Blog Archives

Truth

It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors.

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 17, 1781.

Ignorance

If a nation expects to be ignorant – and free – in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Colonel Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816.

Friendly

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

Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801.

Rule

Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801.

States

The States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore … never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at the market.

– Thomas Jefferson, letter to Judge William Johnson, June 12, 1823.

Union

Union the last anchor of our hope, and that alone which is to prevent his heavenly country from becoming an arena of gladiators.

– Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, May 13, 1797.

Constitution

I join cordially in admiring and revering the Constitution of the United States, the result of the collected wisdom of our country. That wisdom has committed to us the important task of proving by example that a government, if organized in all its parts on the Representative principle unadulterated by the infusion of spurious elements, if founded, not in the fears & follies of man, but on his reason, on his sense of right, on the predominance of the social over his dissocial passions, may be so free as to restrain him in no moral right, and so firm as to protect him from every moral wrong.

– Thomas Jefferson, letter to Amos Marsh, November 20, 1801.

Liars

It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tel a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world believing him. This falsehood of the tongue, leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition.

– Thomas Jefferson

Letter to Peter Carr, August 19, 1785