Thomas Jefferson - Quotes

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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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

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

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

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

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. ---->>>

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.

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.

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

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

Never spend your money before you have earned it.

Never spend your money before you have earned it.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. ---->>>

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

I sincerely believe... that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies. ---->>>

He who knows best knows how little he knows.

He who knows best knows how little he knows.

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. ---->>>

A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, 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.

A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, 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.

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

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

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

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

One man with courage is a majority.

One man with courage is a majority.

Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state. ---->>>

The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper. ---->>>

Delay is preferable to error. ---->>>

The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.

The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.

Don't talk about what you have done or what you are going to do. ---->>>

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.

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.

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers. ---->>>

Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto. ---->>>

I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others. ---->>>

Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching. ---->>>

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour? ---->>>

Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains. ---->>>

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

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

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. ---->>>

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

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

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

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

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.

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

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

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

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

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

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. ---->>>

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

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

Speeches that are measured by the hour will die with the hour. ---->>>

Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. ---->>>

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

No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms. ---->>>

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.

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.

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

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

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

Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. ---->>>

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

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

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

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

I cannot live without books.

I cannot live without books.

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it. ---->>>

Power is not alluring to pure minds.

Power is not alluring to pure minds.

There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me. ---->>>

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

None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined is therefore at all times important. ---->>>

A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit. ---->>>

Be polite to all, but intimate with few. ---->>>

Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper. ---->>>

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

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

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

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

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

An injured friend is the bitterest of foes. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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.

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.

In defense of our persons and properties under actual violation, we took up arms. When that violence shall be removed, when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, hostilities shall cease on our part also. ---->>>

The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it. ---->>>

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

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

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

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

If God is just, I tremble for my country. ---->>>

Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people.

Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people.

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

How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened. ---->>>

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

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

Nothing is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man. ---->>>

The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force. ---->>>

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

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

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. ---->>>

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

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

No duty the Executive had to perform was so trying as to put the right man in the right place. ---->>>

Resort is had to ridicule only when reason is against us. ---->>>

The natural cause of the human mind is certainly from credulity to skepticism. ---->>>

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

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. ---->>>

We may consider each generation as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will of its majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country. ---->>>

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? ---->>>

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. ---->>>

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe. ---->>>

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

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

Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day. ---->>>

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

It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong. ---->>>

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

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

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

Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe. ---->>>

An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes. ---->>>

No man will ever carry out of the Presidency the reputation which carried him into it. ---->>>

Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. ---->>>

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

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

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

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

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

Force is the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism. ---->>>

We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

The way to silence religious disputes is to take no notice of them. ---->>>

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

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

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

Always take hold of things by the smooth handle. ---->>>

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

The most successful war seldom pays for its losses.

The most successful war seldom pays for its losses.

If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest. ---->>>

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

The world is indebted for all triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression. ---->>>

Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail. ---->>>

I think with the Romans, that the general of today should be a soldier tomorrow if necessary. ---->>>

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

We did not raise armies for glory or for conquest. ---->>>

We never repent of having eaten too little.

We never repent of having eaten too little.

Bodily decay is gloomy in prospect, but of all human contemplations the most abhorrent is body without mind. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

The earth belongs to the living, not to the dead. ---->>>

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

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

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. ---->>>

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.

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.

I am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greek and Roman leave to us. ---->>>

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.

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.

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

Taste cannot be controlled by law.

Taste cannot be controlled by law.

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

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: April 13, 1743
Birthplace:
Die: July 4, 1826
Occupation: President
Website:

Thomas Jefferson (April 13 [O.S. April 2] 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American Founding Father who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and later served as the third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he was elected the second Vice President of the United States, serving under John Adams from 1797 to 1801 (wikipedia)