Thomas Jefferson Declares Equality A Sacred Principle

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THOMAS JEFFERSON FIRST INAUGURAL ADDRESS IN THE WASHINGTON, D.C., WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 1801

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…But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle.”

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.

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