Thomas Jefferson

(1743-1826 / Shadwell, Virginia)

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

  • ''I long to be in the midst of the children, and have more pleasure in their little follies than in the wisdom of the wise.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, January 16, 1801, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 191, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
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  • ''Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, May 5, 1787, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 40, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
  • ''Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions ... too plainly prove a deliberate, systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. "A Summary View of the Rights of British America..." (1774). The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 1, p. 125, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • ''When tempted to do any thing in secret, ask yourself if you would do it in public.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, May 21, 1816, to his grandson, Francis Wayles Eppes. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 415, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
  • ''It is in the love of one's family only that heartfelt happiness is known.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, October 26, 1801, to his daughter, Mary Jefferson Eppes. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 211, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
  • ''As you are entered with the class of Nat. philosophy, give to it the hours of lecture, but devote all your other time to Mathematics, avoiding company as the bane of all progress.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, December 3, 1809, to his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 395, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
  • ''Our ancestors ... were laborers, not lawyers.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. "A Summary View of the Rights of British America..." (1774). The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 1, p. 133, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • ''As the term of my relief from this place [Washington, D.C.] approaches, it's drudgery becomes more nauseating and intolerable, and my impatience to be with you at Monticello increases daily.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, January 10, 1809, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 377, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
  • ''Our business is to have great credit and to use it little.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, July 11, 1790, to James Monroe. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 17, p. 25, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • ''I could say much about politics, our only entertainment here, but you would not care a fig about that.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, December 8, 1807, to his granddaughter, Ellen Wayles Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 317, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).

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