Thomas Jefferson

We are destined to be a barrier against the return of ignorance and barbarism. Old Europe will have to lean on our shoulders, and to hobble along by our side, under the monkish trammels of priests and kings, as she can. What a colossus shall we be when the southern continent comes up to our mark! What a stand will it seem as a ralliance for the reason and freedom of the globe! (letter to John Adams, August 1, 1816) - Thomas Jefferson

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.  - Thomas Jefferson

Friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life. - Thomas Jefferson

I steer my bark with hope in the head, leaving fear astern. - Thomas Jefferson

A wise and frugal government... shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned... - Thomas Jefferson

But though I am an old man, I am but a young gardener. {letter to Charles Willson Peale, Aug. 20, 1811} - Thomas Jefferson

It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read. - Thomas Jefferson

I have never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friendship. - Thomas Jefferson

The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.  - Thomas Jefferson

Difference of opinion is helpful in religion.  - Thomas Jefferson does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.  - Thomas Jefferson

If the happiness of the mass of mankind can be secured at the expense of a little tempest now and then, or even of a little blood, it will be a precious purchase. - Thomas Jefferson

When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred. - Thomas Jefferson

I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others. - Thomas Jefferson

No person will have the occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. - Thomas Jefferson

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits. - Thomas Jefferson

I cannot live without books. - Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. - Thomas Jefferson

I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. - Thomas Jefferson

Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread. - Thomas Jefferson

Man is a rational animal, endowed by nature with rights and with an innate sense of justice. - Thomas Jefferson

It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. - Thomas Jefferson

I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. - Thomas Jefferson

The most valuable of talents is that of never using two words when one will do. - Thomas Jefferson

Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. - Thomas Jefferson

Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances. - Thomas Jefferson

If we can prevent the Government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy. - Thomas Jefferson

The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is the best. - Thomas Jefferson

What has destroyed liberty and the rights of men in every government that has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating of all cares and powers into one body. - Thomas Jefferson

I have ever judged of the religion of others by their lives. For it is in our lives, and not from our works, that our religion must be read. - Thomas Jefferson

It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness. - Thomas Jefferson

No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the natural rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him. - Thomas Jefferson

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Connecticut Baptists