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge, and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire…. (2) Utterly indeed should I despair, did not the presence of many, whom I here see, remind me, that, in the other high authorities provided by our constitution, I shall find resources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal, on which to rely under all difficulties. (3) To you, then, gentlemen, who are charged with the sovereign functions of legislation, and to those associated with you, I look with encouragement for that guidance and support which may enable us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked, amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world.

Excerpt 2

Close Reading Questions

5. In sentence four Jefferson refers to the recent election. How does he characterize the election of 1800?
He says that it was a “contest of opinion” and for those who were “unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think” the election might have upset them. This type of vigorous election is a good sign in a government where people are allowed to think freely, even though those from a more limited government might not understand that freedom.

6. Who are the “strangers” he refers to?
They could be foreigners, non-Americans, but they could also be those accustomed to monarchy. By the use of the term “unused to think freely” he implies it is those accustomed to monarchy.

7. In sentence four, what does Jefferson say that the nation must now do after this intense election? Why?
He says that everyone “will of course arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good.” Since he has now won the election, everyone should rally to support him. He is reminding his audience that the Constitution, the “will of the law,” has worked and that under the Constitution they are bound to support him as president. He focuses upon supporting the office, rather than the person.

8. In sentence five Jefferson refers to the rights of the majority as well as those of the minority. How does he compare the two?
He says the majority rights “is in all cases to prevail” but that they “must be reasonable” while the rights of the minority are also protected.

9. Why does Jefferson make this statement about majority and minority?
He is reminding the party that lost the election (the minority) that their voice will also be heard. He is trying to build a connection with the Federalists, who lost the election.

10. In sentence six Jefferson pleads against “political intolerance.” To what does he compare this political intolerance? What is the effect of this comparison?
He compares it to religious intolerance which had been “banished from our land.” He suggests that the political intolerance must also be banished. (Note: This is an allusion to the Alien and Sedition Acts passed by the Federalists, the opposing party, in 1798 and to which Jefferson and his party were strongly opposed.)

11. In sentence seven Jefferson uses juxtaposition — placing two ideas close together, usually for comparison — to emphasize the idea of political tolerance. Identify the two ideas and explain the effect of this comparison.
Jefferson says “every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.” He compares “difference of opinion” and “difference of principle,” reminding his audience that they may have one without the other. They may differ in their opinion but that does not mean that their principles are different. Jefferson focuses on the similarities of his audience by focusing on the fact that the members of his audience share principles.

12. In sentence eight Jefferson uses antithesis, setting two ideas in direct contrast. How does this support sentence seven, encouraging the idea of political tolerance?
He restates sentence seven. He contrasts “called by different names” and “brethren of the same principle.” He again emphasizes political tolerance by stating that “different names” does not necessarily mean “different principles.” He is reminding his audience that they share principles.

13. In sentence nine what is the significance of the fact that “republicans” and “federalists” are not capitalized?
Jefferson is speaking of the ideas of republicanism and federalism, not the political parties. He has de-emphasized political parties in the last two sentences and continues to do so in this sentence.

14. Sentence nine is perhaps the best known quotation from this speech. By saying, “We are all republicans: we are all federalists,” how does Jefferson emphasize the idea of political tolerance? How does this sentence contrast with sentences seven and eight?
In the previous two sentences he has deemphasized the importance of opinion and names and focused upon principles. He repeats that again in this sentence by reminding his audience that they all can believe in the principles of republicanism and federalism. Sentences seven and eight speak of differences; sentence nine speaks of inclusion.

In this excerpt Jefferson reaches out to the Federalist Party members in order to bridge the distance between his party, the Democratic Republicans, and the Federalists. How does Jefferson try to deemphasize the differences between the parties?

(4) During the contest of opinion through which we have past, the animation of discusions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely, and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the constitution all will of course arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. (5) All too will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression…. (6) And let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance, as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions…. (7) every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. (8) We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. (9) We are all republicans: we are all federalists. (10) If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it…. (11) I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest government on earth. (12) I believe it the only one, where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. (13) —Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. (14) Can he then be trusted with the government of others? (15) Or have we found angels, in the form of kings, to govern him? (16) Let history answer this question.

draft of inaugural address

Excerpt 3

Close Reading Questions

15. In sentence 17, Jefferson works to get all members of his audience committed to support of the government. How does he seek to accomplish this?
In the first part of the sentence he encourages everyone to pursue “our own federal and republican principles” but follows it up quickly, reminding his audience that they must remain attached “to union and representative government.” He emphasizes above all a commitment to “union and representative government.” He has again woven in the ideas of federalism and republicanism in this speech.

