Portrait of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson on the Unity of the Nation

Found in: The Works of Thomas Jefferson, 12 vols.

This quotation from Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address marks the culmination of what Jefferson called the Revolution of 1800. That year witnessed a particularly bitter partisan contest, narrowly won by Jefferson, against his once close friend and fellow revolutionary, the incumbent President, John Adams.


But every difference of opinion, is not a difference of principle. We have called, by different names, brethren of the same principle. We are all republicans: we are all federalists. If there be any among us who 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. (FROM: Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801)