Thomas Jefferson - (1743 - 1826)

Thomas Jefferson Signature

Quotes by Thomas Jefferson

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

Thomas Jefferson: to William Hamilton, April 22, 1800
Web Source: http://www.loc.gov/resource/mtj1.022_0228_0229/

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A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.


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It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among our opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political & social opposition, who transferred at once to the person the hatred they bore to his political opinions.

Thomas Jefferson: to Richard Mentor Johnson, 10 March 1808

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I became of course the butt of every thing which reason, ridicule, malice and falsehood could supply. they have concentrated all their hatred on me till they have really persuaded themselves that I am the sole source of all their imaginary evils.

Thomas Jefferson: to Richard Mentor Johnson, 10 March 1808

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[G]iving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless.


Quote 1324 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1324 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1324 I suppose indeed that in public life a man whose political principles have any decided character, and who has energy enough to give them effect, must always expect to encounter political hostility from those of adverse principles. But I came to the government under circumstances calculated to generate peculiar acrimony.

Thomas Jefferson: to Richard Mentor Johnson, 10 March 1808
Web Source: http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/99-01-02-7586

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The ground of liberty is to be gained by inches, that we must be contented to secure what we can get from time to time, and eternally press forward for what is yet to get.

Thomas Jefferson: to Charles Clay Monticello Jan. 27. 1790.
Web Source: http://tjrs.monticello.org/letter/123

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It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.

Thomas Jefferson: to Charles Clay Monticello Jan. 27. 1790.

Quote 1048 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1048 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1048 In truth, the abuses of monarchy had so much filled all the space of political contemplation, that we imagined everything republican which was not monarchy. We had not yet penetrated to the mother principle, that "governments are republican only in proportion as they embody the will of their people, and execute it." Hence, ore first constitutions had really no leading principles in them. But experience and reflection have but more and more confirmed me in the particular importance of the equal representation then proposed.


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I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.

Thomas Jefferson: Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin (1802) 3rd president of US (1743 - 1826) - This has been reported as spurious because deflation was not used until the 1920s.
Respectfully quoted: A dictionary of quotations...

Quote 710 details Share on Google+ - Quote 710 Linked In Share Button - Quote 710 In every country and 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. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer for their purposes.

Thomas Jefferson: in a letter to Horatio Spofford, 1814; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1983, p. 371

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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 between them.

Quote 908 details Share on Google+ - Quote 908 Linked In Share Button - Quote 908 I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

Thomas Jefferson: letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816 (Inscription on the southeast quadrant of the Jefferson Memorial, the inscription omits some words without ellipses.)
Respectfully quoted: A dictionary of quotations...

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Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both.

Quote 713 details Share on Google+ - Quote 713 Linked In Share Button - Quote 713 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.


Quote 1338 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1338 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1338 With the moderns, I think, it is rather a matter of fashion and authority. Education is chiefly in the hands of persons who, from their profession, have an interest in the reputation and dreams of Plato. They give the tone while at school, and few in their after years have occasion to revise their college opinions.

Quote 1354 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1354 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1354 The time to guard against corruption and tyranny is before they shall have gotten hold of us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered.


Quote 1311 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1311 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1311 Private associations... whose magnitude may rivalize and jeopardize the march of regular government [may become] necessary [in] the case where the regular authorities of the government [combine] against the rights of the people, and no means of correction [remains] to them but to organize a collateral power which, with their support, might rescue and secure their violated rights. But such is not the case with our government. We need hazard no collateral power which, by a change of its original views and assumption of others we know not how virtuous or how mischievous, would be ready organized and in force sufficient to shake the established foundations of society and endanger its peace and the principles on which it is based.

Thomas Jefferson: letter to Jedediah Morse, 1822

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The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people.

Thomas Jefferson: letter to John Dickinson, July 23, 1801
Web Source: http://www.conservativequotedatabase.com/thomas-jefferson

Quote 696 details Share on Google+ - Quote 696 Linked In Share Button - Quote 696 When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.


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I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in any part of America. When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe.


Quote 636 details Share on Google+ - Quote 636 Linked In Share Button - Quote 636 To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

Quote 1415 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1415 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1415 The spacious field of imagination is thus laid open to our use, and lessons may be formed to illustrate and carry home to the mind every moral rule of life.

Thomas Jefferson: to Robert Skipwith, Aug 3, 1771

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Where an enterprise is meditated by private individuals against a foreign nation in amity with the United States, powers of prevention to a certain extent are given by the laws; would they not be as reasonable and useful were the enterprise preparing against the United States?

Thomas Jefferson: 6th Annual Message, 1806

Quote 1342 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1342 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1342 The article of discipline is the most difficult in American education.

Thomas Jefferson: Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, November 2, 1822
The Quotable Founding Fathers


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