Saturday, August 21, 2010

Quotations of Thomas Jefferson

A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

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.

An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes.

An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.

As our enemies have found we can reason like men, so now let us show them we can fight like men also.

Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.

Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.

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.

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

Don't talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.

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

Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.

Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.

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

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.

For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.

He who knows best knows how little he knows.

He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.

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.

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.

If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?

It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

Never spend your money before you have earned it.

No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms.

No man will ever carry out of the Presidency the reputation which carried him into it.

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.

One man with courage is a majority.

Peace and abstinence from European interferences are our objects, and so will continue while the present order of things in America remain uninterrupted.

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

The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.

The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.

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

The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.

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

To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

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.

And all I have to say is Amen.

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