Talk:Thomas Jefferson

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Paper is poverty...[edit]

"Paper is is the ghost of money, and not money itself." Thomas Jefferson I can not find anything about this quote as to when or where it came from. Does this mean it is fake? Thanks in advance.

It's genuine. It's from a 1788 letter to Edward Carrington. I've added it to the quotes page.—KHirsch 15:20, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Overuse of Bold Face[edit]

There is no reason for the large amount of bold that is being used. It may also represent an incorrect emphasis; unless it was emphasized in Jefferson's original, no part should be emphasized over any other. I have removed all bold from actual quotes. -ibanix

As I have stated in the past, the very act of quotation inherently involves emphasis of one part of a person's statements over others, and the further use of editorial emphasis in bold is permitted here. Some previous arguments on the matter are at Wikiquote:Village pump archive 8. ~ Kalki 23:07, 30 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Search for sources of quotes[edit]

BlackBritain article

This article features several quotes attributed to Jefferson which if accurate should presumably be recorded under the section on Race, even if, or especially because, they don't show Jefferson in a great light.

However, the article might include misattributed quotations, I'd be interested if anyone could settle the matter either way. The quotes are:

The article is reporting the comments of Dr Joy DeGruy-Leary (author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing). If anyone has access to the work that might help if it is footnoted. I'd note also the lady in question has no wiki page to her name as yet.


I have sworn upon the altar of god[edit]

"I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against any form of tyrrany over the mind of man." I always heard it as "I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal, hostility..." I am unsure as to the location of the comma in the original. Does anyone have a link to the original?

That is the form in which it has probably most often been presented, but from what I know of the original letter it seems to have been written as "before the altar of god" followed by "eternal hostility..." ~ Achilles 23:41, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The Library of Congress has the document where this quote appears: a letter to Benjamin Rush, 23 September 1800. If you go to you can view the transcription as well as link to images of the original.

The original does not have a comma: "...I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility..." Refer to line 13 of the original @ - tJM 04:59, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Racism in the past and present[edit]

I have just noticed that some remarks of Jefferson and Lincoln have today been posted, that anyone who is aware of history, and the pervasive influence of racist presumptions know are possibly, or even probably genuine, — I am familiar with such remarks by both men, and have not yet bothered to do any search to see whether these are accurate or not.
That there are racist ideas that have infected the minds of even brilliant people in the past, and many very unbrilliant fools even today cannot be denied. It is perhaps best that we are occasionally reminded of such stupidity, that we are aware of its severity, and less prone to fall into it ourselves. I am posting this remark in both the Lincoln and Jefferson talk pages. I hope that we can avoid becoming a place where such idiots as still hold such views will feel welcome to post their particular forms of nonsense, as if showing that some notable and otherwise admirable person (often with much less opportunity to become aware of the deficiencies of such ideas) made such comments ages, or even a few decades ago, as if they should be held up as if it were testimony that such inane ideas were right, and their own continued ignorance, bigotry and other forms of stupidity were justified. Moby 00:29, 4 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Both quotations seem accurate, and do reflect the appalling prevelance of racism and other forms of bigotry in human history.
If the poster was attempting to show the deficiency of these individuals, rather than support for the inane ideas expressed, it should be remembered, that social environments shape one's ideas and perceptions, but the truly great focus upon shaping social environments through expressions that are true and beneficial, rather than those that are false or create needless hostilities and resentments.
There are many forms of narrow mindendness and presumption that persist even today, that many people remain oblivious to, or which they promote in various ways. No person is immune to being infected by extreme forms of nonsense taken for sense, especially when most of those around them are already profoundly infested, and have much invested in having such situations of intolerence of diversity become or remain an accepted norm. Moby 20:31, 4 Dec 2003 (UTC)

There are some quotes at Transwiki:Thomas Jefferson which may need to be merged into this article. See m:transwiki for reasons why it is in the Transwiki pseudo-namespace. Angela 22:51, 20 Dec 2003 (UTC)

The quotes at Transwiki:Thomas Jefferson have now been included here (and Hamlet's Soliloquoy from Wikisource included in Hamlet Quotations). I am not sure about what follow up needs to be done. Kalki 18:52, 21 Dec 2003 (UTC)

