“How powerfully did we feel the energy of this organization [of wards] in the case of [the] embargo [prohibiting imports from England]?

“I felt the foundations of the government shaken under my feet by the New England townships [wards]. There was not an individual in the State [of Massachusetts] whose body was not thrown with all its momentum into action; and although the whole of the other States were known to be in favor of the measure, yet the organization of this little…minority enabled it to overrule the Union.

“What would the unwieldy counties of the Middle, the South, and the West do? Call a county meeting, and the drunken loungers at and about the courthouses would have collected, the distances being too great for the good people and the industrious generally to attend. The character of those who really met would have been the measure of the weight they would have had in the scale of public opinion. As Cato, then, concluded every speech with the words, ‘Carthago delenda est,’ so do I [conclude] every opinion, with the injunction, ‘divide the counties into wards!’”
(Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph C. Cabell The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 14:421-23. 1816.)

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