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 see the wisdom of Solon's remark, that no more good must be attempted than the nation can bear.

What all agree upon is probably right; what no two agree in most probably is wrong.

When an instrument admits two constructions, the one safe, the other dangerous, the one precise, the other indefinite, I prefer that which is safe and precise.

When you and I look back on the country over which we have passed, what a field of slaughter does it exhibit! Where are all the friends who entered it with us, under all the inspiring energies of health and hope? As if pursued by the havoc of war, they are strewed by the way, some earlier, some later, and scarce a few stragglers remain to count the numbers fallen, and to mark yet, by their own fall, the last footsteps of their party. Is it a desirable thing to bear up through the heat of the action, to witness the death of all our companions, and merely be the last victim? I doubt it. We have, however, the traveller's consolation. Every step shortens the distance we have to go; the end of our journey is in sight.

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

Without books, I would certainly die.

Yours is one of the few lives precious to mankind, and for the continuance of which every thinking man is solicitous. Bigots may be an exception. What an effort, my dear sir, of bigotry in politics and religion have we gone through! The barbarians really flattered themselves they should be able to bring back the times of Vandalism, when ignorance put everything into the hands of power and priestcraft. All advances in science were proscribed as innovations. They pretended to praise and encourage education, but it was to be the education of our ancestors. We were to look backwards, not forwards, for improvement

Private enterprise manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal.

Rise at a fixed and an early hour, and go to bed at a fixed and early hour also. Sitting up late at night is injurious to the health and not useful to the mind.

Take not from the mouth of labor the bread it as earned.

That these are our grievances which we have thus laid before his majesty, with that freedom of language and sentiment which becomes a free people claiming their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.

The best hemp and the best tobacco grow on the same kind of soil. The former article is of the first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country. The latter, never useful.

The constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.

The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government. Modern times have the signal advantage, too, of having discovered the only device by which these rights can be secured, to wit: government by the people, acting not in person, but by representatives chosen by themselves, that is to say, by every man of ripe years and sane mind, who contributes either by his purse or person to the support of his country.

The general (federal) government will tend to monarchy, which will fortify itself from day to day, instead of working its own cures.

The Habeas Corpus secures every man here, alien or citizen, against everything which is not law, whatever shape it may assume.

The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory.

The object most interesting to me for the residue of my life, will be to see you both developing daily those principles of virtue and goodness which will make you valuable to others and happy in yourselves, and acquiring those talents and that degree of science which will guard you at all times against ennui, the most dangerous poison of life. A mind always employed is always happy. This is the true secret, the grand recipe for felicity....In a world which furnishes so many employments which are useful, and so many which are amusing, it is our own fault if we ever know what ennui is.

The physician is happy in the attachment of the families in which he practices. All think he has saved one of them, and he finds himself everywhere a welcome guest, a home in every house.

The principles of our Constitution are wisely opposed to all perpetuations of power, and to every practice which may lead to hereditary establishments.

The right of self-government does not comprehend the government of others.

The States should be urged to concede to the General Government, with a saving of chartered rights, the exclusive power of establishing banks of discount for paper.

The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the States are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign affairs. Let the General Government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our General Government may be reduced to a very simple organization, and a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants.

There can be no safer deposit on earth than the Treasury of the United States.

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