Thomas Jefferson

(1743-1826 / Shadwell, Virginia)

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

  • ''Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, October 12, 1786.
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  • ''But is an enemy so execrable that tho in captivity his wishes and comforts are to be disregarded and even crossed? I think not. It is for the benefit of mankind to mitigate the horrors of war as much as possible.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, March 27, 1779, to Patrick Henry. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 2, p. 242, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • ''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 (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, June 12, 1815.
  • ''Let those flatter, who fear: it is not an American art. To give praise where it is not due, might be well from the venal, but would ill beseem those who are asserting the rights of human nature.''
    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. 134, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • ''I thank heaven that the 4th. of July is over. It is always a day of great fatigue to me, and of some embarrassments from improper intrusions and some from unintended exclusions.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, July 5, 1808, to his granddaughter, Ellen Wayles Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 347, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
  • ''The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, March 11, 1790. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 16, Julian P. Boyd (1963).
  • ''The art of life is the art of avoiding pain; and he is the best pilot, who steers clearest of the rocks and shoals with which it is beset.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, October 12, 1786, to Maria Cosway.
  • ''A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a people who mean to be free.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. "Jefferson's 'original Rough draught' of the Declaration of Independence" (1776). The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 1, p. 426, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • ''Friendship is but another name for an alliance with the follies and the misfortunes of others. Our own share of miseries is sufficient: why enter then as volunteers into those of another?''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. letter, Oct. 12, 1786, to Maria Cosway. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 10, Julian P. Boyd (1954).
  • ''If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.''
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, July 28, 1791.

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