How does this help anything at all? What do your assumptions upon racism bring to wikiquote at all? This is an absolutely pointless post. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 04:49, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Possibly or probably spurious quotations[edit]

  • I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies.
    • After extensive searches this quotation though it sounds plausible, may well be spurious. Two sources have been mentioned: "The Jefferson Bible" and a Letter to a "Dr. Wood" with no date given, but the accuracy of either of these citations remains dubious, and I have not yet been able to reliably verify them. If anyone else can, please do so.
    • A variant "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature." seems to be spreading even more broadly on the internet, but without ANY citation of sources that I could find, and appears to be merely a somewhat casual and improper paraphrase of the more extensive statement. Until such time as a reliable sources are provided for either of these statements, I am inclined to consider them spurious. I was prompted to investigate these quotes after finding the shorter one on Wikiquote's Religion Theme page, and though long an admirer of Jefferson I could not recall ever encountering it before. I am now going to remove it from there, as probably spurious, until proven otherwise. Kalki 00:58, 6 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • The earliest source I've been able to track down, is John Remsberg's "Six Historic Americans" (1906), which cites only "Letter to Dr. Woods." --Simplicius 17:51, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The Jefferson Foundation believes it to be spurious, based on their digital searches of his corpus. Unsurprising, since in the form lacking "Orthodox" it contradicts his various other substantiated views.

Hostility to Religion?[edit]

It seems to me that a lot of the quotations here were chosen to show that Jeffersone was hostile toward religious beliefs. In particular, the chosen quotes seem to show a hostile attitide toward Christianity. I'm not sure that's an accurate portrayal of Thomas Jefferson?--JasonTromm 20:26, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I do not read these as hostile to religion at all, but clearly rejecting of many common sectarian doctrines and presumptions about religion. ~ Achilles 23:41, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sourcing a quotation[edit]

I was able to confirm one of the quotations in the "Attributed" column:

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws our country".

It's taken from a letter to George Logan, Nov. 12th, 1816. There's a PDF file with scanned images of an edition of Jefferson's works at this address: . The precise quotation from the letter is:

"I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in it's [sic] birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws our country."

The "example" is that of England, as preceding sentences make sure; thus many pages on the Web quote these sentences as "... from the example of England and crush...".

It's not clear to me what Jefferson here means by "corporations", though it's certainly not quite the same thing commonly meant today. "Corporations" was employed in a much wider sense during Jefferson's time. Additionally, the context of the whole letter is that of conflict between the state and powerful religious organisations in Europe. I'm not sure whether any of this is worth mentioning in the main entry, or how to format the attribution properly, or whether to preserve the spelling in the printed edition. I'm new to Wikiquote. Will someone more knowledgable please use the information above to update the entry? --Avva 22:36, 2 Aug 2004 (UTC)

This has been done. COGDEN 22:39, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thank you, Avva, for providing a link to the original source. But I disagree about the interpretation of the quote. I think he was indeed talking about commercial enterprises. While he talks about religion in the main body of the letter, at the end, he changes subject, moving on to how England's foreign policy is much more corrupt, thanks to the heriditary aristocracy that runs the country and how, by comparison, the U.S. is threatened by a new aristocracy of monied corporations. See also, his reference to 'monied incorporations': "…younger recruits, […] having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of '76, now look to a single and splendid government of an aristocracy, founded on banking institutions, and monied incorporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures, commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry." --letter to William Branch Giles, 1825. Starlists (talk) 00:38, 18 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart 1779 or 1799?[edit]

This is one of my favorite Jefferson quotes, but after some searching it may be spurious.

"Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived; but as long as the presses can be protected, we may trust to them for light." - Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, 1779

But it may be based on this quote:

"Our citizens may be deceived for awhile and have been deceived; but... we may trust to... the tax-gatherers [for light]; for it is not worth the while of our anti-republicans to risk themselves on any change of government but a very expensive one. Reduce every department to economy, and there will be no temptation to them to betray their constituents." --Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, 1799. FE 7:378

Which is accurate? And if the 1779 quotation has been fabricated, who was the first to publish it online?

