155 Thomas Jefferson Quotes

Who doesn’t know the great Thomas Jefferson? He authored the Declaration of Independence! It surely is impossible not to know who he is. He is a leading figure in America’s early development as the third U.S. President. We know you admire Jefferson and everything he has done for the country, that’s why we compiled these Thomas Jefferson quotes just for you. Enjoy!

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

1. A little rebellion is good now and then.

2. I am satisfied, and sufficiently occupied with the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of which I have no evidence.

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

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

5. 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 an imperfection, this world would be a desert for our love.

6. 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.

7. Taste cannot be controlled by law.

8. Never trust a man who won’t accept that there is more than one way to spell a word paraphrased.

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

10. The opinions and beliefs of men follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

17. Good wine is a necessity of life for me.

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. In matters of style, swim with the current, in matters of principle, stand like a rock. – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes  

22. Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. – Thomas Jefferson

23. 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.

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

25. Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act, action will delineate and define you.

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

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

28. 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.

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

30. 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.

31. 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.

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

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

34. 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.

35. 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.

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

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

38. We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.

39. History, in general, only informs us what bad government is. – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes 

40. 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.

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

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

43. When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.

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

45. Be polite to all, but intimate with few.

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

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

48. 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.

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

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

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

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

53. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.

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

55. An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes.

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

58. The dead should not rule the living.

59. 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.

60. I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.

61. No man will ever bring out of that office the reputation which carries him into it. The honeymoon would be as short in that case as in any other, and its moments of ecstasy would be ransomed by years of torment and hatred.

62. Always take hold of things by the smooth handle.

63. Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong. – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes 

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

65. Everything yields to diligence.

66. Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity.

67. 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.

68. 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.

69. The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.

70. I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk and restorative cordial.

71. Whiskey claims to itself alone the exclusive office of sot-making.

72. 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.

73. Delay is preferable to error.

74. It is my rule never to take a side in any part in the quarrels of others, nor to inquire into them. I generally presume them to flow from the indulgence of too much passion on both sides, and always find that each party thinks all the wrong was in his adversary. These bickering’s, which are always useless, embitter human life more than any other cause.

75. Half a loaf is better than no bread.

76. A great deal of love given to a few is better than a little to many. – Thomas Jefferson

77. Never spend your money before you have it. – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

78. The policy of the American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits.

79. 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.

80. The art of life is the art of avoiding pain, and he is the best pilot, who steers clearest of the rocks and shoals with which it is beset.

81. Don’t talk about what you have done or what you are going to do. – Thomas Jefferson

82. With your talents and industry, with science, and that steadfast honesty, which eternally pursues right, regardless of consequences, you may promise yourself everything but health, without which there is no happiness.

83. Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the general progress of the human mind.

84. But whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun.

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

86. No instance exists of a person’s writing two languages perfectly.

87. That will always appear to be his native language which was most familiar to him in his youth.

88. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.

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

90. But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. – Thomas Jefferson

91. But this momentous question. Like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror.

92. Perfect happiness, I believe, was never intended by the Deity to be the lot of 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 have steadfastly believed.

93. When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.

94. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.

95. It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness. -Thomas Jefferson

96. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.

97. If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.

98. No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.

99. May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion. – Thomas Jefferson

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

101. A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high virtues of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation.

102. I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.

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

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

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

106. Was the government to prescribe us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.

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

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

109. No people who are ignorant can be truly free. – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes 

110. Man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do.

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

112. Self love is no part of morality. Indeed it is exactly its counterpart. It is the sole antagonist of virtue leading us constantly by our propensities to self-gratification in violation of our moral duties to others.

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

114. Freedom, the first-born of science.

115. Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight. But the enormities of the times in which I have lived, have forced me to take a part in resisting them, and to commit myself on the boisterous ocean of political passions.

116. Of all machines, the human heart is the most complicated and inexplicable.

117. A machine for making revolutions is doing precisely the wrong thing at just the right time.

118. The object of walking is to relax the mind. You should therefore not permit yourself even to think while you walk. But divert your attention by the objects surrounding you.

119. Nobody is better than you and remember, you are better than nobody. – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

120. It is the duty of every American citizen to take part in a vigorous debate on the issues of the day.

121. Every generation needs a new revolution.

122. Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.

123. Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. – Thomas Jefferson

124. Let us save what remains, not by vaults and locks which fence them from the public eye and use in consigning them to the waste of time, but by such a multiplication of copies, as shall place them beyond the reach of accident. – Thomas Jefferson

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

126. 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. – Thomas Jefferson

127. Our civil rights have no dependence upon our religious opinions more than our opinions in physics or geometry. – Thomas Jefferson

128. 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. – Thomas Jefferson

129. The executive power in our government is not the only, perhaps not even the principal, object of my solicitude. The tyranny of the legislature is really the danger most to be feared, and will continue to be so for many years to come. The tyranny of the executive power will come in its turn, but at a more distant period. – Thomas Jefferson

130. Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people. – Thomas Jefferson

131. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. – Thomas Jefferson

132. 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. – Thomas Jefferson

133. 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. – Thomas Jefferson

134. In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution. – Thomas Jefferson

135. A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometime against us at home, we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake. – Thomas Jefferson

136. I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. – Thomas Jefferson

137. The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease – Thomas Jefferson

138. 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

139. The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave. – Thomas Jefferson

140. I cannot live without books. – Thomas Jefferson

141. 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

142. Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom. ― Thomas Jefferson

143. 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

144. 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

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

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

147. On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock. ― Thomas Jefferson

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

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

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

151. I have observed, indeed, generally, that while in protestant countries the defections from the Platonic Christianity of the priests is to Deism, in catholic countries they are to Atheism. Diderot, D’Alembert, D’Holbach, Condorcet, are known to have been among the most virtuous of men. Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God. ― Thomas Jefferson

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

153. Legitimate 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. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. ― Thomas Jefferson

154. Vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of ’76 now look to a single and splendid government of an aristocracy, founded on banking institutions and monied incorporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry. ― Thomas Jefferson

155. 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. ― Thomas Jefferson

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