Leaders / Innovators

Top 74 Thomas Jefferson Quotes (INDEPENDENCE)

Top 10 Most Famous Thomas Jefferson Quotes to Inspire You

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
But I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power, the greater it will be.
But I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power, the greater it will be.
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 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.
If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.
If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.
The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.

42 Inspirational Thomas Jefferson Quotes on Happiness, Life, and Freedom

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. 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.”

Thomas Jefferson
When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.
When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.
Take care of your cents; dollars will take care of themselves.
Take care of your cents; dollars will take care of themselves.
It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.
It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.
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.
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 matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

“I sincerely believe 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.”

Thomas Jefferson
The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.
The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.
Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful. Man has no nobler or more valuable possession than time.
Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful. Man has no nobler or more valuable possession than time.
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
The art of life is the art of avoiding pain.
The art of life is the art of avoiding pain.
History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.
History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson
The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.
The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.
He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it the second time.
He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it the second time.
I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.
I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.
I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.
I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.
I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led.
I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led.

“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.”

Thomas Jefferson
But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.
But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today.
Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today.
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.
Never spend your money before you have earned it.
Never spend your money before you have earned it.

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.”

Thomas Jefferson
How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened.
How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened.
When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
Be polite to all, but intimate with few.
Be polite to all, but intimate with few.
Don’t talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.
Don’t talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.
Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.

“I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.”

Thomas Jefferson
He who knows best knows how little he knows.
He who knows best knows how little he knows.
I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office.
I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office.
Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.
Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.
There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.
There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.
I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk and restorative cordial.
I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk and restorative cordial.
Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.
Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.
The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.
It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.
It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.

22 Motivational Thomas Jefferson Quotes to Empower You

“Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.”

Thomas Jefferson
To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education.
To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education.
The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.
The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.
I think one travels more usefully when they travel alone, because they reflect more.
I think one travels more usefully when they travel alone, because they reflect more.
Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail.
Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail.
There is not a truth existing which I fear… or would wish unknown to the whole world.
There is not a truth existing which I fear… or would wish unknown to the whole world.
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.
Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.
Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.
Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.
Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.
Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.
Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people.
Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people.

“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.”

Thomas Jefferson
Nothing is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.
Nothing is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.
Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.
Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.
And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.
And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.
I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.
I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.
No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.
No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.
It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.
It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.
The most successful war seldom pays for its losses.
The most successful war seldom pays for its losses.
The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.
The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.
The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government.
The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government.

Thomas Jefferson Short Biography

Born 13 April 1743 in Shadwell, Virginia, United States, Thomas Jefferson was a founding father, lawyer and the third president of the United States. He is also responsible for drafting the Declaration of Independence.

He attended college at the College of William and Mary at the age of 16, where he studied mathematics, metaphysics, and philosophy and graduated in April 1762.

From 1769-1775 Jefferson was a delegate of the Virginia House of Burgesses, during his time as a delegate he worked to improve slavery conditions in the United States.

A year later Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence and was one of the principal authors, he was credited for his lasting statement on human rights: “all men are created equal.” (Source)  

On March 22, 1790, Jefferson became the first Secretary of State, and in 1791 founded the National Gazette with James Madison.

Jefferson became Vice President of the United States when he lost the Presidency to John Adams in 1796. He ran again for office 4 years later and won in a victory against Adams. He made his oath as President on March 4, 1801.

One of his most notable achievements as President came in 1803 when he promoted the purchase of Louisiana territory from France, in what would be called the Louisiana Purchase.

Further Reading:

Here are the best Thomas Jefferson quotes so you can be empowered to always uphold the truth and promote justice for all. 

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