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Quotes & Sayings

Top 100 Thomas Jefferson Quotes



Here is a list of Top 100 Thomas Jefferson quotes on happiness, money, government, life and more.


Thomas Jefferson Quotes


“I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”


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


“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”


“Never spend your money before you have it.”


“An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes.”


“Always take hold of things by the smooth handle.”


“When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.”


“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty.”


“Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.”


“Freedom, the first-born of science.”


“He who knows best knows how little he knows.” -Thomas Jefferson


“Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.”


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


“But whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun.”


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


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


“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.”


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


“The dead should not rule the living.”


“Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.”


“Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.”


“Delay is preferable to error.”


“No people who are ignorant can be truly free.”


“I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.”


“Half a loaf is better than no bread.”


“A great deal of love given to a few is better than a little to many.” -Thomas Jefferson


“No instance exists of a person’s writing two languages perfectly.”


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


“Everything yields to diligence.”


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


“Nobody is better than you and remember, you are better than nobody.”


“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.”


“Walking is the very best exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”


“There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.”


“How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.”


“Advertisements… contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.”


“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”


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


“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.”


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


“Of all machines, the human heart is the most complicated and inexplicable.”


“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.”


“When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”


“A machine for making revolutions is doing precisely the wrong thing at just the right time.”


“Don’t talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.”


“Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity.”


“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”


“Every generation needs a new revolution.”


“It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.”


“If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.”


“Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise.”


“I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk and restorative cordial.”


“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”


“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”


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


“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.”


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


“I cannot live without books.” -Thomas Jefferson


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


“If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off.”


“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”


“The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.”


“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden…But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.”


“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”


“Money, not morality, is the principle commerce of civilized nations.”


“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.”


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


“That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.”


“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.”


“Man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do.”


“There is not a truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world.”


“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”


“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”


“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”


“But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.” -Thomas Jefferson


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


“Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.”


“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms… disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.”


“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”


“Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.”


“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”


“Was the government to prescribe us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.”


“Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.”


“Self-love is no part of morality. Indeed it is exactly its counterpart. It is the sole antagonist of virtue leading us constantly by our propensities to self-gratification in violation of our moral duties to others.”


“The policy of the American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits.”


“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.”


“Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”


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


“We confide in our strength, without boasting of it, we respect that of others, without fearing it.”


“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.”


“Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.”


“No man will ever bring out of that office the reputation which carries him into it. The honeymoon would be as short in that case as in any other, and its moments of ecstasy would be ransomed by years of torment and hatred.”


“As new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.”


“Perfect happiness, I believe, was never intended by the Deity to be the lot of one of his creatures in this world; but that he has very much put in our power the nearness of our approaches to it, is what I have steadfastly believed.”


“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.”


“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.”


“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”


“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.”


“It is my rule never to take a side in any part in the quarrels of others, nor to inquire into them. I generally presume them to flow from the indulgence of too much passion on both sides, & always find that each party thinks all the wrong was in his adversary. These bickerings, which are always useless, embitter human life more than any other cause…”


“I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.”


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