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Quotes by Thomas Jefferson:

<<Page 1 Thomas Jefferson Quotes

"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

 

"I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did" Letter to John Adams (April 11, 1823)

 

"In a government bottomed on the will of all, the liberty of every individual citizen becomes interesting to all." - Thomas Jefferson

 

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson Letter to Archibald Stuart (1791)

 

I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator and, I hope, to the pure doctrine of Jesus also.  Thomas Jefferson

 

"Under the law of nature, all men are born free, every one comes into the world with a right to his own person, which includes the liberty of moving and using it at his own will. This is what is called personal liberty, and is given him by the Author of nature, because necessary for his own sustenance." - Thomas Jefferson: Legal Argument, 1770. FE 1:376


Books about Thomas Jefferson:

"It is not to be understood that I am with him (Jesus Christ) in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist; he takes the side of Spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentence toward forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it.  Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I separate, therefore, the gold from the dross; restore him to the former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, the roguery of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and imposters, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and the first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus." - Thomas Jefferson to W. Short, 1820 *He isn't critisizing the whole of Christianity as a religion or denoucning it.  Jefferson, like Madison, is stating that he believes the teachings of Jesus have been corrupted by those that took up the mantle of the preaching the religion after his departure from this place.  His problem is with the "church" not with Christianity.  Many people who try and argue that the founding fathers were not Christians will use this quote out of context to try and prove their fallacious point.

 

"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 effects of coercion? To support roguery and error all over the earth." - Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1781-1785)

 

"In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot ... they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose." - Thomas Jefferson Letter to Horatio G. Spafford (March 17, 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 Letter to Miles King (September 26, 1814)

 

"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." - Thomas Jefferson Get the mug from Right Things

 

"This is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of society is reduced to mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering... And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in it's train wretchedness and oppression."  - Thomas Jefferson

 

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Thomas Jefferson September 23, 1800 (source)

 

"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." - Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1785. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors.

 

"...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 a moment to prefer the latter." - Thomas Jefferson

 

"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

 

"Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable. 1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England in a slight degree, and in our states, in a great one. 3. Under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics. To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep." - Thomas Jefferson Jan 30, 1787 to James Madison

 

"On every occasion...[of Constitutional interpretation] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying [to force] what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, [instead let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed." Thomas Jefferson (June 12 1823, Letter to William Johnson)

 

"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them." Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. - Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors.

 

"Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." - Thomas Jefferson

 

"In the legislature, the House of Representatives is chosen by less than half the people, and not at all in proportion to those who do choose. The Senate are still more disproportionate, and for long terms of irresponsibility. In the Executive, the Governor is entirely independent of the choice of the people, and of their control; his Council equally so, and at best but a fifth wheel to a wagon. In the Judiciary, the judges of the highest courts are dependent on none but themselves." - Thomas Jefferson, July 12, 1816 to Samuel Kercheval

 

"Against us are the Executive, the Judiciary, two out of three branches of the legislature, all the officers of the government, all who want to be officers, all timid men who prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson to Mazzei, April 24, 1796 (source) Get the mug from Right Things

 

"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest. -- But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one's mind." - Thomas Jefferson Notes on the State of Virginia Q.XVIII, 1782. ME 2:227

 

"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 Papers, 334 (C.J. Boyd, Ed., 1950)

 

"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 felicity." - Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address.

 

"The Constitution 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 and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press." - Thomas Jefferson

 

"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the priciples of it's Constitution." - Thomas Jefferson

 

"Every generation needs a new revolution." - Thomas Jefferson

 

"The way to have safe government is not to trust it all to the 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 it's 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 it's 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

 

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." - 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 Letter to Colonel Charles Yancey (January 6, 1816)

 

"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 aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State." - Thomas Jefferson (to S. Kercheval, 1810)

 

"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 political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose." - Thomas Jefferson (to Baron von Humboldt, 1813)

 

"On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind." - Thomas Jefferson (to Carey, 1816)

 

"History, by apprising the people of the past, will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views." - Thomas Jefferson 1782

 

"The boys of the rising generation are to be the men of the next, and the sole guardians of the principles we deliver over to them." - Thomas Jefferson 1810

 

"Unless the mass [of people] retains sufficient control over those intrusted with the powers of their government, these will be perverted to their own oppression." - Thomas Jefferson 1812

 

"Lay down true principles, and adhere to them inflexibly.  Do not be frightened into their surrender" - Thomas Jefferson 1816

 

"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

 

"The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best ... When all government ... shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as ... oppressive as the government from which we just separated." - Thomas Jefferson

 

 

 

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