16. In sentence 18 Jefferson enumerates the blessings of America. What are some of the things he lists?

  1. separation by “nature and a wide ocean” from the “havoc of one quarter of the globe” (Europe)
  2. too “high minded” to endure the degradations of others
  3. lots of land—“room enough for our descendants…”
  4. “a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties”
  5. acquiring our own industry
  6. honor from our actions rather than birth
  7. a benign religion, “practiced in various forms”
  8. the “dispensations” of an “overruling providence”

(Note: item 7 may be a reference to the Virginia Declaration of Religious Freedom or the first amendment.)

17. When in sentence 18 Jefferson enumerates the blessings of America, he ends the sentence with a rhetorical question — “with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people?” What is the purpose of this long sentence and question?
Jefferson lays out his case to pursue American isolationism from the political intrigues of Europe, the “exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe.” He lists many of the differences between America and Europe. He also uses this sentence to introduce the next sentence, which highlights the importance of the American governmental system.

18. In sentence 19 Jefferson outlines responsibilities of the government. What are they?
He states that the government must be wise and frugal. It must keep order but also allow individual citizens to “regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement.” He also states that the government should not charge extraordinarily high taxes — it “shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”

Jefferson defines the roles of good government.

(17) Let us then, with courage and confidence, pursue our own federal and republican principles; our attachment to union and representative government. (18) 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 acquisitions 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 practised 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 here, and his greater happiness hereafter; with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? (19) 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. (20) This is the sum of good government; and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.

Excerpt 4

Close Reading Questions

19. In this excerpt Jefferson proceeds to outline his understanding of the principles of government. In sentence 22, he lists them. Why does Jefferson provide such a detailed list?
Jefferson is attempting to move his audience away from partisan politics and back to principles of government. He also is laying the groundwork for the government under his presidency.

20. In sentence 22, Jefferson speaks of “entangling alliances with none.” This phrasing was attributed to Washington’s farewell address, and even though the two men shared the same sentiment, Jefferson actually made the statement. Why did Jefferson refer back to this idea of Washington’s?
Jefferson is tying himself to George Washington and his legacy, the first president who was revered by many and who was a member of the opposing Federalist Party. (Note: Washington died only 15 months before this address.)

21. In sentence 23, to what previous event does Jefferson link the listed elements from sentence 22?
He links them back to the American Revolution and the Washington Administration when he says “these principles form the bright constellation, which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation.”

22. According to Jefferson, adherence to the principles listed in sentence 22 will lead to what three results?
In sentence 24 Jefferson states they will lead to “peace, liberty and safety”.

Activity: Jefferson's PresidencyActivity: Jefferson’s Presidency
Examine the ideas that Jefferson puts forth to define his administration.
Jefferson clarifies his view of government, explaining his victory in this election as an extension of the American Revolutionary principles.

(21) About to enter, fellow citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend every thing dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our government, and consequently those which ought to shape its administration. (22) I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations.— Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political:— peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none:— the support of the state governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies:— the preservation of the General government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home, and safety abroad:- a jealous care of the right of election by the people, a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided:— absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of the despotism:— a well disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace, and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them:— the supremacy of the civil over the military authority:— economy in the public expence, that labor may be lightly burthened:— the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith:— encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid:— the diffusion of information, and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason:— freedom of religion; freedom of the press; and freedom of person, under the protection of the Habeas Corpus:— and trial by juries impartially selected. (23) These principles form the bright constellation, which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. (24) The wisdom of our sages, and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment:— they should be the creed of our political faith; the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps, and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety.

Excerpt 5

Close Reading Questions

23. In sentence 25, what does Jefferson say are his expectations of being president?
He thinks that it will lead to a reduction of his reputation.

