Jefferson and Liberty

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      Emotions ran high during the months prior to the election of 1800. Many who felt that laws passed during President Adams' administration, particularly the Alien and Sedition Acts, had infringed on their constitutional rights now looked to Jefferson as a symbol of freedom from oppressive government. Jefferson was elected in what has been called the "Revolution of 1800." The feeling of many people for the President-elect is reflected in the following verses, which were sung to a traditional Irish tune.


      The gloomy night before us flies,

      The reign of terror now is o'er;

      Its gags, inquisitors, and spies,

      Its herds of harpies are no more!


      Rejoice! Columbia's sons, rejoice!

      To tyrants never bend the knee;

      But join with heart and soul and voice,

      For Jefferson and Liberty.


      His country's glory, hope, and stay,

      In virtue and in talents tried,

      Now rises to assume the sway,

      O'er freedom's temple to preside.


      No lordling here, with gorging jaws,

      Shall wring from industry the food;

      Nor fiery bigot's holy laws

      Lay waste our fields and streets in blood.


      Here strangers, from a thousand shores,

      Compelled by tyranny to roam,

      Shall find, amidst abundant stores,

      A nobler and a happier home.


      Here art shall lift her laureled head,

      Wealth, industry, and peace divine;

      And where dark, pathless forests spread,

      Rich fields and lofty cities shine.


      From Europe's wants and woes remote,

      A friendly waste of waves between,

      Here plenty cheers the humblest cot,

      And smiles on every village green.


      Let foes to freedom dread the name;

      But should they touch the sacred tree,

      Twice fifty thousand swords would flame

      For Jefferson and Liberty.

Source: Songs, Odes, and Other Poems on National Subjects, compiled by William McCarty, 1842, pp. 172-175.

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Universalium. 2010.

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