Thomas Jefferson quotes

Thomas Jefferson quotes
Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and the third President of the United States (1801–1809). He was an ardent proponent of democracy and embraced the principles of republicanism and the rights of the individual with worldwide influence.

“I cannot live without books.”
― Thomas Jefferson

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

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

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

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

“Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful. Man has no nobler or more valuable possession than time.”
― Thomas Jefferson

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

“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

“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

“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

“I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.”
― Thomas Jefferson

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

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
― Thomas Jefferson

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

“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very fast.”
― Thomas Jefferson

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

“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

“I think one travels more usefully when they travel alone, because they reflect more.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“Be polite to all, but intimate with few.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”
― Thomas Jefferson

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

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it the second time.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!”
― Thomas Jefferson

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

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“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

“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 imperfection, this world would be a desert for our love.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“It is an axiom in my mind, that our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves, and that too of the people with a certain degree of instruction. This it is the business of the State to effect, and on a general plan.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade but in the sunshine of life; & thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine. I will recur for proof to the days we have lately passed. On these indeed the sun shone brightly.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“I am increasingly persuaded that the earth belongs exclusively to the living and that one generation has no more right to bind another to it’s laws and judgments than one independent nation has the right to command another.”
― Thomas Jefferson

8 Comments


  1. Beautiful quotes! Thanks for sharing! I might talk about some of these in my next blog post

    Reply

  2. I love these quotes! Thank you for compiling them! Jefferson also played a part in drafting the Declaration of the Rights of Man, with Lafayette, during the French Revolution, and I think his quote about the ‘total incompetency on a single head’ when referring to Louis XVI, is a particularly interesting insight into his thoughts on absolutism, despotism, and the contemporary importance of democracy. Again, thanks for sharing – I really enjoyed reading!

    Reply

  3. Just went to Monticello about six weeks ago; fascinating man, President Jefferson. And, one to admire

    Reply

  4. “Be polite to all, but intimate with few.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson

    Favorite! TJ is also one of my faves! Lovely post.

    Reply

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