It took a bit of searching, but both statements occur in a letter to Archibald Stuart, writtten on the 14th of May 1799, which I am adding now to the article page. They have merely been edited differently in the two examples you gave; the second using ellipses to make its point about the importance of reducing every department to a minimum, and emphasize the remark made about tax-gatherers. ~ Kalki 22:44, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I am posting it here as well for easy comparison, and as an illustration of how quotations are often edited differently to emphasize different points (and unfortunately to sometimes have the authors seem to make points entirely different or even contrary to what they originally meant).
Our citizens may be deceived for a while & have been deceived; but as long as the presses can be protected, we may trust to them for light; still more perhaps to the taxgatherers; for it is not worth the while of our antirepublicans to risk themselves on any change of government, but a very expensive one. Reduce every department to economy, & there will be no temptation to them to betray their constituents. ~ Letter to Archibald Stuart (14 May 1799)
Much thanks... usually I would be more upbeat, witty and incorrigible in my prose... even for a thank you note, but had to put my cat of 15 years down tonight. So I was certainly glad to have something to do when I got back. Thanks again, and I hope to add more rarities to the quote collection in the near future. PS: I wish they would just allow the same login for Wikipedia and Wikiquote. --RoyBoy 02:42, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Rev. Ethan Allen & "No nation..."[edit]

No nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever been given to man and I, as chief Magistrate of this nation, am bound to give it the sanction of my example. Good morning Sir.
  • reportedly overheard by Rev. Ethan Allen (1797-1879) when Jefferson's friend asked “You going to church, Mr. J.? You do not believe a word in it.”
  • Allen was 12 when Jefferson retired the presidency. Whenever was TJ Chief magistrate?

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."[edit]

He actually didn't say this. A historian named Howard Zinn said this in an interview with in July 2002 and it has been widely misattributed to Thomas Jefferson. The interview can be found here: The quote can be found in the first sentence of Mr. Zinn's first answer. I am now removing this quote from the Attributed section. --Negative3 19:34, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

WAIT, Zinn might have said it, but quoting Mark Steyn in his Washington Post article on May 1, 2006: "As far as I can tell, it was Nadine Strosser, the American Civil Liberties Union's head honcho, who cooked up the Jefferson fake. At any rate, she seems to be the only one who ever deployed it prior to September 11, 2001. Since then, however, it's gone nuclear" If this can be verified, then Zinn's July 2002 interview is not the original utterance of this quote. This is clearly NOT Jefferson, but be careful about possibly misattributing this quote a second time.

The above is misleading... as his quote appears in the book "One Nation Two Cultures" written by Gertrude Himmelfarb in 1999. She cites it as coming from an article in a publication called Civilization April/May 1998, p. 39 by Nicholas von Hoffman. In the text she says "A recently discovered handwritten history of a Washington parish recounts his exchange with a friend who happened to meet him on his way to church..."

And who is Rev. Ethan Allen? The son of the Revolutionary? He had a son named Ethan, but the birth dates are wrong. This book citation does not attribute it to Ethan Allen.

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."[edit]

I'm not certain whether TJ ever actually said this. I found claims attributing the quotation to at least two other authors. Here it says that this quotation is misattributed to TJ but the closest known quotation comes from John Philpot Curran. On Bartleby it's attributed to Wendell Phillips. While it mentions the frequent attribution to Jefferson, it again says no evidence exists to support such attribution. Most telling is that at least a google search does not unearth any attribution specifying a source.

I've updated the article to indicate what is apparently the earliest reliable source for this quote, from Curran. I moved the quote to "Attributed" rather than "Misattributed" because it is commonly attributed, but not definitively disproven as a Jefferson quote. "Disputed" might be another reasonable heading under which to place this quote. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 06:03, 28 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Notes on Virginia (1782)[edit]

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

This quote is attributed to 'Notes on Virginia (1782)' Does anyone know where this document can be found? Wikisource doesn't have any similar document.

