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50 Best Thomas Jefferson Quotes

Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States and one of the most influential Founding Fathers of America. Jefferson was born to an affluent family in 1743 in Albemarle County, Virginia and was educated at local schools led by ministers and pastors as a child. At the age of nine, Jefferson studied nature, Latin, French, and Greek. Jefferson went on to study at the College of William and Mary and began a career in law. Jefferson was a political philosopher known for promoting ideas of religious freedom, liberty from imperialism, and strongly opposed centralized government.

Jefferson supported Enlightenment, promoted the ideals of Republicanism, and saw the United States as an "Empire of Liberty." In 1772, Jefferson wed Mary Wayles Skelton and built their home in Monticello on the 5,000 acre property bequeathed to Jefferson by his late father. Jefferson worked as a "silent member" of the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress where Jefferson utilized his pen, rather than his voice, to governmental causes. At the age of 33, Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence and went on to write the Virginia Statue For Religious Freedom in 1779. Jefferson was also the co-founder and leader of the Democratic-Republican party and was the wartime Governor of Virgina from 1779 until 1781. Jefferson went on to become the first U.S. Secretary of State from 1789 until 1793. Four years later, Jefferson served as the Vice President of the U.S. and was elected president in 1809. While in office, Jefferson reduced national debt, eliminated the tax on whiskey, doubled the size of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase, cut Army and Navy expenditures, increased commerce, and managed political conflicts between Federalists. Due to political disunity, Jefferson assumed the role as leader of the Republicans. Jefferson maintained neutrality during the Napoleonic wars and was the first President to never veto a bill from Congress. In 1809, Jefferson retired to Monticello and founded the University of Virginia. Upon retirement, Jefferson maintained his lifelong interests as a political leader, architect, archaeologist, paleontologist, inventor, musician, and horticulturist until his death on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Here are the 50 Best Thomas Jefferson Quotes:

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

2. "When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred."

3. "When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on."

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

5. "The way to silence religious disputes is to take no notice of them."

6. "The Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference."

7. "A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit."

8. "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."

9. "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."

10. "Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper."

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

12. "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."

13. "Always take hold of things by the smooth handle."

14. "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 vestry."

15. "An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes."

16. "An injured friend is the bitterest of foes."

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

18. "Be polite to all, but intimate with few."

19. "Bodily decay is gloomy in prospect, but of all human contemplations the most abhorrent is body without mind."

20. "Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital."

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

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

23. "Delay is preferable to error."

24. "Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition."

25. "The way to silence religious disputes is to take no notice of them."

26. "The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it."

27. "The world is indebted for all triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression."

28. "There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents."

29. "There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me."

30. "There is not a truth existing which I fear...or would wish unknown to the whole world."

31. "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."

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

33. "To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education."

34. "Truth is certainly a branch of morality and a very important one to society."

35. "Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very fast."

36. "War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiples, instead of indemnifying losses."

37. "We did not raise armies for glory or for conquest."

38. "We may consider each generation as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will of majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country."

39. "We never repent of having eaten too little."

40. "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

41. "When a man assumes a public trust he should consider himself a public property."

42. "The world is indebted for all triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression."

43. "There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents."

44. "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government."

45. "Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct."

46. "Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching."

47. "Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe."

48. "Wisdom I know is social. She seeks her fellows. But beauty is jealous, and illy bears the presence of a rival."

49. "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."

50. "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."

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