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Quotations From THOMAS JEFFERSON


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  • I do not pretend that language is science. It is ... an instrument for the attainment of science.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), Query 14, p. 148, ed. William Peden (1954).
  • There are other places at which ... the laws have said there shall be towns; but Nature has said there shall not, and they remain unworthy of enumeration.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), Query 12, p. 109, ed. William Peden (1954).

    Read more quotations about / on: nature
  • I am sure that in estimating every man's value either in private or public life, a pure integrity is the quality we take first into calculation, and that learning and talents are only the second.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, June 15, 1792, to John Garland Jefferson. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 24, p. 82, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).

    Read more quotations about / on: life
  • It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, January 27, 1790, to Rev. Charles Clay. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 16, p. 129, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).

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  • The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold on us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), Query 13, p. 121, ed. William Peden (1954).

    Read more quotations about / on: trust, time
  • If I could not go to heaven but with a [political] party, I would not go there at all.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, March 13, 1789, to Francis Hopkinson. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 14, p. 650, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).

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  • Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), Query 14, p. 148, ed. William Peden (1954).

    Read more quotations about / on: alone, people
  • I know nothing more important to inculcate into the minds of young people than the wisdom, the honor, and the blessed comfort of living within their income.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, January 5, 1808, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 317, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).

    Read more quotations about / on: people
  • Chide me then no more; be to me what you have been; and give me without measure the comfort of your friendship.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, July 30, 1788, to Maria Cosway. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 13, p. 435, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • I write to you out of turn, and believe I must adopt the rule of only writing when I am written to, in hopes that may provoke more frequent letters.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, February 2, 1791, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 71, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).

    Read more quotations about / on: believe
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