President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

“I cannot live without books.”

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

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

“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.”

“Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows us that as a government grows, liberty decreases.”

“I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”

“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.”

“When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government ears the people there is liberty.”

“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

“I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage, with my books, my family, and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post which any human power can give.”

“Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

“I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it”

“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

“Occasionally the tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants.”

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

“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.”

“The Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

“Religions are all alike- founded upon fables and mythologies.”

“The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance.”

“…in war, they will kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them”

“I never told my own religion nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another’s creed. I am satisfied that yours must be an excellent religion to have produced a life of such exemplary virtue and correctness. For it is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be judged.”

“Information is the currency of democracy.”

“Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.”

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

“A government afraid of its citizens is a Democracy. Citizens afraid of government is tyranny!”
“I know 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 by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of Constitutional power.”

“To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.”

“It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

“If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off.”

“The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.”

“One man with courage is a majority.”

“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 I reflect that God is just: that his justice can not sleep forever: 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!”

“I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world and do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature.”

“Experience has shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people…they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life; and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine.”

“A little rebellion is a good thing. ”

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

“A room without books is like a life without meaning.”

“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as a sorry state as the souls who live under tyranny.”

“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.”

“Upon the altar of God I pledge eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man ”

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.”

“Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not.”

“Our people shall be free”

“Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today.”

“Governments constantly choose between telling lies and fighting wars, with the end result always being the same. One will always lead to the other.”

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent they conquered.”

“Our bills shall not be killed.”

“Coffee – the favorite drink of the civilized world.”

“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.”

“Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”

“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.”

“Every Generation Needs a New Revolution”

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

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

“Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful. Man has no nobler or more valuable possession than time.”

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
“Rebellion to tyranny is obedience to God.”

“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.”

“That government is best which governs least, because its people discipline themselves. If we are directed from Washington (heads of an organization) when to sow and when to reap, we will soon want for bread.”

“The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.”

“Be polite to all, but intimate with few.”

“The God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”

“The genuine and simple religion of Jesus will one day be restored: such as it was preached and practiced by Himself.”

“Shake off all fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for 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.”

“I am increasingly persuaded that the earth belongs exclusively to the living and that one generation has no more right to bind another to it’s laws and judgments than one independent nation has the right to command another.”

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

“The most truthful part of a newspaper is the advertisements.”

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.”

“A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not an article for mere consumption, but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital.”

“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations…entangling alliances with none”

“‎Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.”

“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

“He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it the second time.”

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

“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…”

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

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.”

“My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!”

“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

“I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.”

“The Christian god can easily be pictured as virtually the same god as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster cruel vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging three headed beast like god one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes fools and hypocrites. ”

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

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

“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.”

“A great deal of love given to a few is better than a little to many.”

“I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led.”

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

“Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.”

“Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.”

“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.”

“We are afraid of the known and afraid of the unknown. That is our daily life and in that there is no hope, and therefore every form of philosophy, every form of theological concept, is merely an escape from the actual reality of what is. All outward forms of change brought about by wars, revolutions, reformations, laws and ideologies have failed completely to change the basic nature of man and therefore of society.”

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”

“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. ”

“He who knows best knows how little he knows.”

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

“Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.”

“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.”

“Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck.”

“Always take hold of things by the smooth handle.”

“There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.”

“I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendency of one sect over another.”

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

“Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”

“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.”

“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.”

“Good wine is a necessity of life for me. ”

“Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens; and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite public agents to corruption, plunder and waste.”

“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

“The care of every man’s soul belongs to himself. But what if he neglect the care of it? Well what if he neglect the care of his health or his estate, which would more nearly relate to the state. Will the magistrate make a law that he not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves. God himself will not save men against their wills.”

“Never trouble another for what you can do yourself”

“Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.”

“Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and opressions of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”

“Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people.”

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”

“The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.”

“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. 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 to 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.”

“On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit of the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

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

“If the book be false in its facts, disprove them; if false in its reasoning, refute it. But, for God’s sake, let us freely hear both sides, if we choose.”

“That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves. ”

“Health, learning and virtue will ensure your happiness; they will give you a quiet conscience, private esteem and public honour.”

“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. ”

“I think one travels more usefully when they travel alone, because they reflect more.”

“…We are all Federalists, and we are all Republicans.”

“An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.”

“The constitution of most of the 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 the press.”

“Do not be too severe upon the errors of the people, but reclaim them by enlightening them.”

“In matters of principal stand like a rock.”

“We confide in our strength, without boasting of it, we respect that of others, without fearing it.”

“The art of life is the art of avoiding pain.”

“1. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.
2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3. Never spend your money before you have it.
4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
9. Take things always by their smooth handle.
10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.”

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

“Without books, I would certainly die.”

“It is reasonable that everyone who asks justice should do justice”

“I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object.”

“Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God.”

“The only security of all is in a free press.”

“Delay is preferable to error.”

“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.”

“All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. ”

“It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.”

“A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.”

“Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion.”

“We have no right to prejudice another in his civil enjoyments because he is of another church.”

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

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work, the more of it I have.-”

“Difference of opinion is helpful in religion.”

“A lawyer without books would be like a workman without tools.”

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

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

“Half a loaf is better than no bread”

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

“A man’s management of his own purse speaks volumes about character”

“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 spend your money before you have it.”

“In a republican nation, whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance”

“Everything is useful which contributes to fix in the principles and practices of virtue.”

“Walking is the very best exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”

“Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise.”

“Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains, rather than do an immoral act.”

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