Top Jefferson Quotes

Browse top 99 famous quotes and sayings about Jefferson by most favorite authors.

Favorite Jefferson Quotes

1. "{When Abraham Lincoln was 26 years old in 1835, he wrote a defense of Thomas Paine's deism; a political associate, Samuel Hill, burned it to save Lincoln's political career. Historian Roy Basler, the editor of Lincoln's papers, said Paine had a strong influence on Lincoln's style:}No other writer of the eighteenth century, with the exception of Jefferson, parallels more closely the temper or gist of Lincoln's later thought. In style, Paine above all others affords the variety of eloquence which, chastened and adapted to Lincoln's own mood, is revealed in Lincoln's formal writings."
Author: Abraham Lincoln
2. "At noon, on the Fourth of July, 1826, while the Liberty Bell was again sounding its old message to the people of Philadelphia, the soul of Thomas Jefferson passed on; and a few hours later John Adams entered into rest, with the name of his old friend upon his lips."
Author: Allen Johnson
3. "Jefferson and Washington had no idea these idiots would exist, otherwise they would not have made killing illegal."
Author: Anonymous
4. "Anarchists are simply unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats."
Author: Benjamin Tucker
5. "A modern-day conservator of Monticello says that Woodmont Jefferson as an amateur architect rather than a professional was that he made things more complicated than they needed to be for any practical purpose."
Author: Bill Bryson
6. "FDR rejected Hamilton's focus on the needs of an economic elite in favor of «jefferson's focus on the needs and interst of the common man.Pursuing the American Dream, 6, 175"
Author: Cal Jillson
7. "But, Jefferson worried that the people - and the argument goes back to Thucydides and Aristotle - are easily misled. He also stressed, passionately and repeatedly, that it was essential for the people to understand the risks and benefits of government, to educate themselves, and to involve themselves in the political process. Without that, he said, the wolves will take over."
Author: Carl Sagan
8. "Nevertheless, (Jefferson) believed that the habit of skepticism is an essential prerequisite for responsible citizenship. He argued that the cost of education is trivial compared to the cost of ignorance, of leaving government to the wolves. He taught that the country is safe only when the people rule."
Author: Carl Sagan
9. "I'm not Thomas Jefferson. He was a pussy!"
Author: Charlie Sheen
10. "Jefferson also founded the first intentionally secularized university in America. His vision for the University of Virginia was for education finally free from traditional Christian dogma. He had a disdain for the influence that institutional Christianity had on education. At the University of Virginia there was no Christian curriculum and the school had no chaplain."
Author: Daryl C. Cornett
11. "What was surprising--and would largely be forgotten as time went on--was how well Adams had done. Despite the malicious attacks on him, the furor over the Alien and Sedition Acts, unpopular taxes, betrayals by his own cabinet, the disarray of the Federalists, and the final treachery of Hamilton, he had, in fact, come very close to winning in the electoral count. With a difference of only 250 votes in New York City, Adams would have won an electoral count of 71 to 61. So another of the ironies of 1800 was that Jefferson, the apostle of agrarian America who loathed cities, owed his ultimate political triumph to New York."
Author: David McCullough
12. "That there would be a political advantage in having the declaration written by a Virginian was clear, for the same reason there had been political advantage in having the Virginian Washington in command of the army. But be that as it may, Jefferson, with his "peculiar felicity of expression," as Adams said, was the best choice for the task, just as Washington had been the best choice to command the Continental Army, and again Adams had played a key part. Had his contributions as a member of Congress been only that of casting the two Virginians in their respective, fateful roles, his service to the American cause would have been very great."
Author: David McCullough
13. "After I outlined 'Catering to Nobody,' I went and worked for a caterer. And the other thing I had to do was to talk to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department about how they investigated a crime."
Author: Diane Mott Davidson
14. "Such is the economy of nature," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "that no instance can be produced, of her having permitted any one race of her animals to become extinct; of her having formed any link in her great work so weak as to be broken." When, as President, he dispatched Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to the Northwest, Jefferson hoped that they would come upon live mastodons roaming the region."
Author: Elizabeth Kolbert
15. "Had I realized while on Earth," he said, "that Hell was such a delightful place, I should have put more faith in the teachings of religion. As it was, I actually doubted its existence. A foolish error, cherie. I am pleased to say that you have converted me completely.""I, too," observed Mr. Hamilton, helping himself to wine, "was something of an unbeliever in my time, and while never quite an atheist, like my arch-enemy Jefferson, I was still inclined to look upon Satan as merely a myth. Imagine my satisfaction to find him ruling a monarchy! You know I spent the greater part of my earthly existence fighting Mr. Jefferson and his absurd democratic ideas and now look at the damn country! Run by morons!"
Author: Frederic Arnold Kummer
16. "So, like I said, I will visit Jeffersonville more often because I now have a little getaway house up there."
Author: Genevieve Gorder
