Thomas Jefferson

Thomas
Jefferson
1743
1826

American Statesman, President of the United States, Founding Father, Principal Author of the Declaration of Independence

Author Quotes

We are now vibrating between too much and too little government, and the pendulum will rest finally in the middle.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable 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;

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.

What has been the effect of coercion [sic]? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and errors all over the earth... [Instead] reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free inquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves.

When great evils happen, I am in the habit of looking out for what good may arise from them as consolations to us, and Providence has in fact so established the order of things, as that most evils are the means of producing some good.

Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.

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.

Would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world's best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not.

This institution will be based upon the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here 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.

To every obstacle oppose patience, perseverance and soothing language.

Tobacco is a culture productive of infinite wretchedness.

Truth, between candid minds, can never do harm.

We are sensible of the duty and expediency of submitting our opinions to the will of the majority, and can wait with patience till they get right if they happen to be at any time wrong.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable 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 of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

We should be determined... to sever ourselves from the union we so much value rather than give up the rights of self-government... in which alone we see liberty, safety and happiness.

What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body, no matter whether of the autocrats of Russia or France, or of the aristocrats of a Venetian Senate.

When I hear another express an opinion which is not mine, I say to myself, He has a right to his opinion, as I to mine; why should I question it? His error does me no injury, and shall I become a Don Quixote, to bring all men by force of argument to one opinion? If a fact be misstated, it is probable he is gratified by a belief of it, and I have no right to deprive him of the gratification. If he wants information, he will ask it, and then I will give it in measured terms; but if he still believes his own story, and shows a desire to dispute the fact with me, I hear him and say nothing. It is his affair, not mine, if he prefers error?... Be a listener only, keep within yourself, and endeavor to establish with yourself the habit of silence, especially in politics.

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.

Where thought is free in its range, we need never fear to hazard what is good in itself.

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.

This is the Fourth? [Last Words]

To inform the minds of the people, and to follow their will, is the chief duty of those placed at their head.

Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity.

Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.

We are the friends of liberty everywhere, but the guarantors of only our own.

Author Picture
First Name
Thomas
Last Name
Jefferson
Birth Date
1743
Death Date
1826
Bio

American Statesman, President of the United States, Founding Father, Principal Author of the Declaration of Independence