It is available in many published and online forms; here is a link to it at the Avalon Project at Yale University, with the fuller title Notes on the State of Virginia. ~ Kalki 19:48, 10 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Looking for a source...[edit]

I'm looking for a source from the following quote, attributed to Jefferson: “If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny."

The closest thing I've found to any sort of background on it are accounts of Jefferson's experience with the smallpox vaccine, but I'm not sure if those accounts are tied to this quote at all. - Seth Ilys 19:20, 22 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have searched Bartlett's quotations, Simpson's Quotations, Columbia Quotations and Respectfully Quoted and come up empty. When I Google the entire "quote", the only hits are alternative medicine, holistic medicine, drug freedom and organic webistes and blogs. I'm beginning to believe that this is a totally fabricated quote. Can anybody find a legitimate source for this?

"Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the potatoe as an article of food."
Notes on the State of Virginia. - Darwinite 06:45, 18 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My understanding is that this quote is by one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, but not Jefferson himself. I do not remember the name as he was not as popular as some of the others like Jefferson. I would like to locate the source also. (Unless I have the quote and source confused with . . . Also, it is my understanding that there is a quote stating something to the effect that if we remove God from our educational institutions where the 10 commandments teach right from wrong, then society will no longer understand right from wrong eliminating a value system and the government will reap the consequences through extensive policeing of its society. This was a quote from one of our founding fathers. I would like to know the exact quote and who quoted it. Any resources on this one, too?) As an afterthough, Trinity Broadcasting had this information on some of these quotes in a special program on our founding fathers and education. This info could possibly be found there.) : —This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

The quote mentioned clearly seems to be a paraphrase derived by the passage in Notes on the State of Virginia which Darwinite has provided a link to. I am going to post a fuller extract to the page now. ~ Kalki 23:01, 3 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question about a quote[edit]

I am going to add "A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither". This is a quote that is also attributed in another form to Benjamin Franklin. Since they lived at the same time, it's not unreasonable to think they may have said similar things.

from thewolfstar[edit]

Hey, I just wanted to congratulate the editors on their choice of Jefferson quotes. I have a couple of them on my website. I dearly love Thomas Jefferson. Thanks for the good work. Maggiethewolfstar

Merge from "Decalogue of Canons"[edit]

A Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life. was recently merged into this article. Its edit history is as follows:

  • (cur) (last) 12:16, 29 June 2006 (UTC) UDScott (Talk | contribs | block) ({{merge}})
  • (cur) (last) 22:50, 28 June 2006 (UTC) Kevinmcniff (Talk | contribs | block) m (A Decalogue of Canons for observation in practical life. moved to A Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life.: Capitalization)
  • (cur) (last) 22:49, 28 June 2006 (UTC) Kevinmcniff (Talk | contribs | block)

Jeff Q (talk) 09:50, 3 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why no Quotes on Jefferson's views on Banking?[edit]

I can think of several relevant quotes jefferson made on central banking.

Here they are in abundance at the University of Virginia

How come you "wikipedians" summarily delete something that easy to document?

it's like summarily deleting every sentence on wikipedia that isnt sourced. Aren't you supposed to have any knowledge in the field before you revert? I'd consider it vandalism not to do a simple search to verify that your deletion is a proper one.

source for the Jefferson quotes:

here's my IP: 18:01, 15 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

University of Virginia

1) The first quote you entered (the 1816 letter to John Taylor) was not deleted. It has been moved to its proper chronological place among the Sourced quotes. If you had looked at the changes in the article since you added the quote, you would have seen that this was so.

2) You have now added more quotes. These too have been added without regard to chronology. They will have to be re-arranged according to dates.

3) For a quote to be considered sourced, it ought to have a month and day as well as a year. If you have this information, be sure to add it. As it stands, the article now has a number of quotes (not just the ones you have added) that are dated only according to year. We will need to source them further to see if months and days can be found for them. - InvisibleSun 19:44, 15 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Quotes that are added without regard to chronology and the structures of articles are a problem on many pages. A specific date is not always required if the quotes can be cited to published sources, especially fairly reliable ones, but an attempt at chronological placement should still be made. I will attempt to sort through the recently added quotes, and properly place them, within the next hour or so, if no one else is doing so. ~ Kalki 19:51, 15 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm sorry that I didn't see your replies before now. I will try to follow your guidelines and hope that I follow wiki's rules reasonably well. But like Kalki indicates it is very difficult to access all the specific data, and I would think that citing proper official sources would be sufficient until someone with access to Library of Congress and other sources can properly verify them for more exact details. But on a side note: Perhaps it would be a good idea to more thoroughly sort quotes in topics for ease of reference as the number of quotes increase. It is very difficult to find a quote if you do not know the exact phrasing(?) when looking for quotes on a specific topic.

