"Democracy's the worst form of government except for all the others." Winston Churchill Freedom has a thousand charms to show that slaves, howe'er contented cannot know. William Cowper Do, or do not. There is no 'try' Yoda God is a comedian playing to a audience too afraid to laugh Voltaire
American Character "It is part of the American character to consider nothing as desperate." Thomas Jefferson http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.70AD Anger When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, one hundred. Thomas Jefferson Arms For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well organized and armed militia is their best security. Thomas Jefferson Source: Eighth Annual Message, November 8, 1808 No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government. Thomas Jefferson "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walk." Thomas Jefferson Source: in a letter written in Paris to his nephew and ward Peter Carr, Foley, ed., Encyclopedia of Thomas Jefferson, p. 318. http://liberty-tree.ca/qb/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.B699 Banks I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a moneyed aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs. Thomas Jefferson If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. Thomas Jefferson The system of banking [is] a blot left in all our Constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction... I sincerely believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity ... is but swindling futurity on a large scale. Thomas Jefferson "I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that 'all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are preserved to the states or to the people.' ... To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition. The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill (chartering the first Bank of the United States), have not, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution." Thomas Jefferson Be Quiet If a member finds that it is not the inclination of the House to hear him, and that by conversation or any other noise they endeavor to drown his voice, it is his most prudent way to submit to the pleasure of the House, and sit down. Thomas Jefferson Source:Hind's Precedents of the US House Benefits "Those who bear equally the burthens of Government should equally participate of its benefits." Thomas Jefferson Bigotry "We shall have our follies without doubt. Some one or more of them will always be afloat. But ours will be the follies of enthusiasm, not of bigotry, not of Jesuitism. Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both." Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to John Adams, August 1, 1816 Books "I cannot live without books." Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to John Adams, June 10, 1815 http://liberty-tree.ca/qb/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.1162 Bread "Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread." -- Thomas Jefferson Censorship "I am really mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, a fact like this can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too, as an offence against religion; that a question about the sale of a book can be carried before the civil magistrate. Is this then our freedom of religion? And are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule for what we are to read, and what we must believe? It is an insult to our citizens to question whether they are rational beings or not, and blasphemy against religion to suppose it cannot stand the test of truth and reason." Thomas Jefferson Source: Letter, 19 April 1814 Change Where a new invention promises to be useful, it ought to be tried. Thomas Jefferson Choice "Choice by the people themselves is not generally distinguished for its wisdom." Thomas Jefferson Source: 1776, Jefferson’s Literary Commonplace Book, Wilson, ed., 1989, p. 11. Church and State Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, I contemplate with solemn 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 and State. Thomas Jefferson "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 quoted by Gerard Straub in "Salvation for Sale" "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own" Thomas Jefferson, 1814 "Our particular principles of religion are a subject of accountability to our god alone. I enquire after no man's and trouble none with mine; nor is it given to us in this life to know whether yours or mine, our friend's or our foe's, are exactly the right." Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Source: letter to Miles King, September 26, 1814 Cities "I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health and the liberties of man. True, they nourish some of the elegant arts; but the useful ones can thrive elsewhere; and less perfection in the others, with more health, virtue and freedom, would be my choice." Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to Benjamin Rush, 1800. ME 10:173 Citizen Soldier "Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state." Thomas Jefferson Source:http://liberty-tree.ca/qb/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.B723 Constitution "I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people' (10th Amendment). To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible to any definition." Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to George Washington,15 February, 1791 "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." Thomas Jefferson Source:http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.A277 "The constitutions of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property and freedom of the press." Thomas Jefferson Source:http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.ACF7 "The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the States are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign affairs. Let the General Government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our General Government may be reduced to a very simple organization, and a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants." Thomas Jefferson Source: March 1800 http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.B95A Cool Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances. Thomas Jefferson Source:Power Negotiating Corporations "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." Thomas Jefferson, 1812 Source:Liberty Quotes Correction "If we keep together we shall be safe, and when error is so apparent as to become visible to the majority, they will correct it." Thomas Jefferson Dependence "Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition." Thomas Jefferson Source: Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XIX, 1787 http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.0422 Despotism (i.e. Bushism) "Force (is) the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism." Thomas Jefferson Source:http://liberty-tree.ca/qb/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.DE83 An elective despotism was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on true free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among general bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others. Thomas Jefferson We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a feather bed. Thomas Jefferson Debt "I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared." Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to William Plumer, July 21, 1816 http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.1156 ...we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds... Thomas Jefferson "We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds... [we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers... And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for [another ]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression." Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President Source: Letter to Samuel Kercheval, Monticello, July 12, 1816 http://liberty-tree.ca/qb/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.0564 Declaration of Independence May [the Declaration of Independence] be to the world, what I believe it will be (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all), the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to Roger Weightman on June 24, 1826. It was his last letter, written ten days before his death - July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence 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. - Declaration of Independence of the United States of America When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation. 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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, having its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. . . . Thomas Jefferson Declaration of Rights "By a declaration of rights, I mean one which shall stipulate freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of commerce against monopolies, trial by juries in all cases, no suspensions of the habeas corpus, no standing armies. These are fetters against doing evil which no honest government should decline." Thomas Jefferson Source:Liberty Quotes Delay Delay is preferable to error. Education "I have indeed two great measures at heart, without which no republic can maintain itself in strength: 1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds, of such size that all the children of each will be within reach of a central school in it." Thomas Jefferson Source: in a letter to John Tyler, 1810. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition 12:393 (Lipscomb and Bergh, editors), 1903-04 http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.2AC9 "I... [proposed] three distinct grades of education, reaching all classes. 1. Elementary schools for all children generally, rich and poor. 2. Colleges for a middle degree of instruction, calculated for the common purposes of life and such as should be desirable for all who were in easy circumstances. And 3d. an ultimate grade for teaching the sciences generally and in their highest degree... The expenses of [the elementary] schools should be borne by the inhabitants of the county, every one in proportion to his general tax-rate. This would throw on wealth the education of the poor." -- Thomas Jefferson Source: Thomas Jefferson Autobiography, 1821 The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition 1:70 (Lipscomb and Bergh, editors), 1903-04 http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.62B3 "Is it a right or a duty in society to take care of their infant members in opposition to the will of the parent? How far does this right and duty extend? --to guard the life of the infant, his property, his instruction, his morals? The Roman father was supreme in all these: we draw a line, but where? --public sentiment does not seem to have traced it precisely... It is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation and education of the infant against the will of the father... What is proposed... is to remove the objection of expense, by offering education gratis, and to strengthen parental excitement by the disfranchisement of his child while uneducated. Society has certainly a right to disavow him whom they offer, and are permitted to qualify for the duties of a citizen. If we do not force instruction, let us at least strengthen the motives to receive it when offered." Thomas Jefferson Source: Note to Elementary School Act, 1817 The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition 17:423 (Lipscomb and Bergh, editors), 1903-04 http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.2917 Election Example "I could think of no worse example for nations abroad, who for the first time were trying to put free electoral procedures into effect, than that of the United States wrangling over the results of our presidential election, and even suggesting that the presidency itself could be stolen by thievery at the ballot box." -- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President Source:Liberty Quotes Elite "The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite." Thomas Jefferson http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.992B Environment "While the farmer holds the title to the land, actually, it belongs to all the people because civilization itself rests upon the soil." Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) quoted in the Des Moines Register, July 8, 1979. http://www.epa.gov/Region2/library/quotes.htm Enemy "An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes." Thomas Jefferson Equal Rights Equal rights for all, special privileges for none. Thomas Jefferson Expectations If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be. Thomas Jefferson Error and Government "It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself." -- Thomas Jefferson Source: Notes on the State of Virginia, 1782 Fear When the government fears the people there is liberty; when the people fear the government there is tyranny. Thomas Jefferson I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master. Thomas Jefferson God who gave us life, gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever. Thomas Jefferson Federal Judiciary "The germ of dissolution of our federal government is in...the federal judiciary; an irresponsible body, (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow,) working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little to-day and a little to-morrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States." Thomas Jefferson, 1821 "The judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric. They are construing our constitution from a coordination of a general and special government to a general and supreme one alone. This will lay all things at their feet... We shall see if they are bold enough to take the daring stride their five lawyers have lately taken. If they do, then... I will say, that 'against this every man should raise his voice,' and more, should uplift his arm." Thomas Jefferson Source: (Letter to T. Ritchie, 1820). THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 152-153 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955) Fence Setters "Where the principle of difference [between political parties] is as substantial and as strongly pronounced as between the republicans and the monocrats of our country, I hold it as honorable to take a firm and decided part and as immoral to pursue a middle line, as between the parties of honest men and rogues, into which every country is divided." Thomas Jefferson Freedom A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement. Thomas Jefferson "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 Future "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 Source:Liberty Quotes God's Purpose "The Giver of life gave it for happiness and not for wretchedness." -- Thomas Jefferson Government "The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson Source:Liberty Quotes "That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves." Thomas Jefferson "Government can do something for the people only in proportion as it can do something to the people. " Thomas Jefferson Source:http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.A21E I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. Thomas Jefferson The happiness and prosperity of our citizens is the only legitimate object of government. Thomas Jefferson The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions in which he is competent.... - To let the National Government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations ... - The State Governments with the Civil Rights, Laws, Police and administration of what concerns the State generally. - The Counties with the local concerns, and each ward direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the administration of everyman's farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best." Thomas Jefferson The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens. Thomas Jefferson "A government is republican in proportion as every member composing it has his equal voice in the direction of its concerns, not indeed in person, which would be impracticable beyond the limits of a city or small township, but by representatives chosen by himself and responsible to him at short periods." Thomas Jefferson http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.7262 "If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson Source:http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.A09D Governmental Acts Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers (adminstrators) too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery. Thomas Jefferson Great Innovations Great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities. Thomas Jefferson Source:Letter to Thaddeus Kosciusko, 1808 Habeas Corpus Why suspend the habeas corpus in insurrections and rebellions? Examine the history of England. See how few of the cases of the suspension of the habeas corpus law have been worthy of that suspension. They have been either real treasons, wherein the parties might as well have been charged at once, or sham plots, where it was shameful they should ever have been suspected. Yet for the few cases wherein the suspension of the habeas corpus has done real good, that operation is now become habitual and the minds of the nation almost prepared to live under its constant suspension. Thomas Jefferson Hardest Job To seek out the best [persons to serve in the government] though the whole Union, we must resort to the information which from the best of men, acting disinterestedly and with ther purest motives, is something incorrect....No duty the Executive had to perform was so trying as to put the right man in the right place. Thomas Jefferson Source: Letter to Elias Shipman, Jul 12, 1801 History History, in general, only informs us what bad government is. Thomas Jefferson A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable. Thomas Jefferson Impeachment "Experience has already shown that the impeachment the Constitution has provided is not even a scarecrow." Thomas Jefferson Source:Liberty Quotes Information Whenever people are well-informed they can be trusted with their own government. Thomas Jefferson Ingenuity Gone Bad "There is no act, however virtuous, for which ingenuity may not find some bad motive." Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to Edward Dowse, April 19, 1803 Jesus The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his Father, in the womb of a virgin will be classified with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated Reformer of human errors. Thomas Jefferson Source: Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823 Law and Laws "Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding, and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties, which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure." Thomas Jefferson Source:http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.8B4A "Laws provide against injury from others, but not from ourselves." Thomas Jefferson Source: Notes on Religion "Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals." Thomas Jefferson 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. Thomas Jefferson The study of the law is useful in a variety of points of view. It qualifies a man to be useful to himself, to his neighbours, and to the public. Thomas Jefferson Source:Letter to T. M. Randolph, May 30, 1790 Liberty "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." Thomas Jefferson Source: Letter, 23 December 1791 That liberty [is pure] which is to go to all, and not to the few or the rich alone. Thomas Jefferson The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time. Thomas Jefferson "It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others." Thomas Jefferson Liberty is to the collective body, what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society." Thomas Jefferson 3rd US President "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 http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.7369 Lie "It is a great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual, he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all it's good dispositions." Thomas Jefferson Source:http://liberty-tree.ca/qb/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.712F Luck I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. Thomas Jefferson Keeping Faith "I never did, or countenanced, in public life, a single act inconsistent with the strictest good faith; having never believed there was one code of morality for a public, and another for a private man." Thomas Jefferson http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.E578 Majority "[Bear] always in mind that a nation ceases to be republican only when the will of the majority ceases to be the law." Thomas Jefferson Mankind "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." Thomas Jefferson Source:http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.736D "What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment & death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment ... inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose." Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to Jean Nicholas Demeunier, January 24, 1786 Merchants Merchants have no country. Thomas Jefferson Source:Letter to H. Spafford, Mar 17, 1814 Money Money, not morality, is the principle commerce of civilized nations. Thomas Jefferson Natural Process The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. Thomas Jefferson Nature's Laws "It is not only vain, but wicked, in a legislature to frame laws in opposition to the laws of nature, and to arm them with the terrors of death. This is truly creating crimes in order to punish them." -- Thomas Jefferson Source: Note on the Crimes Bill, 1779 http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.A0A6 Never Existed An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town-meeting or a vestry. Thomas Jefferson Source:Letter to John Taylor, 1798 Noise An individual, thinking himself injured, makes more noise than a State. Thomas Jefferson Not The Governments Business The opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction. Thomas Jefferson Source:Virginia Statute Of Religious Freedom Oath I have sworn upon the altar of Almighty God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. Thomas Jefferson Obedience Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. Thomas Jefferson Observation "It is an encouraging observation that no good measure was ever proposed which, if duly pursued, failed to prevail in the end." Thomas Jefferson On Jesus and the Church "[My views on Christianity] are the result of a life of inquiry & reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other." Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Apr. 21, 1803 "Nothing can be more exactly and seriously true than what is there [the very words only of Jesus] stated; that but a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandising their oppressors in Church and State; that the purest system of morals ever before preached to man, has been adulterated and sophisticated by artificial constructions, into a mere contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves; that rational men not being able to swallow their impious heresies, in order to force them down their throats, they raise the hue and cry of infidelity, while themselves are the greatest obstacles to the advancement of the real doctrines of Jesus, and do in fact constitute the real Anti-Christ." Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to Samuel Kerchreview, January 19, 1810 "The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors." Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823 One Man One Vote Equal representation is so fundamental a principal in a true republic that no prejudice can justify its violation because the prejudices themselves cannot be justified. Thomas Jeffersom, 1819 Source:The Supreme Court in American History pp162 Opinion Monuments of the safety with which errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. - in his first inaugural address Parties "Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all." Thomas Jefferson In every free and deliberating society, there must, from the nature of man, be opposite parties, and violent dissensions and discords; and one of these, for the most part, must prevail over the other for a longer or shorter time." Thomas Jefferson Were parties here divided merely by a greediness for office, as in England, to take part with either would be unworthy of a reasonable or moral man. Thomas Jefferson Source:Letter to Willian Giles, 12-31-1779 Patriot "The patriot, like the Christian, must learn to bear revilings and persecutions as a part of his duty; and in proportion as the trial is severe, firmness under it becomes more requisite and praiseworthy. It requires, indeed, self-command. But that will be fortified in proportion as the calls for its exercise are repeated." Thomas Jefferson http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.E35A Peace "And say, finally, whether peace is best preserved by giving energy to the government or information to the people. This last is the most legitimate engine of government. Educate and inform the whole mass of people. Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them. And it requires no very high degree of education to convince them of this. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." -- Thomas Jefferson US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President Source: Letter to James Madison, Paris, December 20, 1787. The Political Writings Of Thomas Jefferson 68 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955) Pillars Agriculture, manufacturers, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are then most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise. Thomas Jefferson Politics Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight. But the enormities of the times in which I have lived have forced me to commit myself on the boisterous ocean of political passions. Thomas Jefferson Power Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. 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. Thomas Jefferson In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. 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 "An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens." Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to John Melish, January 13, 1813 http://liberty-tree.ca/qb/9ccdbffd871f44c185256e780079de89 Press Truths Perhaps an editor might begin a reformation in some such way as this. Divide his paper into 4 chapters, heading the 1st, Truths. 2d, Probabilities. 3d, Possibilities. 4th, Lies. The first chapter would be very short, as it would contain little more than authentic papers, and information from such sources as the editor would be willing to risk his own reputation for their truth. The 2d would contain what, from a mature consideration of all circumstances, his judgment should conclude to be probably true. This, however, should rather contain too little than too much. The 3d & 4th should be professedly for those readers who would rather have lies for their money than the blank paper they would occupy. Thomas Jefferson Source:Letter to John Norvell, June 11, 1807 Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper. Thomas Jefferson Nothing can now be believed which is seen in the newpaper. Truth itself become suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. Thomas Jefferson The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter. Thomas Jefferson Public Trust "When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property." Thomas Jefferson Source:http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.7131 Question Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction. Thomas Jefferson Rathers "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 Source: letter to Alexander Donald, February 7, 1788 http://liberty-tree.ca/qb/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.115D Reason "If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it." Thomas Jefferson http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.9A94 Rebellion "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then." Thomas Jefferson Source: letter to Abigail Adams, February 22, 1787; reproduced in Thomas Jefferson, Writings (The Library of America, 1984), p. 889-890 "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. 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 the government." Thomas Jefferson Source:Letter to James Madison, Jan 30, 1787 "God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. 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. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the 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 Source: November 13, 1787, letter to William S. Smith, quoted in Padover's Jefferson On Democracy "I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive. It places the governors indeed more at their ease at the expense of the people. The late rebellion in Massachusetts has given much more alarm than I think it should have done. Calculate that one rebellion in thirteen States in the course of eleven years is but one for each State in a century and a half. No country should be so long without one. Nor will any degree of power in the hands of the government prevent insurrections. In England, where the hand of power is heavier than with us, there are seldom half a dozen years without an insurrection. In France, where it is still heavier but less despotic, as Montesquieu supposes, than in some other countries and where there are always two or three hundred thousand men ready to crush insurrections, there have been three in the course of the three years I have been here, in every one of which greater numbers were engaged than in Massachusetts." -- Thomas Jefferson Source: Letter to James Madison, Paris, December 20, 1787. The Political Writings Of Thomas Jefferson 67-68 (Dumbauld Ed. 1955) http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.A496 Religon 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 blind-folded fear. Do not be frightened from this inquiry from any fear of its consequences. If it ends in the belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise... Thomas Jefferson Source: 1787 letter to his nephew The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others. But 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 Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry. Thomas Jefferson I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature. Thomas Jefferson In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to Liberty. Thomas Jefferson "The hocus-pocus phantasy of a God, like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs." Thomas Jefferson Source:Jefferson s Works, Vol. IV, 360, Randolph's ed. "[The clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me [as President] will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion." Thomas Jefferson Source:Letter to Benjamin Rush, 1800. "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." Thomas Jefferson Source:Notes on the State of Virginia "Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must approve the homage of reason rather than of blind-folded fear. Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences.... If it end in a belief that there is no god, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others it will procure for you." Thomas Jefferson Source:Letter to Peter Carr, 10 Aug. 1787. (original capitalization of "god" retained) "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes." Thomas Jefferson Source:Letter to Alexander von Humboldt, 1813 Reputation No man will ever bring out of the Presidency the reputation which carries him into it. Thomas Jefferson Resistance "What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." Thomas Jefferson Source: in a letter to William S. Smith, 13 November 1787 http://liberty-tree.ca/qb/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.A0A7 Rights "It had become an universal and almost uncontroverted position in the several States, that the purposes of society do not require a surrender of all our rights to our ordinary governors; that there are certain portions of right not necessary to enable them to carry on an effective government, and which experience has nevertheless proved they will be constantly encroaching on, if submitted to them; that there are also certain fences which experience has proved peculiarly efficacious against wrong, and rarely obstructive of right, which yet the governing powers have ever shown a disposition to weaken and remove. Of the first kind, for instance, is freedom of religion; of the second, trial by jury, habeas corpus laws, free presses." Thomas Jefferson http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.58AA [Our] principles [are] founded on the immovable basis of equal right and reason. Thomas Jefferson Man [is] a rational animal, endowed by nature with rights and with an innate sense of justice. Thomas Jefferson A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate." Thomas Jefferson Nothing... is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man." Thomas Jefferson Sedition Law "I discharge every person under punishment or prosecution under the Sedition Law, because I considered, and now consider, that law to be a nullity as absolute and palpable as if Congress had ordered us to fall down and worship a golden image." Thomas Jefferson Source: Letter to Abigail Adams, 22 July 1804 Self-evident 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 Service The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture. Thomas Jefferson Starvation I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, when to reap, we should soon want bread. Thomas Jefferson Super Majority "It would not be for the public good to have [a majority in Congress of one party] greater [than] two to one." Thomas Jefferson Supreme Court "You seem ... to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.... Their power [is] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves." Thomas Jefferson US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President Source: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Jarvis (September 28, 1820). Taxes To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. Thomas Jefferson Source: Virginia Statutes of Religious Freedom, 1779 To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, 'to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.' For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union." Thomas Jefferson US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/ Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.B6C2 "We are all doubtless bound to contribute a certain portion of our income to the support of charitable and other useful public institutions. But it is a part of our duty also to apply our contributions in the most effectual way we can to secure this object. The question then is whether this will not be better done by each of us appropriating our whole contribution to the institutions within our reach, under our own eye, and over which we can exercise some useful control? Or would it be better that each should divide the sum he can spare among all the institutions of his State or the United States? Reason and the interest of these institutions themselves, certainly decide in favor of the former practice." -- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.BF6C Trust "Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories." Thomas Jefferson Source:http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.80E3 Truth "And, finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them." -- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President Source: The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom, 1786 http://religiousfreedom.lib.virginia.edu/sacred/vaact.html http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.A0A8 "The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors." Thomas Jefferson Source: Letter to John Novell, June 11, 1807 "Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories." Thomas Jefferson Source:http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Thomas.Jefferson.Quote.80E3 Vigilance The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Thomas Jefferson Unite Let us, then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled, we have yet gained little if we counternance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of a bitter and bloody persecutions. Thomas Jefferson War Of 1812 "Bonaparte hates our government because it is a living libel on his, and the English hate us because they think our prosperity filched from theirs." Thomas Jefferson Source:James Madison, A Biography by Ralph Ketcham Zealot A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims. Thomas Jefferson Source:Notes on the State of VirginiaWhat Can I say? This truely is one of the GREATEST men that has ever walked the face of the planet. Trying to build a Quote page of Jefferson is like building a Quote Page of the teachings of Jesus Christ in a sentence. Simply can't be done. I can not do him justice here in my quote pages. Please hit the link aboveand go see a page that covers this great American better than I ever could. Midnightflyer
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