“if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labour for another: in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavours to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him. With the morals of the people, their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour. And 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 of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Notes about slavery on the State of Virginia, 1781
“I tolerate with the utmost latitude the right of others to differ from me in opinion without imputing to them criminality.”
– Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1804. (via philosophicalconservatism)
"So we have to pass the Bill to find out what’s in it; away from the fog of the controversy" - Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys.”
— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Shelton Gilliam. June 19, 1808
"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood."- James Madison, Federalist #62
“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.”
– Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801. (via philosophicalconservatism)
"With [every barbarous people], force is law. The stronger sex imposes on the weaker. It is civilization alone which replaces women in the enjoyment of their natural equality, that first teaches us to subdue the selfish passions, and to respect those rights in others which we value in ourselves." —Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.VI, 1782. ME 2:84
Jefferson on gun Control
The following quote appears in Thomas Jefferson’s commonplace book.
”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 prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one.”
Jefferson is not the author of the quote but cites it in his work indicating his approval.
The quote, originally written in Latin, comes from Cesare Beccaria’s Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1764).
This is not something Jefferson wrote, but rather comes from a passage he included in his “Legal Commonplace Book.”The passage is from Cesare Beccaria’s Essay on Crimes and Punishments.…
A principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility who considers particular more than general conveniencies, who had rather command the sentiments of mankind than excite them, who dares say to reason, ‘Be thou a slave;’ who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it.
The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons.”
The English translation of this passage originally quoted above, and the one most often seen on other Internet sites, is most likely a later translation; it may be taken from a 1963 translation by Henry Palolucci.
“I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”
Thomas Jefferson (via edmundmichael)
To Francis Hopkinson Paris, Mar. 13, 1789
“Whereas, our tenet ever was, and, indeed, it is almost the only landmark which now divides the federalists from the republicans, that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated; and that, as it was never meant they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money.”
– Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1: Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin
“If ever you find yourself environed with difficulties and perplexing circumstances out of which you are at a loss how to extricate yourself, do what is right, and be assured that that will extricate you the best out of the worst situations. Though you cannot see when you take one step what will be the next, yet follow truth, justice and plain dealing, and never fear their leading you out of the labyrinth in the easiest manner possible. The knot which you thought a Gordian one will untie itself before you. Nothing is so mistaken as the supposition that a person is to extricate himself from a difficulty by intrigue, by chicanery, by dissimulation, by trimming, by an untruth, by an injustice. This increases the difficulties tenfold; and those who pursue these methods get themselves so involved at length that they can turn no way but their infamy becomes more exposed.”
– Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1785. (via philosophicalconservatism)
“The precepts of philosophy, & of the Hebrew code, laid hold of actions only. He pushed his scrutinies into the heart of man; erected his tribunal in the region of his thoughts, and purified the waters at the fountain head.”
“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)
“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Abigail Adams. (via philosophicalconservatism)