Quotes by Thomas Jefferson

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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.

When angry, count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.
Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
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.
My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
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.
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
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
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. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.
I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.
A little rebellion now and then... is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.
Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.
The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing, but newspapers.
I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.
In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.
Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.
The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
I cannot live without books.
Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.
We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it.
Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
Never spend your money before you have earned it.
A Decalogue of Canons for observation in practical life. 1. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day. 2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself. 3. Never spend your money before you have it. 4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. 5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold. 6. We never repent of having eaten too little. 7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly. 8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened. 9. Take things always by their smooth handle. 10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.
When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
Victory and defeat are each of the same price.
Traveling makes a man wiser, but less happy.
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 advertisements are the most truthful part of a newspaper.
It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquillity and occupation which give happiness.
Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.
Information is the currency of democracy.
A mind always employed is always happy. This is the true secret, the grand recipe, for felicity.
Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind.
I have no ambition to govern men. It is a painful and thankless office
Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.
The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.
The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.
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.
My only fear is that I may live too long. This would be a subject of dread to me.
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, 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. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
The constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.
I have come to a resolution myself as I hope every good citizen will, never again to purchase any article of foreign manufacture which can be had of American make be the difference of price what it may.
I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
The man who fears no truth has nothing to fear from lies.
For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead...
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely happier for it.
To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.
I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.
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.
We rarely repent of having eaten too little.