Thomas Jefferson quotes

By | 03.08.2022
thomas-jefferson-quotes

I cannot live without books. Thomas Jefferson quotes

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. Thomas Jefferson

When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, an hundred. Thomas Jefferson

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. Thomas Jefferson

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. Thomas Jefferson

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened! Thomas Jefferson

When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred. Thomas Jefferson

I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. Thomas Jefferson

Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. Thomas Jefferson

Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom. Thomas Jefferson

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. Thomas Jefferson

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. Thomas Jefferson

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual. Thomas Jefferson

The legitimate powers of government extend to ch acts only as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. Thomas Jefferson

Be polite to all, but intimate with few. Thomas Jefferson

No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free, no one ever will. Thomas Jefferson

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government. Thomas Jefferson

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers. Thomas Jefferson

History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is. Thomas Jefferson

Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread. Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography

Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny. Thomas Jefferson

I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale. Thomas Jefferson

I sincerely believe… that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

The happiness of the domestic fireside is the first boon of Heaven; and it is well it is so, since it is that which is the lot of the mass of mankind. Thomas Jefferson

On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property. Thomas Jefferson

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories. Thomas Jefferson

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. Thomas Jefferson

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. Thomas Jefferson

He who knows best knows how little he knows. Thomas Jefferson

In truth, politeness is artificial good humor, it covers the natural want of it, and ends by rendering habitual a substitute nearly equivalent to the real virtue. Thomas Jefferson

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. Thomas Jefferson

I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. Thomas Jefferson

The earth belongs to the living, not to the dead. Thomas Jefferson

We never repent of having eaten too little. Thomas Jefferson

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine. Thomas Jefferson

We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority. Thomas Jefferson

I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. Thomas Jefferson

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them. Thomas Jefferson

A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference. Thomas Jefferson

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. Thomas Jefferson

How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened. Thomas Jefferson

Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching. Thomas Jefferson

Delay is preferable to error. Thomas Jefferson

I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another. Thomas Jefferson

Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry… Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it. Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Thomas Jefferson

A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Thomas Jefferson

I have observed, indeed, generally, that while in protestant countries the defections from the Platonic Christianity of the priests is to Deism, in catholic countries they are to Atheism. Diderot, D’Alembert, D’Holbach, Condorcet, are known to have been among the most virtuous of men. Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God. Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty. Thomas Jefferson

The most successful war seldom pays for its losses. Thomas Jefferson

I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. Thomas Jefferson

Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances. Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

One man with courage is a majority. Thomas Jefferson

I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. Thomas Jefferson

The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. … What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure. Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

One travels more usefully when alone because he reflects more. Thomas Jefferson

Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. . . . would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world’s best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Thomas Jefferson

I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give. Thomas Jefferson

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing. Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people. Thomas Jefferson

All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view. The palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of god. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them. Thomas Jefferson

I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self-evident, that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living. . . . We seem not to perceive that, by the law of nature, one generation is to another as one independent nation is to another. . . . The earth belongs always to the living generations. Thomas Jefferson

There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people. Thomas Jefferson

…legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

To make us one nation as to foreign concerns, and keep us distinct in Domestic ones gives the outline of the proper division of powers between the general [national] and particular [state] governments. Thomas Jefferson

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. Thomas Jefferson

…vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of ’76 now look to a single and splendid government of an Aristocracy, founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry. Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny. Thomas Jefferson

I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their gen’l mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under European governments. Thomas Jefferson

Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful. Man has no nobler or more valuable possession than time. Thomas Jefferson

To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. Thomas Jefferson

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. . . .I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere. Thomas Jefferson

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccesful rebellions indeed generally establish the incroachments 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 medecine necessary for the sound health of government. Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

Never spend your money before you have earned it. Thomas Jefferson

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe. Thomas Jefferson

If the happiness of the mass of the people can be secured at the expense of a little tempest now and then or even a little blood, it will be a precious purchase. Thomas Jefferson

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost. Thomas Jefferson

I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves ; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power. Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. Thomas Jefferson

Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth. Let us reflect that it is inhabited by a thousand millions of people. That these profess probably a thousand different systems of religion. That ours is but one of that thousand. That if there be but one right, and ours that one, we should wish to see the 999 wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free enquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves. Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia

It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness. Thomas Jefferson

He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. Thomas Jefferson

I am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever. . . . Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all. Thomas Jefferson

Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and opressions of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day. Thomas Jefferson

Whereas it appeareth that however certain forms of government are better calculated than others to protect individuals in the free exercise of their natural rights, and are at the same time themselves better guarded against degeneracy, yet experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, ….whence it becomes expedient for promoting the publick happiness that those persons, whom nature hath endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens, and that they should be called to that charge without regard to wealth, birth or accidental condition of circumstance. Thomas Jefferson

The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time. Thomas Jefferson

Money, not morality, is the principle of commerce of civilized nations. Thomas Jefferson

Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. [That age though] was very like the present, but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading. Thomas Jefferson

He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it the second time. Thomas Jefferson

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