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Thomas Jefferson – 100 Quotes

 

100 Quotes by Thomas Jefferson

 

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.

– Thomas Jefferson


The most successful war seldom pays for its losses.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


When a man assumes a public trust he should consider himself a public property.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


Truth is certainly a branch of morality and a very important one to society.

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


Power is not alluring to pure minds.

– Thomas Jefferson


The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people that… it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.

– Thomas Jefferson


Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


Peace and abstinence from European interferences are our objects, and so will continue while the present order of things in America remain uninterrupted.

– Thomas Jefferson


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


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


Never spend your money before you have earned it.

– Thomas Jefferson


Money, not morality, is the principle commerce of civilized nations.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


Politics is such a torment that I advise everyone I love not to mix with it.

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


My theory has always been, that if we are to dream, the flatteries of hope are as cheap, and pleasanter, than the gloom of despair.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


The second office in the government is honorable and easy the first is but a splendid misery.

– Thomas Jefferson


The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.

– Thomas Jefferson


The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.

– Thomas Jefferson


So confident am I in the intentions, as well as wisdom, of the government, that I shall always be satisfied that what is not done, either cannot, or ought not to be done.

– Thomas Jefferson


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 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.

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


The good opinion of mankind, like the lever of Archimedes, with the given fulcrum, moves the world.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


The Creator has not thought proper to mark those in the forehead who are of stuff to make good generals. We are first, therefore, to seek them blindfold, and then let them learn the trade at the expense of great losses.

– Thomas Jefferson


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 circlue of our felicities.

– Thomas Jefferson


If God is just, I tremble for my country.

– Thomas Jefferson


The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


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?

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.

– Thomas Jefferson


My only fear is that I may live too long. This would be a subject of dread to me.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


One man with courage is a majority.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


He who knows best knows how little he knows.

– Thomas Jefferson


Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very fast.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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.

– Thomas Jefferson


When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.

– Thomas Jefferson


One travels more usefully when alone, because he reflects more.

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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

– Thomas Jefferson


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