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Thomas Jefferson. Let Us Celebrate His Wisdom.

Research Jefferson's Words

This page was initiated as a result of several emails that went viral on the web and claimed to be based on Jefferson quotes and facts. Not all the data was correct.  Here is an analysis of those emails by Jefferson scholars and their authorized, brief biography of Thomas Jefferson. 

"When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt  as Europe."  Thomas Jefferson to James Madison on December 20, 1787, published  in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson., 12:442.

"It is incumbent  on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.  A principle which if acted  on would save one-half the wars of the world."  - from a letter to Antoine Louis Claude Destutt de Tracy of December 26, 1820

"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."  - Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, November 29, 1802

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." from Jefferson's notes on drafting the Virginia constitution

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last  resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."  This quote appears to have been added to all those emails in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson

"The tree of  liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

"To compel a man  to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and  abhors is sinful and tyrannical." from Thomas Jefferson's  Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom,however, it has been slightly updated.

Jefferson comments in a prospectus of his translation of Destutt de Tracy's Treatise on Political Economy: "To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, —the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.'"

Letter to John Taylor, 1816: "And I sincerely believe, with you, 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."

A scholar on Jefferson, John Sharp Williams, says (1913):  "My reading of  history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."  J.S. Williams, Thomas Jefferson: His Permanent Influence on American Institutions (New York: Columbia University Press, 1913), p49

JeffersonMemorial.jpgThomas Jefferson Memorial.  He started learning very early in life and never stopped.

The student:  At 5, Thomas Jefferson began studying under his cousin's tutor.  At 9, studied Latin, Greek and  French. At 14, he studied classical literature and additional  languages. At 16, he entered the College of William and  Mary.  At 19, he studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe. 

Work:  At 23, Jefferson started his own law  practice.  At 25, he was elected to the Virginia House of  Burgesses.  At 31, he wrote the widely circulated "Summary View  of the Rights of British America" and retired from his law practice.

Revolution: At 32, he was a Delegate to the Second Continental  Congress.  At 33, he wrote theDeclaration of Independence then took three years to revise Virginia's legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.

Government:  At 36, elected the second Governor of Virginia (followed Patrick Henry) and at 40, served in Congress for two years. At 41, he was the minister to France to negotiate commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams. At 46, he served as the first Secretary of State  under George Washington.

Reflections on becoming wise:  At 53, he served as Vice  President and was elected president of the American Philosophical  Society.

Political Action:  At 55, he drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became  the active head of Republican  Party.   At 57, he was elected the third president of the  United States.  At 60, he obtained the Louisiana  Purchase doubling the nation's size.  At 61, he was elected to a second term as President. 

Wisdom:  At 65, he retired to Monticello.  At 80, he helped President Monroe shape the Monroe  Doctrine.  At 81, he almost single-handedly created the  University of Virginia and served as its first president.   At 83, he died on the 50th anniversary of the signing  of the Declaration  of Independence.  John Adams also died this day.

Thomas Jefferson  knew because he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood actual history, the nature of God, God's laws and the nature of man.

Legend. At a dinner hosted John F. Kennedy in the White House for some of the brightest minds in the nation. He made this statement: "This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."