Quotations From THOMAS JEFFERSON


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  • We may consider each generation as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will of its majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, June 24, 1813. On the incurring of a national debt.
  • Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, March 17, 1814. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 9, ed. Paul L. Ford (1898).
  • If you are obliged to neglect any thing, let it be your chemistry. It is the least useful and the least amusing to a country gentleman of all the ordinary branches of science.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, January 3, 1809, to his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 377, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
  • For the support of this declaration we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, & our sacred honour.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. "Jefferson's 'original Rough draught' of the Declaration of Independence" (1776). The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 1, p. 427, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • Resort is had to ridicule only when reason is against us.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, 1813, to Jefferson's successor as president, James Madison.
  • Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on [political offices], a rottenness begins in his conduct.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, May 21, 1799. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 7, ed. Paul L. Ford (1896).
  • There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. letter, Oct. 28, 1813, to former president, John Adams. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 9, ed. Paul L. Ford (1898).
  • Great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, May 2, 1808.
  • [A] lawyer without books would be like a workman without tools.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, February 5, 1769, to Thomas Turpin. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 1, p. 24, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • Nothing ... is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, June 5, 1824, to John Cartwright. The Portable Thomas Jefferson, p. 581, ed. Merrill D. Peterson (1975).
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