Thomas Jefferson was an American diplomat, politician, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and musician.
Jefferson served as the third president of the United States of America from the year 1801 to 1809. He was the primary author of the "United States Declaration of Independence".
Thomas Jefferson is remembered for an invention like many small practical devices and improved contemporary inventions, including a revolving book-stand and a "Great Clock" powered by the gravitational pull on cannonballs. He is an icon of individual liberty, democracy, and republicanism, hailed as the author of the US Declaration of Independence, an architect of the American Revolution, and a renaissance man who promoted science and scholarship.
We've put together an incredible collection of Thomas Jefferson quotes to read.
Here they are:
List of Inspiring Thomas Jefferson Quotes
No instance exists of a person’s writing two languages perfectly.
If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off.
He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it the second time.
Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
It is the duty of every American citizen to take part in a vigorous debate on the issues of the day.
Nobody is better than you and remember, you are better than nobody.
The laws that forbid the carrying of arms… disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.
Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.
But whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun.
An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.
The policy of the American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits.
Of all machines, the human heart is the most complicated and inexplicable.
Everything yields to diligence.
I cannot live without books.
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom.
Delay is preferable to error.
I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.
Freedom, the first-born of science.
A machine for making revolutions is doing precisely the wrong thing at just the right time.
Self-love is no part of morality. Indeed it is exactly its counterpart. It is the sole antagonist of virtue leading us constantly by our propensities to self-gratification in violation of our moral duties to others.
When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.
Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
But this momentous question. Like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror.
Everything is useful which contributes to fix in the principles and practices of virtue.
That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.
Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.
Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.
A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.
It is my rule never to take a side in any part in the quarrels of others, nor to inquire into them. I generally presume them to flow from the indulgence of too much passion on both sides, & always find that each party thinks all the wrong was in his adversary. These bickerings, which are always useless, embitter human life more than any other cause…
Walking is the very best exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden…But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.
We confide in our strength, without boasting of it, we respect that of others, without fearing it.
Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful. Man has no nobler or more valuable possession than time.
On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.
History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.
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.
A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high virtues of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation.
Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
No people who are ignorant can be truly free.
The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.
Was the government to prescribe us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.
Be polite to all, but intimate with few.
I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk and restorative cordial.
I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.
There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.
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.
Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.
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.
If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.
I'm a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
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.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
There is not a truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world.
I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.
The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.
We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.
The object of walking is to relax the mind. You should therefore not permit yourself even to think while you walk. But divert your attention by the objects surrounding you.
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend
Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the general progress of the human mind.
Half a loaf is better than no bread.
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.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
Never spend your money before you have it.
Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity.
Every generation needs a new revolution.
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.
That will always appear to be his native language which was most familiar to him in his youth.
Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and opressions of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.
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.
The dead should not rule the living.
Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise.
Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.
Always take hold of things by the smooth handle.
An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes.
Whiskey claims to itself alone the exclusive office of sot-making.
Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.
Want to start your own business?
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business. By sharing these stories, we want to help you get started.
Interested in starting your own business? Join Starter Story Premium to get the greatest companion to starting and growing your business:
- Connect + get advice from successful entrepreneurs
- Step by step guides on how to start and grow
- Exclusive and early access to the best case studies on the web
- And much more!
Did you know that brands using Klaviyo average a 95x ROI?
Email, SMS, and more — Klaviyo brings your marketing all together, fueling growth without burning through time and resources.
Deliver more relevant email and text messages — powered by your data. Klaviyo helps you turn one-time buyers into repeat customers with all the power of an enterprise solution and none of the complexity.