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Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters by Thomas Jefferson
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Writings Quotes Showing 1-14 of 14
“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, ....whence it becomes expedient for promoting the publick happiness that those persons, whom nature hath endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens, and that they should be called to that charge without regard to wealth, birth or accidental condition of circumstance.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“All should be laid open to you without reserve, for there is not a truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“I wish that all nations may recover and retain their independence; that those which are overgrown may not advance beyond safe measures of power, that a salutary balance may be ever maintained among nations, and that our peace, commerce, and friendship, may be sought and cultivated by all. It is our business to manufacture for ourselves whatever we can, to keep our markets open for what we can spare or want; and the less we have to do with the amities or enmities of Europe, the better. Not in our day, but at no distant one, we may shake a rod over the heads of all, which may make the stoutest of them tremble. But I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power, the greater it will be.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“The main objects of all science, the freedom and happiness of man. . . . [are] the sole objects of all legitimate government.

(A plaque with this quotation, with the first phrase omitted, is in the stairwell of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.)”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“Freedom, the first-born of science.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“Speaking one day to Monsieur de Buffon, on the present ardor of chemical inquiry, he affected to consider chemistry but as cookery, and to place the toils of the laboratory on the footing with those of the kitchen. I think it, on the contrary, among the most useful of sciences, and big with future discoveries for the utility and safety of the human race.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“You have heard of the new chemical nomenclature endeavored to be introduced by Lavoisier, Fourcroy, &c. Other chemists of this country, of equal note, reject it, and prove in my opinion that it is premature, insufficient and false. These latter are joined by the British chemists; and upon the whole, I think the new nomenclature will be rejected, after doing more harm than good. There are some good publications in it, which must be translated into the ordinary chemical language before they will be useful.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“our civil rights have no dependance on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage,”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“The art of life is the art of avoiding pain: & he is the best pilot who steers clearest of the rocks & shoals with which he is beset. Pleasure is always before us; but misfortune is at our side: while running after that, this arrests us. The most effectual means of being secure against pain is to retire within ourselves, & to suffice for our own happiness. Those, which depend on ourselves, are the only pleasures a wise man will count on: for nothing is ours which another may deprive us of. Hence the inestimable value of intellectual pleasures.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous falacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order;”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the Atmosphere.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters
“This is a subject with which wisdom and patriotism should be occupied.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters