On the forums over at my Liberty Classroom, a member asks Brion McClanahan, one of our faculty members: “You mention in part one of Mr. Lincoln’s War that Jefferson believed there would eventually be multiple American federal republics. Can you tell me where to find more information on his thoughts regarding this?”

Professor McClanahan replied:

Jefferson made several statements in support of “separate confederacies,” decentralization, and secession throughout his life. In Virginia, he advocated something he called “ward republics.” In essence, Jefferson contended that a republic should be small enough that everyone could realistically participate in the political process.

In his 1801 inaugural address, Jefferson suggested that those who wished to secede from the Union should be free to do so, and he backed that up in several letters from that point forward (and of course this is not including the Declaration of Independence).

In 1804 he wrote Dr. Joseph Priestley about the prospects of a western confederacy.

In 1816, he expressed similar ideas to William Crawford.

His statements, by the way, also echoed what many in the founding generation thought about Union in 1787 and 1788. Union was only possible if the central government concentrated on the general interests of the Union (commerce and defense) and left all else to the States.

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles


Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog


State of the Nullification Movement

232 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report


Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty


Maharrey Minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens. maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues - history, and application today


Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!



The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment



Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.