39 Spectacular Thomas Jefferson Quotes

Thomas Jefferson was the draftsman of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States. An American Founding Father, Jefferson pursued shipping and trade interests and became the master of many disciplines. Here is a look at some of the most notable Thomas Jefferson quotes ever documented.

“A little rebellion now and then is a good thing and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”

“Are there so few inquietudes tacked to this momentary life of ours that we must need be loading ourselves with a thousand more?”

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

“Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise.”

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

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”


“I cannot live without books.”

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”

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

“If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off.”

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

“Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

“It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.”

“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”

“Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals.”

“Man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do.”

“Money, not morality, is the principle commerce of civilized nations.”

“Never spend your money before you have earned it.”

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”

“No man will labor for himself who can make another labor for him.”

“None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined is therefore at all times important.”

“One travels more usefully when alone, because he reflects more.”

“Perfect happiness, I believe, was never intended by the Deity to be the lot of one of his creatures in this world; but that he has very much put in our power the nearness of our
approaches to it, is what I have steadfastly believed.”

“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.”

“That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.”

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”

“The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.”

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

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”

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

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.”

“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”

“Walking is the very best exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”

“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.”

“When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.”

“When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.”

“Whenever people are well-informed they can be trusted with their own government.”

“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.”

Here is a look at a short biography of Thomas Jefferson and a look at some of his top achievements.

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