Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 – 4 July 1826) was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat, architect, musician, philosopher, and Founding Father. He was the primary draftsman of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the nation's first secretary of state (1789–1794) and the second vice president (under John Adams; 1797–1801). As the third president of the United States (1801–1809), Jefferson was the statesman responsible for the Louisiana Purchase. He also founded the University of Virginia.
Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom. I cannot live without books. Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. 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. 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.
I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
Thomas Jefferson The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. 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. I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. 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. I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be. Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty. We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate. 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. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
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.
Thomas Jefferson The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government. Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry... If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. When angry, count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred. Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits. I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.
I have observed, indeed, generally, that while in protestant countries the defections from the Platonic Christianity of the priests is to Deism, in catholic countries they are to Atheism. Diderot, D'Alembert, D’Holbach, Condorcet, are known to have been among the most virtuous of men. Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.
A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.
Thomas Jefferson Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another. I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. Never spend your money before you have earned it. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances. He who knows best knows how little he knows. To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education. I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it. 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. The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.
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 Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail. Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it. I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man's milk and restorative cordial. Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny. Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it. It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong. Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful. Man has no nobler or more valuable possession than time. The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave. Take things always by their smooth handle. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened. The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold. We never repent of having eaten too little. But this momentous question. Like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. 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. I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. 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. He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it the second time. 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. It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. But whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun.