100 Inspirational Quotes By Thomas Jefferson, The Author Of The Declaration Of Independence
3rd U.S. President
Shadwell, Virginia, United States
Founder / Co Founder:
University of Virginia
Thomas Jefferson was one of the most important people of the American Revolution. At seventeen, he was the youngest member of the Continental Congress. Nevertheless, despite his young age, he was blessed with great political skills that made him America’s Founding Father. Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence, which went on to become the most beautiful and most powerful testaments to liberty and equality in world history. It took him just seventeen days to come up with the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. In addition to being a draftsman, Jefferson’s political pursuits made him hold several important political positions. He was the first diplomat abroad, first Secretary of State, second Vice President of America under John Adams and third President of United States of America. A proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, he motivated American colonists to break free from Great Britain and form a new nation. Jeffered even authored the Statue of Virginia for Religious Freedom and was also responsible for the Louisiana Purchase. His belief in equality of mankind, liberty of nation and a free-country concept led him to come up with various quotes that have sowed the bud of nationalism and patriotism in his countrymen and even helped them believe in their individualism. Check out some of the quotes by Thomas Jefferson and get enlightened.
I cannot live without books. Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. 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. Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom. The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. I'm a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers. On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock. We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry... History, in general, only informs us what bad government is. 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. Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances. If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. All should be laid open to you without reserve, for there is not a truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world. The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest. The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government. There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people. When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty. To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. I think one travels more usefully when they travel alone, because they reflect more."
(Letter to John Banister, Jr., June 19, 1787) Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful. Man has no nobler or more valuable possession than time. Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it. The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object. Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government... I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led. Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations...entangling alliances with none How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy! I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground. Be polite to all, but intimate with few. Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost. He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. 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. Every human being must be viewed according to what it is good for. For not one of us, no, not one, is perfect. And were we to love none who had imperfection, this world would be a desert for our love. Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and opressions of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day. He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it the second time. It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office. I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold. Those who expect to be both ignorant and free, expect what never was and never will be. I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it. An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens. Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it. An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes. No people can be both ignorant and free. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. He who knows best knows how little he knows. It is reasonable that everyone who asks justice should do justice I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendency of one sect over another. Good wine is a necessity of life for me. A great deal of love given to a few is better than a little to many. A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have ~Thomas Jefferson We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed. The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale. The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his (sic)patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe. The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.
--The Fruit Hunters Our civil rights have no dependence upon our religious opinions more than our opinions in physics or geometry. I have the consolation of having added nothing to my private fortune during my public service, and of retiring with hands clean as they are empty. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it. It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape. Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people. The dead should not rule the living. Neither Pagan nor Mahamedan nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of his religion. -quoting John Locke's argument. The only security of all is in a free press. [Christianity is] the most ... perverted system that ever shone on man. 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. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself A little rebellion is good now and then. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. Always take hold of things by the smooth handle. I am satisfied, and sufficiently occupied with the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of which I have no evidence. 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. 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. I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. Our properties within our own territories [should not] be taxed or regulated by any power on earth but our own. Health, learning and virtue will ensure your happiness; they will give
you a quiet conscience, private esteem and public honour. We have no right to prejudice another in his civil enjoyments because he is of another church. Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion. I may grow rich by an 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 and abhor. Without books, I would certainly die. 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.
The laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.
Do not be too severe upon the errors of the people, but reclaim them by enlightening them.
No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, no culture comparable to that of the garden...But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
...We are all Federalists,and we are all Republicans.
Peace, that glorious moment in time when everyone stops and reloads. In matters of principal stand like a rock.