Thanks for all the feedback. 14:12, 16 March 2007 (UTC) Reply[reply]

The only TJ quote I have not been able to verify, but yet it seems like one of the bogus one. Any help on this one?

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” - Thomas Jefferson

This quote appears to be bogus. See the Monticello Wiki for details, including citations. If you're curious you can also read about my own search for the quote. Jmturner 17:52, 3 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Now that Google has done some more digitizing, we can go back to 1934, one year further than the main body has it. It is attributed to Jefferson. Someone from Colorado can see who the author of that part of the text is. --Cancerward 22:18, 19 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Jefferson Bible" quotes[edit]

I removed this passage from the main page, as it is not actually a quotation of Jefferson, but of him quoting (by cutting and pasting) portions of the King James Version of the Bible into what has become known as the Jefferson Bible:

  • 48: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
49: Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
50: And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
51: The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
52: Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
53: And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
54: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.
55: The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
56: Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
57: But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
58: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
59: And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
60: And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
61: Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
62: Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
63: There laid they Jesus,
64: And rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

In a letter to William Short (31 October 1819) he writes of this project:

I have sometimes thought of translating Epictetus (for he has never been tolerable translated into English) by adding the genuine doctrines of Epicurus from the Syntagma of Gassendi, and an abstract from the Evangelists of whatever has the stamp of the eloquence and fine imagination of Jesus. The last I attempted too hastily some twelve or fifteen years ago. It was the work of two or three nights only, at Washington, after getting through the evening task of reading the letters and papers of the day. But with one foot in the grave, these are now idle projects for me.

The editorial work of Jefferson is historically notable, and there is a Wikipedia article on it, which is linked to above, but he did not regard it as a finished work, and the passages are not actually quotations of Jefferson. ~ Kalki 10:16, 26 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Once again I have removed this selection of passages from the KJV from this page. I did not remove it from the Jesus page, to which it was also added, because it is about Jesus, but there is not a single sentence of Jefferson's in it, and is thus no more a proper quotation of Jefferson than the editing I did in presenting the recent QOTD by Henry David Thoreau, or the selections I make on any other page of the Wikiquote project is a "quotation" of me. ~ Kalki 04:53, 7 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Misattributed "I am a revolutionary...[edit]

I always thought that “I am a revolutionary so my son can be a farmer so his son can be a poet.” (John Adams) was said by Jefferson and I've seen this this elsewhere. Doing a search on Google I found this website: Which states that John Adams said this.

I'm not very good editing these various Wikipages, but maybe someone out there can add this to misattributed section on Jefferson and to the quotes on Adams?

Page Conflict[edit]

"That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical" This quote is listed under "Sourced" and "Unsourced".

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
The duplicate in the unsourced section has now been removed. ~ Kalki 00:51, 3 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In order to deal with the length of this article (to which I have admittedly contributed) I have broken out Notes on the State of Virginia as a separate entry. I would actually like to break out the sections on religion and financial matters as separate entries as well. Opinions? Objections? BD2412 T 20:18, 17 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

1. Does the creation of a page on Jefferson's religious views mean that it will also include quotes that are not in the section "On religious matters"? Will it become the repository, in short, of all Jefferson's quotes on religion, or will the Thomas Jefferson and Notes on the State of Virginia articles continue to include some quotations as well?

