How Did Thomas Jefferson Feel About the New Constitution?

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The new Constitution of the United States of America, drafted in September of 1787 and finally ratified by all 13 states in 1790, was met with substantial approval from Thomas Jefferson. He did, however, disagree about a number of issues, many of which were handled by later amendments.

Thomas Jefferson summarized his thoughts about the new Constitution in a letter to Francis Hopkinson dated March 13, 1789. In that letter, Jefferson approved, as he put it, of the "great mass" of the new Constitution. In particular, he endorsed the consolidation of government, and its organization into the executive, legislative and judiciary branches. He also favored the bicameral nature of the legislature, as well as the different manner of voting between the two, which in his view allowed a "happy compromise" between the interests of the more and less populated states. Jefferson also concurred with the federal government's power of taxation.

His concerns about abrogation of individual rights by the legislature, as well as the executive, were addressed in the Bill of Rights, which was ratified and added to the Constitution in 1791. His interest in term limits for the executive, however, was not addressed until the 22nd Amendment limited the executive to two terms. Congress passed the amendment in 1947, and all states ratified it in 1951.