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Thomas Jefferson had the petition process through the American Philosophical Society - a loose coalition of the early American educated elite and educational institutions.

Just added this to my collection - an original of the APS's appeal to Congress to repeal the tax and tariff on imported books and paper. The tariff was intended to protect American printers and paper manufacturers from foreign competition.


In the end - like most tariffs - it hurt the intended beneficiaries. The tariffs become a de facto tax on domestic printers who needed to use imported paper, and, more importantly, on readers.

As Thomas Jefferson put it, books "locked up in libraries can be of no avail to the practical man when he wishes a recurrence to them for the uses of life."

The plea fell on deaf ears, however, and the tariffs remained in place for several decades to come.