(1743-1826) Author, Architect, Educator, Scientist, Served in the Virginia Assembly, Penned the Declaration of Independence, Governor of Virginia, Third President of the United States of America.
“What country before ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its’ liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to fact, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure. …Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.”
“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”
“My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy.”
“I will not believe our labors are lost. I shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on steady advance. And even should the cloud of barbarism and despotism again obscure the science and liberties of Europe, this country remains to preserve and restore light and liberty to them. In short, the flames kindled on the fourth of July seventeen hundred and seventy six have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism.”
“On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principal, stand like a rock.”
“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise 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.”
“When virtue is banished, ambition invades the minds of those who are disposed to receive it, and avarice possesses the whole community.”
“Only lay down true principals, and adhere to them inflexibly. Do not be frightened into their surrender by the alarms of the timid, or the croakings of wealth against the ascendancy of the people…. The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen, in his person and property, and in their management. Try by this, as a tally, every provision of our Constitution, and see if it hangs directly on the will of the people….”
“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?”
“The care of human life – not its destruction, is the first and only legitimate objective of good government."
“Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so it may appear to you. Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly. Encourage all your virtuous dispositions, and exercise them whenever an opportunity arises, being assured that they will gain strength by exercise, as a limb of the body does, and that exercise will make them habitual. From the practice of the purest virtue, you may be assured you will derive the most sublime comforts in every moment of life, and in the moment of death.”
“The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of mankind.”
“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
"A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society."
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. … If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
"Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated."
"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government."
“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.”
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in 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?”
“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”
“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’, because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”
“[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.”
"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."
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