2. By creating an article on Jefferson's religious views, it raises a question discussed on Wikiquote several times, with no apparent consensus: is it NPOV to choose a theme for quotes by one person, or is it inherently a matter of imposing an interpretation? Take, for example, this quotation from the Notes on the State of Virginia:

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

Is this a statement primarily about religion, or government, or both? If we accept the creation of a page about Jefferson's religious views, then it seems to me that we have reached a kind of de facto acceptance of subtopics by theme on people pages. Is that our current consensus? - InvisibleSun 21:39, 17 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I actually object to such subtopics here and everywhere, and am very sorry I had anything to do with the creation of one of these, years ago. I believe there was a page imported from Wikipedia which contained many of the current quotes on religion, which I didn't have time to deal with fully, so I created the subtopic section. The extreme overuse and abuse of such sections by others leads me to oppose them now, and even more so a page dedicated to such specialized sub-topics. I had been meaning to work on this page for some time, to eliminate these sections, but many other things have kept me busy.
I believe there have been strong indications of consensus among most of the regular editors here that it is a good idea to maintain the more general chronological listings of quotes and sections, and NOT break them out into topics. I personally also prefer keeping as much material by a person together as possible, and not break out works into separate pages, but know that this is not always a manageable thing to do when they become very large. ~ Kalki 22:46, 17 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I tend to agree, actually, but the material is already sorted that way, so it seemed like a simple fix. Perhaps I shouldn't be reaching for the easy way, but for the "right" way. However, the page is about four times the "recommended" size, so there should be some kind of valve, preferably through moving works into separate sections. Cheers! BD2412 T 02:56, 18 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with what is written above - I do not think we want to have sections divided by theme (or worse pages as suggested). But I do support breaking out individual works by a person if the person's page becomes too large. Breaking out Notes on the State of Virginia was fine, but making a page on Jefferson's "religious" quotes would be a bad idea, illustrated very well by InvisibleSun's example above. I also think that the subsections that are on the page now should be removed, and the quotes sorted chronologically. ~ UDScott 12:17, 18 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about breaking out a separate article for "Letters of Thomas Jefferson"? A large portion of his quotes are taken from correspondence. BD2412 T 15:53, 30 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Letters on Wikisource[edit]

Wikisource now has a complete set of pagescans for Memoir, correspondence, and miscellanies, from the papers of Thomas Jefferson, with links to the Project Gutenberg etexts. John Vandenberg 13:58, 12 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thomas Jefferson is NOT the author of the Declaration of Independence[edit]

Sufficient evidence exists that Thomas Paine wrote the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Jefferson copied it. Rewrite the intro so it does not say Jefferson is the author.

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
After an extensive cleanup of a deliberate vandals time and life wasting mess, I was inclined to remove this as also mere vandalism, but I suppose that it is possible that it is a sincere demand from someone who actually sincerely believes such absurd idiotic claims as these which arise from time to time. Quite sufficient evidence exists that this theory can be summed up by the term "horsefeathers" or cruder, terms, and the notion has far more fancy than fact supporting it. I simply don't have time to deal with such idiocy extensively right now, but all competent historians reject such claims as absurd, for many reasons. ~ Kalki 10:23, 22 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That Thomas Paine bit is nonsense, but I do take issue with inclusion of the Declaration in its final form. TJ wrote the draft, but it underwent editing first by the rest of the committee-i.e., Franklin and Adams-and then the Second Congress.,9171,712237,00.html

E.g., Jefferson wrote "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable", and the change to "self-evident" was only made later.

At the least, should there be a note mentioning the committee markups?

ChrisKupka 17:08, 2 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

- I think it might be a good idea to link the DoI to a good source rather than leave it without a source page. This might stop some confusion for some people coming to the page. Also, the Reported Draft here is with edits from the committee. Should we change it to Jefferson's actual original draft? Thoughts? Oh, and as far as the whole Paine vs. Jefferson issue goes...seriously? If you want to accuse Jefferson copying from anyone, go to the source - John Locke!Ebt66 (talk) 03:37, 8 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Disputed "issuing power" and "If the American people ever allow private banks..."[edit]

The disputed section used to read like this:

