Inauguration Day

The Hon GWB begins his second term today. I sincerely wish him well. May he execute his duties as our commander-in-chief with all possible wisdom and righteousness. God bless him and Godd bless our Republic.

I wish to leave my fellow soldiers here with thoughts from another President's Inaugural Address:

<!--FILE=/elections/pri/Q00060:--><!--PDT=960930--><!--field database--><!--index pri--><!--field contents-->Document: Thomas Jefferson: First Inaugural Address





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Thomas Jefferson: First Inaugural Address

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Wednesday, March 4, 1801


Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive
office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that
portion of my fellow-citizens which is here assembled to express
my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased
to look toward me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the
task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those
anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge
and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire. A rising nation,
spread over a wide and fruitful land, traversing all the seas
with the rich productions of their industry, engaged in commerce
with nations who feel power and forget right, advancing rapidly
to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye-when I contemplate
these transcendent objects, and see the honor, the happiness,
and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the issue,
and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation,
and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking. Utterly,
indeed, should I despair did not the presence of many whom I
here see remind me that in the other high authorities provided
by our Constitution I shall find resources of wisdom, of virtue,
and of zeal on which to rely under all difficulties. To you,
then, gentlemen, who are charged with the sovereign functions
of legislation, and to those associated with you, I look with
encouragement for that guidance and support which may enable
us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked
amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world.


During the contest of opinion through which we have passed
the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes
worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think
freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being
now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according
to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange
themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts
for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred
principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases
to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that
the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must
protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens,
unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social
intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty
and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect
that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance
under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained
little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic,
as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.
During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during
the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood
and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that
the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant
and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared
by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to
measures of safety. 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 would 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. I know, indeed,
that some honest men fear that a republican government can not
be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would
the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment,
abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm
on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the
world's best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve
itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest
Government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man,
at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law,
and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal
concern. Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with
the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the
government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of
kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.


Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal
and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative
government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from
the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; too high-minded
to endure the degradations of the others; possessing a chosen
country, with room enough for our descendants to the thousandth
and thousandth generation; entertaining a due sense of our equal
right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisitions of
our own industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow-citizens,
resulting not from birth, but from our actions and their sense
of them; enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed,
and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating
honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man;
acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by
all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness
of man here and his greater happiness hereafter-with all these
blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous
people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens-a wise and frugal
Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another,
shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits
of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth
of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government,
and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.

About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties
which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is
proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles
of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape
its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest
compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not
all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of
whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace,
commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling
alliances with none
; the support of the State governments in
all their rights, as the most competent administrations for
our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against antirepublican
tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its
whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace
at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election
by the people-a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are
lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are
unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority,
the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but
to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism;
a well disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for
the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them; the
supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy
in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened;
the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the
public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce
as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment
of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion;
freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection
of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected.
These principles form the bright constellation which has gone
before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution
and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes
have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed
of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone
by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we
wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten
to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads
to peace, liberty, and safety.


I repair, then, fellow-citizens, to the post you have assigned
me. With experience enough in subordinate offices to have seen
the difficulties of this the greatest of all, I have learnt
to expect that it will rarely fall to the lot of imperfect man
to retire from this station with the reputation and the favor
which bring him into it. Without pretensions to that high confidence
you reposed in our first and greatest revolutionary character,
whose preeminent services had entitled him to the first place
in his country's love and destined for him the fairest page
in the volume of faithful history, I ask so much confidence
only as may give firmness and effect to the legal administration
of your affairs. I shall often go wrong through defect of judgment.
When right, I shall often be thought wrong by those whose positions
will not command a view of the whole ground. I ask your indulgence
for my own errors, which will never be intentional, and your
support against the errors of others, who may condemn what they
would not if seen in all its parts. The approbation implied
by your suffrage is a great consolation to me for the past,
and my future solicitude will be to retain the good opinion
of those who have bestowed it in advance, to conciliate that
of others by doing them all the good in my power, and to be
instrumental to the happiness and freedom of all.

Relying, then, on the patronage of your good will, I advance
with obedience to the work, ready to retire from it whenever
you become sensible how much better choice it is in your power
to make. And may that Infinite Power which rules the destinies
of the universe lead our councils to what is best, and give
them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity.