Founding Father Quotes

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

United States Founding Father
(1743 - 1826)

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (18011809), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of republicanism in the United States. Major events during his presidency include the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and the Lewis and Clark Expedition (18041806).


Religion: Deist

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Quotes by Thomas Jefferson


Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever persuasion, religious or political.

-= First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801 =-

Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle

-= First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801 =-

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

-= Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781 =-

Experience having long taught me the reasonableness of mutual sacrifices of opinion among those who are to act together for any common object, and the expediency of doing what good we can; when we cannot do all we would wish.

-= letter to John Randolph, December 1, 1803 =-

For example. If the system be established on basis of Income, and his just proportion on that scale has been already drawn from every one, to step into the field of Consumption, and tax special articles in that, as broadcloth or homespun, wine or whiskey, a coach or a wagon, is doubly taxing the same article. For that portion of Income with which these articles are purchased, having already paid its tax as Income, to pay another tax on the thing it purchased, is paying twice for the same thing; it is an aggrievance on the citizens who use these articles in exoneration of those who do not, contrary to the most sacred of the duties of a government, to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.

-= letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816 =-

For I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.

-= October 28, 1813 =-

Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so it may appear to you... From the practice of the purest virtue, you may be assured you will derive the most sublime comforts in every moment of life, and in the moment of death.

-= letter to Peter Carr, August 19, 1785 =-

Harmony in the married state is the very first object to be aimed at

-= letter to Mary Jefferson Eppes, January 7, 1798 =-

He who is permitted by law to have no property of his own, can with difficulty conceive that property is founded in anything but force.

-= January 26, 1788 =-

He [King George] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred right of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.

-= deleted portion of a draft of the Declaration of Independence, June, 1776 =-

His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man.

-= on Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814 =-

His mind was great and powerful, without being of the very first order; his penetration strong, though not so acute as that of Newton, Bacon, or Locke; and as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder

-= on Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814 =-

His person, you know, was fine, his stature exactly what one would wish, his deportment easy, erect and noble.

-= on Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814 =-

His temper was excellent, and he generally observed decorum in debate. On one or two occasions I have seen him angry, and his anger was terrible; those who witnessed it, were not disposed to rouse it again.

-= on Patrick Henry, December, 1824 =-

I have sworn upon the alter of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

-= to Dr. Benjamin Rush (23 Sept. 1800) =-


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