Home  »  Respectfully Quoted  »  Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1591
AUTHOR: Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)
QUOTATION: Were our State a pure democracy, in which all its inhabitants should meet together to transact all their business, there would yet be excluded from their deliberations, 1. infants, until arrived at years of discretion. 2. Women, who, to prevent depravation of morals and ambiguity of issue, could not mix promiscuously in the public meetings of men. 3. Slaves, from whom the unfortunate state of things with us takes away the right of will and of property. Those then who have no will could be permitted to exercise none in the popular assembly; and of course, could delegate none to an agent in a representative assembly. The business, in the first case, would be done by qualified citizens only.
ATTRIBUTION: THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to Samuel Kercheval, September 5, 1816.—The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Paul L. Ford, vol. 10, pp. 45–46, footnote 1 (1899).
SUBJECTS: Representation