Thomas Jefferson - Letter to Spencer Roane

Thomas Jefferson wrote many, many letters during his lifetime.  On September 6, 1819, he wrote to Spencer Roane.  This image depicts that letter which is maintained by the Library of Congress.

It was nineteen years after Jefferson had won the presidential election of 1800.  In this letter, the former President and Declaration author observes the election of 1800 was like another revolution for America.

The Library’s curators tell us more about this document:

Jefferson viewed the presidential election of 1800, which won him the presidency, as a second American Revolution.  Jefferson believed in "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 its will by dismissing functionaries of one principle, and electing those of another in the two branches, executive and legislative, submitted to their election."

By way of further background for this letter, in 1800 Tom Jefferson, a strong believer in states’ rights, defeated John Adams, a strong believer in federal power.

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Library of Congress.




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