Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital.
He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.
To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. (in reference to slavery)
God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?
~ Thomas Jefferson
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than no to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere. (in a letter to Abigail Adams, 1787)
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.
~ in a letter to James Madison after Shay’s rebellion
As our enemies have found we can reason like men, so now let us show them we can fight like men also.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is their natural manure. (in a letter to Col. William S. Smith, 1787)
I have sworn upon the alter of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
No man can bring out of the Presidency the reputation which carries him into it. ( in a letter to Rutledge, 1795)
There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.
A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.
All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
Great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities.
Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.
Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.
That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.
The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.
An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.
Be polite to all, but intimate with few.
Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.
The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory.
Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.
I find that he is happiest of whom the world says least, good or bad.
Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another.
It is our duty still to endeavor to avoid war; but if it shall actually take place, no matter by whom brought on, we must defend ourselves. If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.
War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.
There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.