17. "One more thing, gentlemen, before I quit. Thomas Jefferson once said that all men are created equal, a phrase that the Yankees and the distaff side of the Executive branch in Washington are fond of hurling at us. There is a tendency in this year of grace, 1935, for certain people to use this phrase out of context, to satisfy all conditions. The most ridiculous example I can think of is that the people who run public education promote the stupid and idle along with the industrious—because all men are created equal, educators will gravely tell you, the children left behind suffer terrible feelings of inferiority. We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe—some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they're born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others—some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of most men."
Author: Harper Lee
18. "The adoption by Jefferson and the Republicans of the political structure of their opponents is of an importance hardly inferior to that of the adoption of the Constitution by the states."
Author: Herbert Croly
19. "When Jefferson and the Republicans rallied to the Union and to the existing Federalist organization, the fabric of traditional American democracy was almost completely woven."
Author: Herbert Croly
20. "In Jefferson's mind democracy was tantamount to extreme individualism."
Author: Herbert Croly
21. "Screw you, you sons of bitches. I may be just a goddamn Jew Red to you, but I'm keeping Jefferson alive!"
Author: I.F. Stone
22. "The religious issue was dragged out, and stirred up flames of hatred and intolerance. Clergymen, mobilizing their heaviest artillery of thunder and brimstone, threatened Christians with all manner of dire consequences if they should vote for the 'in fidel' from Virginia. This was particularly true in New England, where the clergy stood like Gibraltar against Jefferson."
Author: Jefferson
23. "Learn to fish (income), share your fish (community service), teach others to fish (multiply yourself). Then find another sidestream, with different fish (diversify income). And before THAT sidestream dries up, plant a garden (manage risk), like Thomas Jefferson (genius) would have done."
Author: Jennifer Ritchie Payette
24. "We took the liberty to make some enquiries concerning the ground of their pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation. The Ambassador [of Tripoli] answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.{Letter from the commissioners, John Adams & Thomas Jefferson, to John Jay, 28 March 1786}"
Author: John Adams
25. "For Jefferson, William and Mary was largely about what university life is supposed to be about: reading books, enjoying the company of like-minded, and savoring teachers who seemed to be ambassadors from other, richer, writer worlds. Jefferson believed Williamsburg "the finest school of manners and morals that ever existed in America."
Author: Jon Meacham
26. "Broadly put, philosophers think: politicians maneuver. Jefferson's genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously. Such is the art of power."
Author: Jon Meacham
27. "Jefferson was the rare leader who stood out from the crowd without intimidating it."
Author: Jon Meacham
28. "The political nature of man made it highly unlikely that a society designed to meet regularly would remain peaceable. "The way to make friends quarrel is to pit them in disputation under the public eye," Jefferson said."
Author: Jon Meacham
29. "The Jefferson style – cultivate his elders, make himself pleasant to his contemporaries, and used his pen and his intellect to shape the debate – arm him well for the national arena."
Author: Jon Meacham
30. "Benjamin Rush had helped inform Jefferson's views on church and state in 1800. "I agree with you likewise in your wishes to keep religion and government independent of each other," Rush had told Jefferson.58 "Were it possible for St. Paul to rise from his grave at the present juncture, he would say to the clergy who are now so active in settling the political affairs of the world: ‘Cease from your political labors your kingdom is not of this world. Read my epistles. In no part of them will you perceive me aiming to depose a pagan emperor, or to place a Christian upon a throne. Christianity disdains to receive support from human governments.'"
Author: Jon Meacham
31. "Lincoln once said that America was founded on a proposition that was written by Jefferson in 1776. We are really founded on an argument about what that proposition means."
Author: Joseph J. Ellis
32. "I remain basically a socialist. It is more relevant today because capitalism has reached its apex. It will begin to slide down or will dissolve or save itself through a Third World War to control the whole world through oil and the subservience of small countries like us and I don't like that. I am happy that Cardinal Sin stated very clearly that we must be for peace. We are for America but the good America, not the America today. The good America of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR is the America I love and admire. But the America today wants to control the economy of the world. The war in Iraq. . . is a war for oil, no matter how many millions will die so long as they can control Iraq which is the second largest oil-producing country in the world, second only to Saudi Arabia and its neighbors."
Author: Luis Taruc
33. "This society [Jesuits] has been a greater calamity to mankind than the French Revolution, or Napoleon's despotism or ideology. It has obstructed the progress of reformation and the improvement of the human mind in society much longer and more fatally.{Letter to Thomas Jefferson, November 4, 1816. Adams wrote an anonymous 4 volume work on the destructive history of the Jesuits}"
Author: Napoleon
34. "I see dead Presidents. Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin, and Washington."
Author: Nicole Fende
35. "But if there's an erosion at home, you know, Thomas Jefferson warned about a tyranny of an oligarchy and if we surrender our democracy to the tyranny of an oligarchy, we've made a terrible mistake."
