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Debunking Constitutional Myths


  "Thomas Jefferson did not write the Constitution," declared Hamline Law Professor Sharon Sandeen during Hamline's Constitution Day observance earlier this month, dispelling a misimpression often held by lawyers and non-lawyers alike.  Professor Sandeen then explained how Jefferson's writings, though, have greatly shaped constitutional interpretation, especially in the Intellectual Property field.  She said that a letter from Jefferson to Missouri State Representative Isaac McPherson in 1813 stated that he believed that ideas should be freely spread from one to another around the globe.  He believed invention could not be a subject of property, but that inventors could be granted rights to the profits of their inventions.  Professor Sandeen said that this letter is the most cited text in the fields of patent and copyright.