A letter from a reader: Post the Jefferson papers online

July 16, 2008:

The full Jefferson papers need to be on line in copyable and Google-searchable form.  

After all, as Professor Barbara Oberg, the general editor of the Jefferson papers, said (feature, May 14, 2003): "It's a national disgrace that the papers of the Founding Fathers are not available at the beginning of the 21st century." 

"The lost cannot be recovered," Jefferson wrote, "but let us save what remains: not by vaults and locks which fence them from the public eye and use, in consigning them to the waste of time, but by such a multiplication of copies, as shall place them beyond the reach of accident."   

The letters of the founding democracy need to get out to the democracies. Princeton needs to put what it has online.

Andrews & Kurth Centennial Professor of Law
The University of Texas School of Law
Austin, Texas

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