Following their terms as President, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams through their private correspondence demonstrated that shared values should supersede disputes over partisan disagreements.  In an exchange related to differentiating natural from artificial aristocracies:

[Thomas Jefferson] reminded [John Adams] of the law, fathered by [Jefferson], by means of which [Virginia] got rid of entails and primogeniture.

[Source: D. Malone, The Sage of Monticello (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1981), p. 239.]

Definition from Dictionary.com:  n. the act of limiting the passage of (a landed estate) to a specified line of heirs, so that it cannot be alienated, devised, or bequeathed.

Wikipedia describes:  “The purpose of an entail was to keep the land of a family intact in the main line of succession. The heir to an entailed estate could not sell the land, nor usually bequeath it to, for example, an illegitimate child. The complications arising from entails were an important factor in the life of many of the upper classes, especially from about the late 17th to the early 19th centuries, leaving many individuals wealthy in land but still heavily in debt.”

This post is part of a series, in which I look up words from my reading.  These entries include foreign phrases, archaic and technical terms, and words for which my understanding is too approximate for my liking.

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