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Thomas Jefferson

Author: Thomas Jefferson Country: United States
Birth Date: 1682-02-16 Death Date: 1768-05-23
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Quotes:


"I find as I grow older, that I love those most whom I loved first."

Source: A letter to Mary Jefferson Bolling, July 23, 1787
Topic: Age Quotes
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"Tranquility is the old man's milk. I go to enjoy it in a few days, and to exchange the roar and tumult of bulls and bears for the prattle of my grandchildren and senile rest."

Source: A letter to Edward Rutledge, June 24, 1797
Topic: Age Quotes
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"My only fear now is that I may live too long. This would be a subject of dread to me."

Source: A letter to Philip Mazzei, March, 1801
Topic: Age Quotes
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"...our machines have now been running seventy or eighty years, and we must expect that, worn as they are, here a pivot, there a wheel, now a pinion, next a spring, will be giving way; and however we may tinker them up for a while, all will at length surcease motion. Our watches, with works of brass and steel, wear out within that period. Shall you and I last to see the course the seven-fold wonders of the times will take?"

Source: A letter to John Adams, July 15, 1814
Topic: Age Quotes
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"A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth."

Source: A letter to James Madison, December 1787
Topic: Bill of Rights Quotes
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"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."

Source: A letter to Alexander Donald, 1789
Topic: Ambition Quotes
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"When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred."

Source: A Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life, February 21, 1825
Topic: Anger Quotes
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"I never saw an instance of one of two disputants convincing the other by argument."

Source: A letter to John Taylor, June 1, 1798
Topic: Argument Quotes
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"Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have been called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans-we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments to the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it."

Source: First Inaugural Address, 1801
Topic: Argument Quotes
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"Architecture worth great attention. As we double our numbers every 20 years we must double our houses. Besides we build of such perishable materials that one half of our houses must be rebuilt in every space of 20 years. So that in that term, houses are to be built for three fourths of our inhabitants. It is then among the most important arts: and it is desirable to introduce taste into an art which shews so much."

Source: A letter to John Rutledge, Jr., June 19, 1788
Topic: Architecture Quotes
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"Merchants love nobody."

Source: A letter to John Langdon, 1785
Topic: Business Quotes
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"Merchants are the least virtuous citizens and possess the least of the amor patriae."

Source: A letter to M. de Meunier, 1786
Topic: Business Quotes
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"Money, and not morality, is the principle of commercial nations."

Source: A letter to John Langdon, 1810
Topic: Business Quotes
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"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."

Source: A letter written to Colonel Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816 at Jefferson's Monticello estate, Albemarle County, near Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Topic: Education Quotes
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"Whereas it appeareth that however certain forms of government are better calculated than others to protect individuals in the free exercise of their natural rights, and are at the same time themselves better guarded against degeneracy, yet experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts, which history exhibiteth, that, possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes..."

Source: An excerpt from the preamble of a Virginia bill written by Thomas Jefferson in 1779 known as 'A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge'
Topic: Education Quotes
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"Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to, convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty."

Source: A letter written to James Madison, December 20, 1787
Topic: Education Quotes
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"I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness. If any body thinks, that kings, nobles, or priests are good conservators of the public happiness, send him here. It is the best school in the universe to cure him of that folly. He will see here, with his own eyes, that these descriptions of men are an abandoned confederacy against the happiness of the mass of the people. The omnipotence of their effect cannot be better proved, than in this country particularly, where, notwithstanding the finest soil upon earth, the finest climate under heaven, and a people of the most benevolent, the most gay and amiable character of which the human form is susceptible; where such a people, I say, surrounded by so many blessings from nature, are loaded with misery by kings, nobles, and priests, and by them alone. Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish and improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils, and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance."

Source: A letter written from Paris to George Wythe (Jefferson's former professor) August 13, 1786
Topic: Education Quotes
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"Our Revolution commenced on more favorable grounds. It presented us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased. We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature, and found them engraved in our hearts."

Source: Letter written to John Cartwright, June 5, 1824, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Lipscomb and Bergh, vol. 16, p. 44
Topic: Age Quotes
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