Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 1.djvu/227

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Ch. 7.

In the year 1824 Jefferson still maintained the same doctrine, and expressed it more concisely than ever:—

"The federal is in truth our foreign government, which department alone is taken from the sovereignty of the separate States."[1] "I recollect no case where a question simply between citizens of the same State has been transferred to the foreign department, except that of inhibiting tenders but of metallic money, and ex post facto legislation."[2]

These expressions, taken together, partly explain why Jefferson thought his assumption of power to be "as real a revolution in the principles of our government as that of 1776 was in its form." His view of governmental functions was simple and clearly expressed. The national government, as he conceived it, was a foreign department as independent from the domestic department, which belonged to the States, as though they were governments of different nations. He intended that the general government should "be reduced to foreign concerns only;" and his theory of foreign concerns was equally simple and clear. He meant to enforce against foreign nations such principles as national objects required, not by war, but by "peaceable coercion" through commercial

  1. Jefferson to Robert J. Garnett, Feb. 14, 1824; Works, vii. 336.
  2. Jefferson to Edward Livingston, April 4, 1824; Works, vii. 342.