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"though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth" -Corinthians 13
"if by supporting the rights of mankind... I shall contribute to save from the agonies of death one unfortunate victim of tyranny, or of ignorance, equally fatal, his blessing and tears of transport will be a sufficient consolation to me for the contempt of all mankind."-Marchese di Beccaria

#thomas jefferson

“I know 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 a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not
to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.”

– Thomas Jefferson (via moralanarchism)

“If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, and give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses.”

– Thomas Jefferson   (via philosophicalconservatism)

“Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.”

– Thomas Jefferson, Letter  to William Johnson, 1823. (via philosophicalconservatism)

“time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as possible. We see already germs of this, as might be expected. But we are not the less bound to press against them. The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning-knife; and I doubt not it will be employed ; good principles being as yet prevalent enough for that. The great object of my fear is the federal judiciary. That body, like gravity, ever acting, with noiseless foot, and unalarming advance, gaining ground step by step, and holding what it gains, is ingulfing insidiously the special governments into the jaws of that which feeds them. The recent recall to first principles, however, by Colonel Taylor, by yourself, and now by Alexander Smith, will, I hope, be heard and obeyed, and that a temporary check will be effected. Yet be not weary of well doing. Let the eye of vigilance never be closed.”

Thomas Jefferson to Judge Spencer Roane, March 9, 1821

“the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal judiciary ; an irresponsible body, (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow,) working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little to-day and a little to-morrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all be consolidated into one. To this I am opposed ; because, when all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated. It will be as in Europe, where every man must be either pike or gudgeon, hammer or anvil.

– Thomas Jefferson warning about the potential danger posed by the Supreme Court in a Letter to Charles Hammond, August 18, 1821 (via philosophicalconservatism)

“The aboriginal inhabitants of these countries I have regarded with the commiseration their history inspires. Endowed with the faculties and the rights of men, breathing an ardent love of liberty and independence, and occupying a country which left them no desire but to be undisturbed, the stream of overflowing population from other regions directed itself on these shores. Without power to divert or habits to contend against, they have been overwhelmed by the current or driven before it. Now reduced within limits too narrow for the hunter’s state, humanity enjoins us to teach them agriculture and the domestic arts, to encourage them to that industry which alone can enable them to maintain their place in existence and to prepare them in time for that state of society which to bodily comforts adds the improvement of the mind and morals.”

—Thomas Jefferson: 2nd Inaugural, 1805

Jefferson’s Reading~

John Locke’s Two Treatises on Government 1689

Algernon Sidney’s Discourses Concerning Government 1698

Joseph Priestley’s Essay on the First Principles of Government and on the Nature of Political Civil and Religious Liberty 1768

Nathaniel Chipman’s Principles of Government 1793 

The Federalist Papers 1788

Cesare Beccaria on crimes and punishments 1764

Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations 1776

Jean Baptiste Say’s Political Economy 1803

John Baxter’s A New and Impartial History of England 1796 [amazon]

Ludlow’s Memoirs 1751

Thomas Babington Macauley’s Histories

Jeremy Belknap’s The History of New Hampshire 

Lincoln’s Reading

The Bible.


Thomas Dilworth’s A New Guide to the English Tongue 1780

Aesop’s Fables, between 620 and 560 BC

Pilgrim’s Progress from this world to that which is to come by John Bunyan Feb 1678

The Life of Benjamin Franklin by Himself 1790

"Parson" Mason Locke Weems’ The life of George Washington [Apocryphal Content] 1800

James Riley’s Narrative of the Loss of the American Brig Commerce 1815

Ramsey’s Life of Washington 1807

Plutarch’s Lives 46–120 AD

The Six Books of Euclid 323–283 BC

Jefferson's letter to John Norvell, June 14, 1807 »

"I think there does not exist a good elementary work on the organization of society into civil government. I mean a work which presents in one full and comprehensive view the system of principles on which such an organization should be founded, according to the rights of nature. For want of a single work of that character, I should recommend Locke on Government [Two Treatises], [Algernon] Sidney[’s Discourses Concerning Government], [Joseph] Priestley’s Essay on the First Principles of Government, Chipman’s Principles of Government, The Federalist [Papers]. Adding, perhaps, [Cesare] Beccaria on crimes and punishments because of the demonstrative manner in which he has treated that branch of the subject. If your views of political inquiry go further, to the subjects of money and commerce, [Adam] Smith’s Wealth of Nations is the best book to be read, unless Say’s Political Economy can be had, which treats the same subject on the same principles, but in a shorter compass and more lucid manner. But I believe this work has not been translated into our language.
History, in general, only informs us what bad government is. But as we have employed some of the best materials of the British constitution in the construction of our own government, a knowledge of British history becomes useful to the American politician. There is, however, no general history of that country which can be recommended. The elegant one of Hume seems intended to disguise and discredit the good principles of the government and is so plausible and pleasing in its style and manner as to instill its errors and heresies insensibly into the minds of unwary readers. Baxter has performed a good operation on it. [John Baxter’s A New and Impartial History of England] He has taken the text of Hume as his groundwork, abridging it by the omission of some details of little interest, and wherever he has found him endeavoring to mislead, by either the suppression of a truth or by giving it a false coloring, he has changed the text to what it should be, so that we may properly call it Hume’s history republicanized. He has, moreover, continued the history (but indifferently) from where Hume left it, to the year 1800. The work is not popular in England because it is republican; and but a few copies have ever reached America. It is a single quarto volume. Adding to this Ludlow’s Memoirs, Mrs. Macauley’s and Belknap’s histories, a sufficient view will be presented of the free principles of the English constitution.

Jeremy Belknap’s The History of New Hampshire 

“Contrary to all correct example, [the Federal judiciary] are in the habit of going out of the question before them, to throw an anchor ahead and grapple further hold for future advances of power. They are then in fact the corps of sappers and miners, steadily working to undermine the independent rights of the States and to consolidate all power in the hands of that government in which they have so important a freehold estate. -”

– Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821 (via philosophicalconservatism)

“In our village of Charlottesville, there is a good degree of religion, with a small spice only of fanaticism. We have four sects, but without either church or meeting-house. The courthouse is the common temple, one Sunday in the month to each. Here, Episcopalian and Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist, meet together, join in hymning their Maker, listen with attention and devotion to each others’ preachers, and all mix in society with perfect harmony.”

Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Thomas Cooper Nov 2, 1822

“Our legislators are not sufficiently appraised of the rightful limits of their power; that their true office is to declare and enforce our natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us. No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him; every man is under the natural duty of contributing to the necessities of the society; and this is all the laws should enforce on him; and, no man having the right to be the judge between himself and another, it is his natural duty to submit to the umpirage of an impartial third [party]. When the laws have declared and enforced all this, they have fulfilled their functions; and the idea is quite unfounded, that on entering into society we give up any natural right.”

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

letter to Francis W. Gilmer, June 7, 1816

(via timlebsack)

http://oll.libertyfund.org/