… that all should be satisfied with any one order of things is not to be expected: but I indulge the pleasing persuasion that the great body of our citizens will cordially concur in honest and disinterested [objective, lacking a personal agenda] efforts, which have for their object to preserve the general & state governments in their constitutional form & equilibrium; to maintain peace abroad, & order & obedience to the laws at home; to establish principles & practices of administration favorable to the security of liberty & property; & to reduce expences to what is necessary for the useful purposes of government.
First Annual Message, November 27, 1801
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Effective leaders limit and define their goals, and make them very clear to all.
This ends President Jefferson’s first annual address, known now as the State of the Union Address, from which the last few posts have been taken. Such a report is required by the Constitution, Article II, Section 3. (This requirement is not an annual one. The Constitution says only the President shall do so “from time to time.” I suppose President Washington established the precedent of a yearly address, and his successors continued it.)
Just preceding this exceprt, Jefferson praised Congress for its “collected wisdom … prudence & temperance” as they worked for the good of their citizens. He concludes with these observations:
1. Not everyone will be pleased with each of their actions.
2. Yet, if they are honest and objective, they will enjoy great public favor, so long as they remember their limited responsibilities to:
– Preserve the national and state governments as outlined in the Constitution
– Maintain peaceful relations with other countries
– Maintain order and respect for the law within the nation
– Continue to establish and secure the rights of personal liberty and property
– Reduce the cost of the national government, limiting it to its Constitutional principles