Founders' Quote Database

Thomas Jefferson

Autobiography — 1821
Category: Federal Government
Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.

Thomas Jefferson

letter to Charles Hammond — 1821
Category: Federal Government
[W]hen all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another.

Thomas Jefferson

letter to Judge William Johnson — 1823
Category: Federalism
[T]he States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore...never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market.

Thomas Jefferson

deleted portion of a draft of the Declaration of Independence — 1776
Category: Slavery
He [King George] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred right of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.

Thomas Jefferson

letter to George Washington — 1796
Category: Arms
One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.

Thomas Jefferson

on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones — 1814
Category: Founders on Founders
[H]is was the singular destiny and merit, of leading the armies of his country successfully through an arduous war, for the establishment of its independence; of conducting its councils through the birth of a government, new in its forms and principles, until it had settled down into a quite and orderly train; and of scrupulously obeying the laws through the whole of his career, civil and military, of which the history of the world furnishes no other example.

Thomas Jefferson

on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones — 1814
Category: Founders on Founders
His person, you know, was fine, his stature exactly what one would wish, his deportment easy, erect and noble.

Thomas Jefferson

letter to George Washington — 1784
Category: Equality
The foundation on which all [constitutions] are built is the natural equality of man, the denial of every preeminence but that annexed to legal office, and particularly the denial of a preeminence by birth.

Thomas Jefferson

on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones — 1814
Category: Founders on Founders
His person, you know, was fine, his stature exactly what one would wish, his deportment easy, erect and noble.

Thomas Jefferson

on George Washington in a letter to William Branch Giles — 1795
Category: Founders on Founders
[T]he President, who errs as other men do, but errs with integrity.

Thomas Jefferson

on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones — 1814
Category: Founders on Founders
His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man.

Thomas Jefferson

on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones — 1814
Category: Founders on Founders
On the whole, his character was, in its mass, perfect, in nothing bad, in few points indifferent; and it may truly be said, that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great, and to place him in the same constellation with whatever worthies have merited from man an everlasting remembrance.

Thomas Jefferson

on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones — 1814
Category: Founders on Founders
Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed.

Thomas Jefferson

on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones — 1814
Category: Founders on Founders
His mind was great and powerful, without being of the very first order; his penetration strong, though not so acute as that of Newton, Bacon, or Locke; and as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder

Thomas Jefferson

letter to George Washington — 1792
Category: The Press
No government ought to be without censors & where the press is free, no one ever will.

Thomas Jefferson

letter to The Republican Citizens of Washington County, Maryland — 1809
Category: Government
The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.

Thomas Jefferson

letter to George Logan — 1805
Category: Politics and Parties
The duty of an upright administration is to pursue its course steadily, to know nothing of these family dissentions, and to cherish the good principles of both parties.

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