Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd President of the U.S. His words are some of the most important in the history of the world, being the author of the Declaration of Independence. These are some of his famous quotes.

  1. A lively and lasting sense of filial duty is more effectually impressed on the mind of a son or daughter by reading King Lear, than by all the dry volumes of ethics, and divinity, that ever were written.
  2. The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.
  3. Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
  4. The two principles on which our conduct towards the Indians should be founded, are justice and fear. After the injuries we have done them, they cannot love us.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.
  8. We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed.
  9. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
  10. Delay is preferable to error.
  11. We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it.
  12. The second office of the government is honorable and easy, the first is but a splendid misery.
  13. There is no act, however virtuous, for which ingenuity may not find some bad motive.
  14. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.
  15. Politics, like religion, hold up the torches of martyrdom to the reformers of error.
  16. But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.
  17. I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.
  18. I cannot live without books.
  19. If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
  20. I believe... that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.
  21. What all agree upon is probably right; what no two agree in most probably is wrong.
  22. We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.
  23. I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.
  24. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
  25. When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.
  26. The good old Dominion, the blessed mother of us all.
  27. This is the Fourth? (last words, died on July 4, 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence)
  28. A little revolution now and then is a good thing; the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. (1787)
  29. As pure a son of liberty as I have ever known.
  30. Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
  31. Good wine is a necessity of life for me.
  32. Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.
  33. I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
  34. I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.
  35. I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
  36. It is not by the consolidation or concentration, of powers, but by their distribution that good government is effected.
  37. Let those flatter, who fear: it is not an American art.
  38. No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
  39. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these [black] people are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion, has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.
  40. On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.
  41. 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 blind-folded fear.
  42. So inscrutable is the arrangement of causes and effects in this world that a two-penny duty of tea, unjustly imposed in a sequestered part of it, changes the condition of all its inhabitants.
  43. The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us the experience for the attack on Halifax, the next and final expulsion of England from the American continent. (1812)
  44. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
  45. There is not a truth existing which I fear or would wish unknown to the whole world.
  46. To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
  47. Truth will do well enough if left to shift for herself…She has no need of force to procure entrance into the minds of men.
  48. War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.
  49. We have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, self-preservation in the other.
  50. When the press is free and every man can read, all is safe.
  51. Nothing was or is farther from my intentions, than to enlist myself as the champion of a fixed opinion, where I have only expressed doubt.
  52. Say nothing of my religion. It is known to my god and myself alone.
  53. You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know.
  54. I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
  55. Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.