Words of the Brilliant Thomas Jefferson

I have recently come to love Thomas Jefferson. A progressive thinker, one of the primary architects of the United States of America and the Constitution, a brilliant, forward-thinking leader who forsaw the problems of government years, decades, even centuries before they arose. Jefferson, who is one of the founding fathers of the US, had these to say:

On religion:

“But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg…. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.

I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.

Religion is a subject on which I have ever been most scrupulously reserved. I have considered it as a matter between every man and his Maker in which no other, and far less the public, had a right to intermeddle.

I am really mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, a fact like this can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too, as an offence against religion; that a question about the sale of a book can be carried before the civil magistrate. Is this then our freedom of religion? and are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens?

On Freedom of the Press:

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.

The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and 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.

On Opposing the Government:

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.

Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.

On States’ Rights:

I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That “all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.”

On Freedom and the Government:

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.

Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education & free discussion are the antidotes of both.

On George W. Bush (ok, not really):

A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake.”

All quotes courtesy of Wikiquote.org

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