[F]rom Saratoga [N.Y.] till we got back to Northampton [Mass.], was then mostly desert. Now it is what 34. years of free and good government have made it. It shews how soon the labor of man would make a paradise of the whole earth, were it not for misgovernment, and a diversion of all his energies from their proper object, the happiness of man, to the selfish interests of kings, nobles and priests.
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), U.S. president. Letter, August 27, 1825, to his granddaughter, Ellen Randolph Coolidge. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 457, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).