  • I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
    • This is cited as from a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin (1802) in Flight to Financial Freedom - Fasten Your Finances (2007) by Nathan A. Martin, and earlier appears in How to Take Advantage of the People Who Are Trying to Take Advantage of You (2006) by Joseph Stephen Breese Morse, p. 51. It appears to be a concoction of some actual statements by Jefferson, and others that may not be. It has not yet been found to appear earlier in precisely this form.
    • Respectfully Quoted says this is "obviously spurious", noting that the OED's earliest citation for the word "deflation" is from 1920.
    • Variant: I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
      • This is an earlier variant which contains a portion of the above statement and appears in Life Work of Thomas L. Nugent (1896) compiled by Catharine Nugent. Both of these expressions appear to mix a well documented statement that is to be found in Jefferson's published letters, and poorly documented ones which do not. The only portions of them thus far definitely sourced to Jefferson occur in a letter to John Taylor (28 May 1816) [ME 15:23]: "I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." This is quoted more extensively in the sourced section.

Since the part " If the American people ever allow private ... conquered." has a separate origin and is more obviously bogus, I moved it to Misattributed. The quotes appeared separately more often than together until the last few years.

The 1895 and 1896 appearances of the "issuing power" quote had an additional sentence: "Let the banks exist, but let them bank on treasury notes" in "Bimetallism and Currency", and "Let banks exist but let them bank upon coin or treasury notes" in Life Work of Thomas L. Nugent. This also appears to be a paraphrase from the 11 Sept 1813 letter: "Let banks continue if they please, but let them discount for cash alone or for treasury notes." After 1896, however, that sentence disappeared. KHirsch 22:32, 10 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is the duty of every patriot his country from his government[edit]

I've heard this attributed to Thomas Paine, perhaps it is a summary of one of his speeches or something. 18:52, 5 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Letter to F.A. Van der Kemp[edit]

Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. Letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp (30 July 1816), denouncing the doctrine of the Trinity

After much searching, I haven't been able to find the original letter anywhere. I've found other letters from Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Van der Kemp, but none of them contain this quote. Does anyone have a credible source for the letter? I'm a bit hesitant to use the quote until I can source it.

I found it on Google Book Search published by the Buffalo Historical Society in 1904 here.—KHirsch 05:59, 2 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Mob rule" quote sourced?[edit]

Is the "mob rule" quote sourced?
it's quoted on this "simple" version, but only with a link to some "libertarian" site. Nunamiut 20:43, 21 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't think it's a valid quote. I don't even see it on the page that the simple English wiki links to. I can't find it in any reliable source. KHirsch 22:33, 21 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The 'mob rule' quote is a forgery propagated by a libertarian author to lend gravitas to his personal agenda. The 'Simple English' project is closed, but this forgery remains in view. It should be removed. The quotation expresses the exact opposite of Jefferson's views expressed in actual sourced quotations and Wikiquote should not be used to lend credibility to such nonsense. See The Jefferson Encyclopedia at article on this quote for more information. --HKL47 02:41, 27 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have added this to the long list of statements in the "misattributed" section, with the link you have provided, as well as note of it's apparent arrival circa 2004. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 03:38, 27 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Timothy Dwight quote about Jefferson?[edit]

I have removed the following quote listed as "About Thomas Jefferson" from the article because the source is not cited and because, without examining the source, it is not clear that this rant, which does seem characteristic of Timothy Dwight IV's views on secular republicanism, is actually about Jefferson in particular. ~ Ningauble 13:12, 19 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • For what end shall we be connected with men of whom this is the character and the conduct? Is it that we may assume the same character and pursue the same conduct? … Is it that we may change our holy worship into a dance of Jacobin phrensy …? Is it that we may see the Bible cast into a bonfire … and our children, either wheedled or terrified, united in chanting mockeries against God …? Is it that we may see our wives and daughters the victims of legal prostitution; soberly dishonoured; … the loathing of God and man?
    • Rev. Timothy Dwight, president of Yale College (4 July 1800)

Koran quote minutiae[edit]

The version of Jefferson's quote about the Ambassador from Tripoli and the Koran that appears in Hitchen's article in Slate and his books has a mistake. It has "answered their authority" where it should have "acknowledged their authority", as well as variations in spelling, capitalization and articles.

The version in Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States 2:342 (1833) also has some slight mistakes, so I linked the version from Thomas Jefferson Travels: Selected Writings, 1784-1789, by Anthony Brandt, pp. 104-105. This matches the version in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson 9:358 and the original at the Library of Congress (paragraph 2 of Image 431).

