Thomas Jefferson letter to William King, 1819

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


Thomas Jefferson wrote this letter to William King, who became Maine's first governor in 1820, responding to the copy of the Maine State Constitution, dated November 17, 1819.

Jefferson commended King, but also reminded him about the importance of political representation and democracy, noting that under Maine’s constitution, the rights of individuals were usurped by corporate towns, saying,
"Equal representation is so fundamental a principle in a true republic that no prejudices can justify its violation because the prejudice themselves cannot be justified. The claims of the corporate towns in this case, like those of the barons in England have forced the body of the nation to accept a government by capitulation, these equal rights of the people at large are forced to yield to the privileges of a few."

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About This Item

  • Title: Thomas Jefferson letter to William King, 1819
  • Creator: Thomas Jefferson
  • Creation Date: 1819-11-19
  • Subject Date: 1819-11-19
  • Locations:
    • Monticello, VA
    • ME
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Dimensions: 13 cm x 19 cm
  • Local Code: Coll. S-5531, Misc. Box 125/3
  • Collection: Wallace H. White autograph collection
  • Object Type: Text

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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