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Thomas Jefferson Quotes

Here are quotes by one of America's greatest founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, and related quotations about America's founding. For more history, see Founding Fathers.

Founding Fathers Quotes

During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now deci

Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Founding Fathers Quotes

During the course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been leveled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend to lessen its usefulness and to sap its safety.

Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address, December 9, 1805

Founding Fathers Quotes

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

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dupont de Nemours, April 24, 1816

Founding Fathers Quotes

Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever persuasion, religious or political.

Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Founding Fathers Quotes

Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle.

Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Founding Fathers Quotes

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

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781

Founding Fathers Quotes

Excessive taxation will carry reason & reflection to every man's door, and particularly in the hour of election.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, November 26, 1798

Founding Fathers Quotes

Excessive taxation… will carry reason and reflection to every man's door, and particularly in the hour of election.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, 1798

Founding Fathers Quotes

Experience having long taught me the reasonableness of mutual sacrifices of opinion among those who are to act together for any common object, and the expediency of doing what good we can; when we cannot do all we would wish.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Randolph, December 1, 1803

Founding Fathers Quotes

For example. If the system be established on basis of Income, and his just proportion on that scale has been already drawn from every one, to step into the field of Consumption, and tax special articles in that, as broadcloth or homespun, wine or whiskey, a coach or a wagon, is doubly taxing the same article. For that portion of Income with which these articles are purchased, having already paid its tax as Income, to pay another tax on the thing it purchased, is paying twice for the same thing; it is an aggrievance on the citizens who use these articles in exoneration of those who do not, contrary to the most sacred of the duties of a government, to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

Founding Fathers Quotes

For I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.

Thomas Jefferson, October 28, 1813

Founding Fathers Quotes

Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so it may appear to you... From the practice of the purest virtue, you may be assured you will derive the most sublime comforts in every moment of life, and in the moment of death.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 19, 1785

Founding Fathers Quotes

Hamilton was indeed a singular character. Of acute understanding, disinterested, honest, and honorable in all private transactions, amiable in society, and duly valuing virtue in private life, yet so bewitched & perverted by the British example, as to be under thoro' conviction that corruption was essential to the government of a nation.

Thomas Jefferson, on Alexander Hamilton in The Anas, 1791-1806

Founding Fathers Quotes

Harmony in the married state is the very first object to be aimed at.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Mary Jefferson Eppes, January 7, 1798

Founding Fathers Quotes

He who is permitted by law to have no property of his own, can with difficulty conceive that property is founded in anything but force.

Thomas Jefferson, January 26, 1788

Founding Fathers Quotes

He [King George] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred right of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.

Thomas Jefferson, deleted portion of a draft of the Declaration of Independence, June, 1776

Founding Fathers Quotes

His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man.

Thomas Jefferson, on Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814

Founding Fathers Quotes

His mind was great and powerful, without being of the very first order; his penetration strong, though not so acute as that of Newton, Bacon, or Locke; and as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder

Thomas Jefferson, on Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814

Founding Fathers Quotes

His person, you know, was fine, his stature exactly what one would wish, his deportment easy, erect and noble.

Thomas Jefferson, on Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814

Founding Fathers Quotes

His temper was excellent, and he generally observed decorum in debate. On one or two occasions I have seen him angry, and his anger was terrible; those who witnessed it, were not disposed to rouse it again.

Thomas Jefferson, on Patrick Henry, December, 1824



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