Thomas Jefferson
Quotations


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 blind-folded fear.

Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.

When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.

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.

There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.

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.

The selfish spirit of commerce, which knows no country, and feels no passion or principle but that of gain.

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.

If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.

We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I find the pain of a little censure, even when it is unfounded, is more acute than the pleasure of much praise.

Great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities.

The Constitution of the United States is the result of the collected wisdom of our country.

The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.

In truth, politeness is artificial good humor, it covers the natural want of it, and ends by rendering habitual a substitute nearly equivalent to the real virtue.

What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

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.

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.

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

No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.

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

No society can make a perpetual constitution or even a perpetual law.

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

I have not observed men's honesty to increase with their riches.



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