Portrait of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson boasts about having reduced the size of government and eliminated a number of “vexatious” taxes (1805)

Found in: The Works, vol. 10 (Correspondence and Papers 1803-1807)

In Thomas Jefferson’s Second Inaugural Address of March 4, 1805 he boasted of having reduced the size and cost of government enough to eliminate a number of “vexatious” internal taxes which he feared might grow in number and eventually be applied to other goods:


At home, fellow citizens, you best know whether we have done well or ill. The suppression of unnecessary offices, of useless establishments and expenses, enabled us to discontinue our internal taxes. These covering our land with officers, and opening our doors to their intrusions, had already begun that process of domiciliary vexation which, once entered, is scarcely to be restrained from reaching successively every article of produce and property.