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"A nation formed through a revolution needs to recognize that rebellion is an essential aspect of its character and its destiny. Jefferson's letter to Madison continued: "Unsuccessful rebellions indeed generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government." (Ethan Zuckerman, Mistrust: Why Losing Faith In Institutions Provides the Tools to Transform Them)

What does the emphasized part mean?

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There are reasons for rebellions. One reason is that people feel that they have been denied rights. An unsuccessful rebellion demonstrates what these violations (encroachments) are.

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alibey1917What does the emphasized part mean?

When people rebel, it is because the government has taken rights away from them. If the rebellion is unsuccessful, those rights are not returned to them, but instead the denial of those same rights is in fact established as the new norm.