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.
1st Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Empowering leaders encourage citizens’ industry and protect their labor.
In recognition of Labor Day, 2015, celebrated yesterday:
Acknowledging Providential blessing on America, what more was needed? “A wise and frugal government” whose intrusion was minimal, limited to restraining people from hurting one another. Beyond that, people should be left to their own “industry and improvement.” Government “shall not take” (read: tax) the fruit of their labor.
The government’s footprint during the Washington and Adam’s administrations had extended beyond what Jefferson thought proper. So had the taxation necessary to pay for it. He sought an elimination of internal taxes and reported that accomplished in his second inaugural address four years later.
How was government to support its limited functions? By duties (taxes) on imported goods. Only those with significant disposable income could afford luxuries from Europe. That put the tax burden on the well-to-do, leaving ordinary Americans exempt from the tax collector.