Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of republicanism in the United States. Major events during his presidency include the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806).
An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.
letter to John Melish, January 13, 1813
Advertisements... contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
Letter to Nathaniel Macon, January 12, 1819
I have the consolation of having added nothing to my private fortune during my public service, and of retiring with hands clean as they are empty.
letter to Count Diodati, 1807
No government ought to be without censors & where the press is free, no one ever will.
letter to George Washington, September 9, 1792
Health is worth more than learning.
letter to his cousin John Garland Jefferson, June 11, 1790
If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.
letter to James Lewis, Jr., May 9, 1798
Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.
Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
Determine never to be idle...It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.
Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.
Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.
I cannot live without books.
Never fear the want of business. A man who qualifies himself well for his calling, never fails of employment.
Never spend your money before you have it.
Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself.
No instance exists of a person's writing two languages perfectly. That will always appear to be his native language which was most familiar to him in his youth.
Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.
Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give happiness.
The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.
Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.
We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it.
We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.