Author: Pat Robertson
36. "Every time something really bad happens, people cry out for safety, and the government answers by taking rights away from good people. We have no proof that the bad, stupid crazy people who have planted bombs in the past few years used the phone much for their stupid bad crimes, let alone logged on the Internet. Yet when those kind of bad things happen nowadays, the government tries to do bad things to phones and the Net. The phones and the Internet are just good smart things, and the government should leave them alone. You have to watch the government all the time on everything. Thomas Jefferson didn't say that, but he said something very close to that."
Author: Penn Jillette
37. "It's happened many times before. Usually it results in an exceptional and gifted human. Some of the greatest figures in Earth's history were actually the product of humans and the Loric, including Buddha, Aristotle, Julius Ceasar, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein... Aprodite, Apollo, Hermes, and Zeus were all real, and had one Loric parent"
Author: Pittacus Lore
38. "Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are serviley crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. 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 blindfolded fear.- Thomas Jefferson"
Author: Richard Dawkins
39. "If you read our Founding Fathers, people like Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson - what we're doing now in this country is making them roll over in their graves."
Author: Rick Santelli
40. "First is the danger of futility; the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills — against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32-year-old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. "Give me a place to stand," said Archimedes, "and I will move the world." These men moved the world, and so can we all."
Author: Robert F. Kennedy
41. "The law of gravity and gravity itself did not exist before Isaac Newton." ...and what that means is that that law of gravity exists nowhere except in people's heads! It 's a ghost!"Mind has no matter or energy but they can't escape its predominance over everything they do. Logic exists in the mind. numbers exist only in the mind. I don't get upset when scientists say that ghosts exist in the mind. it's that only that gets me. science is only in your mind too, it's just that that doesn't make it bad. or ghosts either."Laws of nature are human inventions, like ghosts. Law of logic, of mathematics are also human inventions, like ghosts."...we see what we see because these ghosts show it to us, ghosts of Moses and Christ and the Buddha, and Plato, and Descartes, and Rousseau and Jefferson and Lincoln, on and on and on. Isaac Newton is a very good ghost. One of the best. Your common sense is nothing more than the voices of thousands and thousands of these ghosts from the past."
Author: Robert M. Pirsig
42. "The suspect nature of these stories can be seen in the anecdote Jefferson told of Hamilton visiting his lodging in 1792 and inquiring about three portraits on the wall. "They are my trinity of the three greatest men the world has ever produced," Jefferson replied: "Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, and John Locke." Hamilton supposedly replied, "The greatest man that ever lived was Julius Casar."
Author: Ron Chernow
43. "Of course, Mississippi participates in federal matching programs for everything from preserving the post-Civil War home of Jefferson Davis to beaver control."
Author: Ronnie Musgrove
44. "Jesus and Lincoln, Moses and Jefferson can seem so long gone, so unbelievable, so dead."
Author: Sarah Vowell
45. "He is the kind of person I should expect to rescue one from a mad dog at any risk but then insist on a stoical indifference to the fright afterward." Jefferson Davis's future wife describing him at first meeting."
Author: Shelby Foote
46. "Washington, not Jefferson, freed his slaves upon his death."
Author: Stephen Ambrose
47. "Both Jefferson and Adams were wary of priests in all forms, as they both knew theocracies are enemies of democracy. Jefferson pointed out that the Indians shared their wariness:"
Author: Thom Hartmann
48. "Thomas Jefferson asked himself "In what country on earth would you rather live " He first answered "Certainly in my own where are all my friends my relations and the earliest and sweetest affections and recollections of my life." But he continued "which would be your second choice " His answer "France."
Author: Thomas Jefferson
49. "The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs... In fact, the Athanasian paradox that one is three, and three but one, is so incomprehensible to the human mind, that no candid man can say he has any idea of it, and how can he believe what presents no idea? He who thinks he does, only deceives himself. He proves, also, that man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without a rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck.[Letter to James Smith discussing Jefferson's hate of the doctrine of the Christian trinity, December 8 1822]"
Author: Thomas Jefferson
50. "We know quite well that the people of the Northern States have not yet drunk of the cup -- they are still trying to hold it far from their lips -- which all the rest of the world see they nevertheless must drink of. We may have our own opinions about slavery; we may be for or against the South; but there is no doubt that Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an army; they are making, it appears, a navy; and they have made, what is more than either, they have made a nation."
Author: William Ewart Gladstone

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She felt as she often did in class when she was nearly sure she had the right answer, but could not always make herself raise her hand."
Author: Catherynne M. Valente

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