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Thomas Jefferson quotes (170)

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.
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A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.
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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 your constant companion of your walks.
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A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.
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A wise and frugal Government, which shall retrain 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.
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Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
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All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
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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.
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Always take hold of things by the smooth handle.
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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.
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An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes.
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An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.
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As our enemies have found we can reason like men, so now let us show them we can fight like men also.
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Be polite to all, but intimate with few.
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Bodily decay is gloomy in prospect, but of all human contemplations the most abhorrent is body without mind.
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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.
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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.
Thomas Jefferson   Category: Friendship

Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.
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Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.
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Delay is preferable to error.
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Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.
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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   Category: Motivational

Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor - over each other.
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Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.
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Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
Thomas Jefferson   Category: Motivational

Don't talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.
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Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
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Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
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Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
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Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.
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Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.
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Force is the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism.
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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?
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Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind.
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He who knows best knows how little he knows.
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He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.
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History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.
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Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
Thomas Jefferson   Category: Wisdom

How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened.
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I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.
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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.
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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.
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I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
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I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.
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I cannot live without books.
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I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
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I find that he is happiest of whom the world says least, good or bad.
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I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office.
Thomas Jefferson   Category: Politics

I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.
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I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another.
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I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
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I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.
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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.
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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.
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I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
Thomas Jefferson   Category: History

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.
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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.
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I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.
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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.
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I think with the Romans, that the general of today should be a soldier tomorrow if necessary.
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I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.
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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.
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I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
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If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
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If God is just, I tremble for my country.
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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?
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