Thomas Jefferson Quotes (427 Quotes)


    Agriculture, manufactures, commerce and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.

    We are endeavoring, too, to reduce the government to the practice of a rigorous economy, to avoid burdening the people, and arming the magistrate with patronage of money, which might be used to corrupt and undermine the principles of our government

    I place economy among the first and important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.

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

    History, by apprising (men) of the past, will enable them to judge of the future, it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations


    No duty the Executive had to perform was so trying as to put the right man in the right place.


    He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

    The natural cause of the human mind is certainly from credulity to skepticism.

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

    Friendship is but another name for an alliance with the follies and the misfortunes of others. Our own share of miseries is sufficient: why enter then as volunteers into those of another?

    Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail.

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

    Politics is such a torment that I advise everyone I love not to mix with it.

    Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.

    Wisdom I know is social. She seeks her fellows. But Beauty is jealous, and illy bears the presence of a rival.

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


    If some period be not fixed, either by the Constitution or by practice, to the services of the First Magistrate, his office, though nominally elective, will, in fact, be for life, and that will soon degenerate into an inheritance.

    I believe that justice is instinct and innate, the moral sense is as much a part of our constitution as the threat of feeling, seeing and hearing.


    That peace, safety, and concord may be the portion of our native land, and be long enjoyed by our fellow-citizens, is the most ardent wish of my heart, and if I can be instrumental in procuring or preserving them, I shall think I have not lived in va

    There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.

    A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither

    I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its creed and conscience to neither kings nor priests, the genuine doctrine of only one God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in.

    No nation is drunken where wine is cheap and none sober, where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as the common beverage. It is, in truth, the only antidote to the bane of whiskey.

    Yet the hour of emancipation is advancing . . . this enterprise is for the young for those who can follow it up, and bear it through to it's consummation. it shall have all my prayers, and these are the only weapons of an old man.

    Thomas Jeffersons Decalogue of Canons V. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.

    (Academics) commit their pupils to the theatre of the world, with just taste enough of learning to be alienated from industrial pursuits, and not enough to do service in the ranks of science

    Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor - over each other.

    Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.

    Sound principles will not justify our taxing the industry of our fellow citizens to accumulate treasure for wars to happen we know not when, and which might not perhaps happen but from the temptations offered by that treasure

    Offices are as acceptable here as elsewhere, and whenever a man has cast a longing eye on them, a rottenness begins in his conduct

    Defamation is becoming a necessity of life inasmuch as a dish of tea in the morning or evening cannot be digested without this stimulant

    It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more completely deprive the nation of its benefits than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood

    The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government

    Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But 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 right of an individual.

    The firmness with which the people have withstood the late abuses of the press, the discernment they have manifested between truth and falsehood, show that they may safely be trusted to hear everything true and false, and to form a correct judgment b

    The unsuccessful strugglers against tyranny have been the chief martyrs of treason laws in all countries

    Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on. The small landowners are the most precious part of a state.

    The selfish spirit of commerce knows no country, and feels no passion of principle but that of gain


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

    It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.

    A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.

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

    All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

    No instance exists of a person's writing two language perfectly. That will always appear to be his native language which was most familiar to him in his youth.

    Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.

    The summum bonum with me is now truly Epicurean, ease of body and tranquility of mind and to these I wish to consign my remaining days


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