Too much detail, I know, but somebody questioned the authenticity of the quote, so I thought I'd include everything.

The incorrect version, for the benefit of search engines:

The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.

KHirsch 17:20, 19 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Issue Today...[edit]

“The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite"-Thomas Jefferson.

Discredited here; Http://

"The Jefferson apocrypha, according to his research, may be sourced to a 1980 tract on regulation, in which a similar comment appears as the author's interpretation of Jefferson's argument in an 1813 letter to John Adams."

sourced or not?[edit]

This quote,

   No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands].
       Draft Constitution for Virginia (June 1776) This quote often appears with the parenthetical omitted and with the spurious extension, "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".

is in the sourced section, and also listed in the miss attributed section.

I am slightly puzzled by the previous unsigned comment in that the situation appears to be reasonably clear. The quotation "No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands]" is from the fair copy of the draft constitution of Virginia in Jefferson's hand (and the brackets are his, by the way). It does not appear in the misattributed section. The fake addition ("The strongest reason ... tyranny in government") is properly noted as "spurious" in the sourced section, and has its own entry in the misattributed section (as it should). Sbh (talk) 22:43, 28 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God[edit]

It is true that Jefferson did not say this. However, the article also says that this quote is falsely attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Numerous sources (such as this one which provides a handwritten letter from Franklin) attest that Benjamin Franklin proposed a similar phrase, "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God," as the motto of the United States. The confusion arises because Jefferson loved this motto and endorsed it, so it has been falsely attributed to him. A similar quote may have been used earlier by Simon Bradstreet, as the article says, and this may have been the inspiration for Benjamin Franklin's quote, though I haven't been able to confirm this. I will also make a note on Benjamin Franklin's Wikiquote page and update both pages with sources. I created this discussion topic so that anybody who disagrees can provide evidence that Franklin did not propose this as the motto and more importantly to request that anybody who has any information on a possible link between Franklin's quote and Bradstreet's quote can provide sources showing how they are related.

Is this a legit quote?[edit]

"It is left therefore to the juries, if they think the permanent judges are under any biass whatever in any cause, to take upon themselves to judge the law as well as the fact. They never exercise this power but when they suspect partiality in the judges, and by the exercise of this power they have been the firmest bulwarks of English liberty. Were I called upon to decide whether the people had best be omitted in the Legislative or Judiciary department, I would say it is better to leave them out of the Legislative. The execution of the laws is more important than the making them." From St. claires fire (talk) 16:51, 18 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I heard that Jefferson quoted this as a translation of Crimes and Punishment:

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants. They serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.

Does anyone know where Jefferson might have done this? ScratchMarshall (talk) 04:36, 11 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Truth will do well enough if left to shift for herself.[edit]

This quote is from John Locke (from A Letter Concerning Toleration, 1689), not Jefferson.

Said or Heard?[edit]

Two versions of this quotation appear on this page:

  • In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.
  • In questions of power let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.

"Widespread poverty and concentrated wealth"?[edit]

JFK and FDR both quoted Jefferson saying this, but I can't find where it's originally from:

This policy must include a sensible and fair tax policy, which will be in accordance with Jefferson’s wise saying that “widespread poverty and concentrated wealth cannot long endure side by side in a democracy.”

Remarks of John F. Kennedy, Democratic Party Jefferson Dinner, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 3, 1947

Because we cherished our system of private property and free enterprise and were determined to preserve it as the foundation of Our traditional American system, we recalled the warning of Thomas Jefferson that “widespread poverty and concentrated wealth cannot long endure side by side in a democracy.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Campaign Address, October 14, 1936

Omegatron (talk) 18:23, 6 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry[edit]

  • Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.

There's no shortage of these image-quote-memes online. I'd like to see this either proven or misattributed. ~ JasonCarswell (talk) 02:26, 3 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can we find a proper source?[edit]

It's claimed, but I find no supporting source for the following quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson:

  • The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.

Thanks Westley Turner (talk) 22:58, 5 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]