December 1, 2016

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

“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.”

“A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.”

“A Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life”

“A mind always employed is always happy. This is the true secret, the grand recipe, for felicity.”

“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 your constant companion of your walks.”

“A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”

“Above all things, lose no occasion of exercising your dispositions to be grateful, to be generous, to be charitable, to be humane, to be true, just, firm, orderly, courageous, &c. Consider every act of this kind, as an exercise which will strengthen your moral faculties and increase your worth.”

“Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.”

“All experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

“All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution.”

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

“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.”

“Always take hold of things by the smooth handle.”

“An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry.”

“An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes.”

“An honest heart being the first blessing, a knowing head is the second.”

“An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.”

“As our enemies have found we can reason like men, so now let us show them we can fight like men also.”

“Be polite to all, but intimate with few.”

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

“Bodily decay is gloomy in prospect, but of all human contemplations the most abhorrent is body without mind.”

“Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital.”

“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.”

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

“Compulsion in religion is distinguished peculiarly from compulsion in every other thing. I may grow rich by art I am compelled to follow, I may recover health by medicines I am compelled to take against my own judgment, but I cannot be saved by a worship I disbelieve & abhor.”

“Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.”

“Delay is preferable to error.”

“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.”

“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.”

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

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

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

“Don’t talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.”

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

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

“Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

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

“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.”

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

“Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”

“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.”

“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 more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

“For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.”

“Force is the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism.”

“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?”

“Good wine is a necessity of life for me.”

“Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough is big enough to take everything you have… The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.”

“Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind.”

“He who knows best knows how little he knows.”

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

“He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time till at length it becomes habitual.”

“He who steadily observes those moral precepts in which all religions concur, will never be questioned at the gates of heaven as to the dogmas in which they all differ.”

“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.”

“History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.”

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

“How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened.”

“I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.”

“I am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greek and Roman leave to us.”

“I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.”

“I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.”

“I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too.”

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”

“I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.”

“I cannot live without books.”

“I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.”

“I find that he is happiest of whom the world says least, good or bad.”

“I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.”

“I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office.”

“I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.”

“I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another.”

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

“I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

“I know of 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.”

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past, — so good night!”

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

“I may say Christianity itself divided into its thousands also, who are disputing, anathematizing and where the laws permit burning and torturing one another for abstractions which no one of them understand, and which are indeed beyond the comprehension of the human mind”

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

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

“I never told my own religion nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another’s creed. I am satisfied that yours must be an excellent religion to have produced a life of such exemplary virtue and correctness. For it is in our lives, not from our words, that our religion must be judged.”

“I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.”

“I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.”

“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.”

“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.”

“I think with the Romans, that the general of today should be a soldier tomorrow if necessary.”

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

“I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way.”

“I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.”

“If a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was & never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty & property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.”

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

“If God is just, I tremble for my country.”

“If I am to succeed, the sooner I know it, the less uneasiness I shall have to go through. If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off: and if I do meet with one, I hope in God, and verily believe; it will be the last.”

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

“If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?”

“If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.”

“If thinking men would have the courage to think for themselves, and to speak what they think, it would be found they do not differ in religious opinions as much as is supposed.”

“Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.”

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

“In a republican nation, whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance.”

“In defense of our persons and properties under actual violation, we took up arms. When that violence shall be removed, when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, hostilities shall cease on our part also.”

“In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty.”

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

“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

“In the middle ages of Christianity opposition to the State opinions was hushed. The consequence was, Christianity became loaded with all the Romish follies. Nothing but free argument, raillery & even ridicule will preserve the purity of religion.”

“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.”

“Information is the currency of democracy.”

“It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.”

“It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.”

“It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.”

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

“It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.”

“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

“It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.”

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

“It is our duty still to endeavor to avoid war; but if it shall actually take place, no matter by whom brought on, we must defend ourselves. If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.”

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

“Knowing that religion does not furnish grosser bigots than law, I expect little from old judges.”

“Let the farmer forevermore be honored in his calling; for they who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God.”

“Let what will be said or done, preserve your sang-froid immovably, and to every obstacle, oppose patience, perseverance, and soothing language.”

“My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!”

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”

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

“No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms.”

“No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.”

“No man will ever carry out of the Presidency the reputation which carried him into it.”

“None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined is therefore at all times important.”

“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.”

“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”

“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.”

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

“Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.”

“Perfect happiness, I believe, was never intended by the Deity to be the lot of one of His creatures in this world; but that He has very much put in our power the nearness of our approaches to it, is what I have steadfastly believed.”

“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.”

“Religion is a subject on which I have ever been most scrupulously reserved. I have considered it as a matter between every man and his Maker in which no other, and far less the public, had a right to intermeddle.”

“Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”

“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.”

“Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. 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.”

“Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.”

“State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules.”

“That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.”

“The care of every man’s soul belongs to himself. But what if he neglect the care of it? Well what if he neglect the care of his health or his estate, which would more nearly relate to the state. Will the magistrate make a law that he not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves. God himself will not save men against their wills.”

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

“The cement of this union is the heart-blood of every American.”

“The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.”

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

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

“The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted, when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary to keep the waters pure.”

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

“The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

“The two principles on which our conduct towards the Indians should be founded, are justice and fear. After the injuries we have done them, they cannot love us….”

“The way to silence religious disputes is to take no notice of them.”

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.”

“The wisdom of our sages and the blood of our heroes has been devoted to the attainment of trial by jury. It should be the creed of our political faith.”

“There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.”

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

“There is not a truth existing which I fear or would wish unknown to the whole world.”

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

“Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the potatoe as an article of food.”

“We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”

“We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it.”

“We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

“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.”

“What has been the effect of religious coercion? To make half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.”

“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.”

“When angry count 10 before you speak. If very angry 100.”

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands 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.”

“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”

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

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

“With earnest prayers to all my friends to cherish mutual good will, to promote harmony and conciliation, and above all things to let the love of our country soar above all minor passions, I tender you the assurance of my affectionate esteem and respect.”

“You have not been mistaken in supposing my views and feeling to be in favor of the abolition of war. Of my disposition to maintain peace until its condition shall be made less tolerable than that of war itself, the world has had proofs, and more, perhaps, than it has approved. I hope it is practicable, by improving the mind and morals of society, to lessen the disposition to war; but of its abolition I despair.”