Thomas Jefferson

3rd President of the United States; chief drafter of the Declaration of Independence; made the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and sent out the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore it (1743-1826)

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No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.
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 beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.
The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.
...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.
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 the constant companion of your walks.
Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.
How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
In matters of style, swim with the current in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
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.
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.
Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.
The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.
The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But 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.
We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
When a man has cast his longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.
Every man has two countries his own and France.
When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.
It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness.
I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
Never enter into dispute or argument with another. I never yet saw an instance of one of two disputants convincing the other by argument. I have seen many on their getting warm, becoming rude and shooting one another.
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.
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.
Advertisements... contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
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.
An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.
Be polite to all, but intimate with few.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.
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.
Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independant, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bands. As long therefore as they can find emploiment in this line, I would not convert them into mariners, artisans, or any thing else. But our citizens will find emploiment in this line till their numbers, and of course their productions, become too great for the demand both internal and foreign.
Delay is preferable to error.
Democracy is 51% of the people taking away the rights of the other 49%.
Determine never to be idle...It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.
Difference of opinion is helpful in religion.
Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.
Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.
Friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life.
Great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities.
He is happiest of whom the world says least, good or bad.
Health is worth more than learning.
Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.
I believe that justice is instinct and innate, the moral sense is as much a part of our constitution as the threat of feeling, seeing and hearing.
I cannot live without books.
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
I find the pain of a little censure, even when it is unfounded, is more acute than the pleasure of much praise.
I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.
I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another.
I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
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.
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.
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
I live for books.
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.
I read no newspaper now but Ritchie's, and in that chiefly the advertisements, for they contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
I steer my bark with hope in the head, leaving fear astern. My hopes indeed sometimes fail, but not oftener than the forebodings of the gloomy.
If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.
If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
Information is the currency of democracy.
Is it the Fourth?
It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.
It is part of the American character to consider nothing as desperate - to surmount every difficulty by resolution and contrivance.
Man is fed with fables through life, and leaves it in the belief he knows something of what has been passing, when in truth he has known nothing but what has passed under his own eye.
My views and feelings (are) in favor of the abolition of war--and I hope it is practicable, by improving the mind and morals of society, to lessen the disposition to war; but of its abolition I despair.
Never fear the want of business. A man who qualifies himself well for his calling, never fails of employment.
Never spend your money before you have earned it.
Never spend your money before you have it.
Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself.
No government ought to be without censors & where the press is free, no one ever will.
No man will ever bring out of the Presidency the reputation which carries him into it...To myself, personally, it brings nothing but increasing drudgery and daily loss of friends.
No more good must be attempted than the people can bear.
No nation was ever drunk when wine was cheap.
Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
One man with courage is a majority.
Our friendships are precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life;and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part is sunshine.
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press and that cannot be limited without being lost.
Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.
Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.
Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.
Perfect happiness I believe was never intended by the deity to be the lot of any one of his creatures in this world; but that he has very much put in our power the nearness of our approaches to it, is what I as stedfastly believe.
Question with boldness even the existance of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there is one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded faith.
Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.
Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.
Shake off all the 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.
Shake off all the 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.
Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence ... too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment.
Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched.
That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.
That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.
The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper.
The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers wthout government, I should not hesita
The bulk of mankind are schoolboys through life.
The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
The Greeks by their laws, and the Romans by the spirit of their people, took care to put into the hands of their rulers no such engine of oppression as a standing army. Their system was to make every man a soldier, and oblige him to repair to the standard of his country whenever that was reared. This made them invincible and the same remedy will make us so.
The happiest moments of my life have a been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.
The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.
The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
The Price Of Freedom Is Eternal Vigilance.
The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is the best.
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 always to be kept alive.
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.
The superiority of chocolate (hot chocolate), both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain. . .
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
The tree of Liberty needs to be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.
There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.
There is nothing more unequal, than the equal treatment of unequal people.
This institution will be based upon the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.
Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.
We confide in our strength, without boasting of it we respect that of others, without fearing it.
We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it.
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 ar
We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.
We never regret having eaten too little.
When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property
When angry, count ten before you speak if very angry, an hundred.
Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.
Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on. The small landowners are the most precious part of a state.
Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you and act accordingly.

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