24. In sentence 26, Jefferson alludes (refers to something without actually naming it) to a previous president. Who is it?
He alludes to George Washington, our “first and greatest revolutionary character.” (Note: This is reminiscent of Richard Henry Lee’s eulogy of Washington, “first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.”)

25. Look at sentences 25 and 26 together. When Jefferson refers to a loss of reputation as president, to which former president does he refer?
There had only been two former presidents, Washington and Adams. In sentence 26 he refers to Washington as “our first and greatest… destined for him the fairest page in the volume of faithful history.” So he must be referring to Adams in sentence 25 as having lost his reputation or at least seen it diminished.

26. Why does Jefferson allude to this man in sentence 26?
He says that he is not presuming to be this prior president (Washington), but that he only asked that his audience be confident enough in him so that he may appropriately administer the government. He is connecting himself to the legacy of Washington.

27. In sentences 27, 28, and 29, Jefferson anticipates errors that he may make as president. How does he explain his potential errors?
He states that he might be wrong, and even when he is right, others will think him wrong. He asks for patience for his own errors and support when others condemn him unjustly.

28. In sentence 30, Jefferson moves to close his speech. What is he going to do next?
He is going to rely on the goodwill of his audience and proceed to serve as president until someone else is elected.

29. What is Jefferson asking for in sentence 31?
In this sentence Jefferson calls upon God, or “that infinite power, which rules the destinies of the universe” to guide and bless the government.

Activity: ReviewActivity: Review
Review the points Jefferson makes in his inaugural address.
In closing his speech, Jefferson ties his presidency to the legacy of George Washington and the Revolution and focuses on his job ahead.

(25) I have learnt to expect that it will rarely fall to the lot of imperfect man to retire from this station with the reputation, and the favor, which bring him into it. (26) Without pretensions to that high confidence you reposed in our first and greatest revolutionary character, whose pre-eminent services had entitled him to the first place in his country’s love, and destined for him the fairest page in the volume of faithful history, I ask so much confidence only as may give firmness and effect to the legal administration of your affairs. (27) I shall often go wrong through defect of judgment. (28) When right, I shall often be thought wrong by those whose positions will not command a view of the whole ground. (29) I ask your indulgence for my own errors, which will never be intentional; and your support against the errors of others, who may condemn what they would not if seen in all its parts.

(30) Relying then on the patronage of your good will, I advance with obedience to the work, ready to retire from it whenever you become sensible how much better choices it is in your power to make. (31) And may that infinite power, which rules the destinies of the universe, lead our councils to what is best, and give them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity.

Follow-up Assignment: Jefferson’s Principles

In his inaugural speech Jefferson clearly lists his view of government and how it should operate. How have Jefferson’s principles survived in America?

Choose one or more of the following principles listed by Jefferson in sentence 22 of this document. Your task is to research examples of how or if these principles survived in America, either successfully or unsuccessfully. Use specific examples from current events or history. Present your findings in a PowerPoint, Prezi, blog post, or other format as directed by your teacher.

  1. equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political
  2. peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none
  3. a well-disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace, and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them
  4. the supremacy of the civil over the military authority
  5. economy in the public expense
  6. encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid
  7. freedom of religion; freedom of the press; and freedom of person, under the protection of the Habeas Corpus
  8. trial by juries impartially selected

Vocabulary Pop-ups

  • avail: use to advantage
  • awful: filled with reverence
  • presentiments: former opinion
  • zeal: eagerness
  • sovereign: supreme
  • banished: driven away
  • despotic: unlimited in power
  • havoc: widespread destruction
  • degradations: reduction in value
  • acquisitions: gains
  • benign: gracious
  • inculcating: frequently teaching
  • dispensations: distributions
  • frugal: thrifty
  • felicities: blessings
  • bulwarks: defenses
  • lopped: cut off
  • acquiescence: quiet assent
  • economy: careful spending
  • handmaid: assistant
  • diffusion: spreading out
  • arraignment: accusing
  • impartially: without preference
  • creed: system of beliefs
  • pretensions: false claims
  • patronage: special support


  • “III. First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1801,” Founders Online, National Archives ( [last update: 2014-09-30]). Source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 33, 17 February–30 April 1801, ed. Barbara B. Oberg. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006, pp. 148–152.