Thomas Jefferson

(1743-1826 / Shadwell, Virginia)

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

  • ''A good neighbor is a very desireable thing.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, July 16, 1790, to James Monroe. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 17, p. 211, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
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  • ''It is while we are young that the habit of industry is formed. If not then, it never is afterwards. The fortune of our lives therefore depends on employing well the short period of our youth.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, March 28, 1787, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 34, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
  • ''I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.... It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. letter, Jan. 30, 1787, to statesman (later president) James Madison. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 11, Julian P. Boyd (1955). Speaking of Daniel Shays's Rebellion of poor farmers in Massachusetts; Jefferson, writing from Paris, was the only one of the American leaders not alarmed by news of the revolt.
  • ''Be assured that it gives much more pain to the mind to be in debt, than to do without any article whatever which we may seem to want.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, June 14, 1787, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson0s0. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 43, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
  • ''I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, "that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living": that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, September 6, 1789, to James Madison. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 15, p. 392, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • ''Our ancestors ... possessed a right, which nature has given to all men, of departing from the country in which chance, not choice has placed them.''
    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. 121, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • ''Every human being, my dear, must thus be viewed according to what it is good for, for none of us, no not one, is perfect; and were we to love none who had imperfections, this world would be a desert for our love.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, July 17, 1790, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 61, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
  • ''I am tired of a life of contention, and of being the personal object for the hatred of every man, who hates the present state of things.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, November 23, 1807, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 315, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
  • ''I hope we shall give them a thorough drubbing this summer, and then change our tomahawk into a golden chain of friendship.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, April 15, 1791, to Charles Carroll. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 20, p. 214, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • ''The ensuing year will be the longest of my life, and the last of such hateful labours. The next we will sow our cabbages together.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, March 22, 1792, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 96, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).

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