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Jefferson, Madison, and the Making of the Constitution$
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Jeff Broadwater

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469651019

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651019.001.0001

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Confusion … Must Stifle All Enterprize

Confusion … Must Stifle All Enterprize

1784—1786

Chapter:
(p.102) Five Confusion … Must Stifle All Enterprize
Source:
Jefferson, Madison, and the Making of the Constitution
Author(s):

Jeff Broadwater

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651019.003.0005

As a member of the Virginia assembly, Madison enjoyed considerable success in continuing the process of legal reform Jefferson had begun during the American Revolution, although his efforts to address Congress’s fiscal woes proved unavailing. Defeat of the general assessment bill in Virginia and passage of Jefferson’s Bill for Religious Freedom illustrated to Madison how a multitude of factions, in this case religious denominations, could be exploited to protect liberty. Meanwhile, Jefferson and Madison continued to wrestle with the issue of constitutional reform at the state level, and Jefferson’s ideal of a republic of yeomen farmers, as set forth in his Notes on the State of Virginia, predisposed him to support a central government strong enough to support American trade abroad and American expansion westward. Otherwise, his expectations for Congress were modest. Both men expressed opposition to slavery, but they could do little more than secure adoption of state laws ending the African slave trade and permitting private manumissions.

Keywords:   Virginia assembly, legal reform, general assessment, Bill for Religious Freedom, yeoman farmers, Notes on the State of Virginia, private manumissions, slave trade

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