“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of
tyranny over the mind of man.”
Jefferson—and the other Founding Fathers—meant it. They did not confine
their efforts to the battle against theocracy and monarchy; they fought, on the
same grounds, invoking the same principle of individual rights—against
democracy, i.e., the system of unlimited majority rule. They recognized that
the cause of freedom is not advanced by the multiplication of despots, and they
did not propose to substitute the tyranny of a mob for that of a handful of
autocrats . . . .
When the framers of the American republic spoke of “the people,” they did not
mean a collectivist organism one part of which was authorized to consume the
rest. They meant a sum of individuals, each of whom—whether strong or weak,
rich or poor—retains his inviolate guarantee of individual rights.