Thomas Jefferson Quotes

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Thomas Jefferson was lawyer, architect, musician, philosopher, diplomat and politician who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He was also one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, who among them were outstanding men like Benjamin FranklinJames MonroeJohn AdamsJames MadisonAlexander Hamilton and George Washington.

Here are some famous Thomas Jefferson quotes on freedom, liberty, tyranny, government, the constitution, education, democracy, revolution and many other interesting topics of life:

Famous Thomas Jefferson Quotes

Famous Thomas Jefferson Quotes

1. Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom. -Thomas Jefferson

2. I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. -Thomas Jefferson

3. Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. -Thomas Jefferson

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

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

6. 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

7. On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.

Thomas Jefferson

8. Evil triumphs when good men do nothing. -Thomas Jefferson

9. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms. -Thomas Jefferson

10. The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. -Thomas Jefferson

11. I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. -Thomas Jefferson

12. The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. -Thomas Jefferson

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

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

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

16. 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

17. 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. -Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Freedom And Liberty

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Freedom And Liberty

18. The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time. -Thomas Jefferson

19. There is no justification for taking away individuals’ freedom in the guise of public safety. -Thomas Jefferson

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

21. In a government bottomed on the will of all, the… liberty of every individual citizen becomes interesting to all. -Thomas Jefferson

22. The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits. -Thomas Jefferson

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

24. Liberty is to the collective body, what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society. -Thomas Jefferson

25. A government is republican in proportion as every member composing it has his equal voice in the direction of its concerns, not indeed in person, which would be impracticable beyond the limits of a city or small township, but by representatives chosen by himself and responsible to him at short periods. -Thomas Jefferson

26. 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

27. Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves. -Thomas Jefferson

28. Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

29. When you abandon freedom to achieve security, you lose both and deserve neither. -Thomas Jefferson

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

31. A free people claim their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate. -Thomas Jefferson

32. Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

33. 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. -Thomas Jefferson

34. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure. -Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Tyranny

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Tyranny

35. When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty. -Thomas Jefferson

36. I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man. -Thomas Jefferson

37. A well informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny. -Thomas Jefferson

38. Dependence begets subservience and paves the way for tyranny. -Thomas Jefferson

39. Law is often the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual. -Thomas Jefferson

40. History has informed us that bodies of men as well as individuals are susceptible of the spirit of tyranny. -Thomas Jefferson

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

42. When the people are afraid of the government, that’s tyranny. But when the government is afraid of the people, that’s liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

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

Thomas Jefferson

44. Rebellion to tyranny is obedience to God. -Thomas Jefferson

45. The time to guard against corruption and tyranny is before they shall have gotten hold of us. -Thomas Jefferson

46. The unsuccessful strugglers against tyranny have been the chief martyrs of treason laws in all countries. -Thomas Jefferson

47. If science produces no better fruits than tyranny… I would rather wish our country to be ignorant, honest and estimable as our neighboring savages are. -Thomas Jefferson

48. A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a people who mean to be free. -Thomas Jefferson

49. 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

50. Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When the people fear the government, tyranny has found victory. The federal government is our servant, not our master! -Thomas Jefferson

51. Instead of that liberty which takes root and growth in the progress of reason, if recovered by mere force or accident, it becomes with an unprepared people a tyranny still of the many, the few, or the one. -Thomas Jefferson

52. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to the worst of passions, and thus nursed, educated and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. -Thomas Jefferson

53. The most effectual means of preventing the perversion of power into tyranny are to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts which history exhibits, that possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes. -Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Government

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Government

54. A true patriot will defend his country from its government. -Thomas Jefferson

55. History, in general, only informs us what bad government is. -Thomas Jefferson

56. That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part. -Thomas Jefferson

57. We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate. -Thomas Jefferson

58. 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

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

60. 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

61. 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.

Thomas Jefferson

62. The federal government is our servant, not our master. -Thomas Jefferson

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

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

65. 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. -Thomas Jefferson

66. 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

67. 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

68. 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. -Thomas Jefferson

69. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves, nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe. -Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On The Constitution

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On The Constitution

70. It is every Americans’ right and obligation to read and interpret the Constitution for himself. -Thomas Jefferson

71. Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry. -Thomas Jefferson

72. No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority. -Thomas Jefferson

73. The government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers. -Thomas Jefferson

74. Our Constitution… has not left the religion of its citizens under the power of its public functionaries, were it possible that any of these should consider a conquest over the conscience of men either attainable or applicable to any desirable purpose. -Thomas Jefferson

75. 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.

Thomas Jefferson

76. I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution. -Thomas Jefferson

77. 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

78. The construction applied . . . to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which delegate Congress a power . . . ought not to be construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument. -Thomas Jefferson

79. The purpose of a written constitution is to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights. -Thomas Jefferson

80. I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power not longer susceptible of any definition. -Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Education

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Education

81. I cannot live without books. -Thomas Jefferson

82. The only foundation for useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. -Thomas Jefferson

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

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

85. Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both. -Thomas Jefferson

86. 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

87. The objects of this primary education . . . would be . . . to form the statesmen, legislators and judges, on whom public prosperity and individual happiness are so much to depend. -Thomas Jefferson

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

Thomas Jefferson

89. If the children are untaught, their ignorance and vices will in future life cost us much dearer in their consequences than it would have done in their correction by a good education. -Thomas Jefferson

90. Of all the errors which can possibly be committed to the education of youth, that of sending them to Europe is the most fatal. I see [clearly] that no American should come to Europe under 30 years of age. -Thomas Jefferson

91. 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. -Thomas Jefferson

92. The truth is that the want of common education with us is not from our poverty, but from the want of an orderly system. More money is now paid for the education of a part than would be paid for that of the whole if systematically arranged. -Thomas Jefferson

93. 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

94. Education is here placed among the articles of public care, not that it would be proposed to take its ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal, but a public institution can alone supply those sciences which, though rarely called for, are yet necessary to complete the circle, all the parts of which contribute to the improvement of the country, and some of them to its preservation. -Thomas Jefferson

95. To all of which is added a selection from the elementary schools of subjects of the most promising genius, whose parents are too poor to give them further education, to be carried at the public expense through the college and university. The object is to bring into action that mass of talents which lies buried in poverty in every country, for want of the means of development, and thus give activity to a mass of mind, which, in proportion to our population, shall be double or treble of what it is in most countries. -Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Democracy

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Democracy

96. A properly functioning democracy depends on an informed electorate. -Thomas Jefferson

97. Democracy is 51% of the people taking away the rights of the other 49%. -Thomas Jefferson

98. Let us in education dream of an aristocracy of achievement arising out of a democracy of opportunity. -Thomas Jefferson

99. The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate.

Thomas Jefferson

100. Eternal Vigilance is the price of democracy. -Thomas Jefferson

101. An informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy. -Thomas Jefferson

102. 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. -Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Revolution

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Revolution

103. A little revolution is a good thing. -Thomas Jefferson

104. Force is the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism. -Thomas Jefferson

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

106. I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. -Thomas Jefferson

107. One war, such as that of our Revolution, is enough for one life.

Thomas Jefferson

108. Debt and revolution are inseparable as cause and effect. -Thomas Jefferson

109. It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest, and ourselves united. -Thomas Jefferson

110. Very many and very meritorious were the worthy patriots who assisted in bringing back our government to its republican tack. To preserve it in that, will require unremitting vigilance. -Thomas Jefferson