Jefferson on Original Intent

"On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."

--Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), letter to Judge William Johnson, (from Monticello, June 12, 1823)