“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson

“I agree with yours of the 22d that a professorship of Theology should have no place in our institution. but we cannot always do what is absolutely best. those with whom we act, entertaining different views, have the power and the right of carrying them into practice. truth advances, & error recedes step by step only; and to do to our fellow-men the most good in our power, we must lead where we can, follow where we cannot, and still go with them, watching always the favorable moment for helping them to another step.

Thomas Jefferson

“I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions...but I know also that laws and constitutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.....”

Thomas Jefferson

“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.” 

Thomas Jefferson

“Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.”

Thomas Jefferson

“No nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man and I as chief Magistrate of this nation am bound to give it the sanction of my example. Good morning Sir. [Replying on his way to church one Sunday to a friend, who said to him “You going to church Mr. J. You do not believe a word in it.”]”

Thomas Jefferson

“All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollection of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”

Thomas Jefferson

“There is a ripeness of time for death, regarding others as well as ourselves, when it is reasonable we should drop off, and make room for another growth. When we have lived our generation out, we should not wish to encroach on another.”

Thomas Jefferson

“The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy but cannot disjoin them.”

Thomas Jefferson

“A machine for making revolutions is doing precisely the wrong thing at just the right time.”

Thomas Jefferson

“Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth. Let us reflect that it is inhabited by a thousand millions of people. That these profess probably a thousand different systems of religion. That ours is but one of that thousand. That if there be but one right, and ours that one, we should wish to see the 999 wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free enquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves.”

Thomas Jefferson

“The only security of all is in a free press.”

Thomas Jefferson

“But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.”

Thomas Jefferson

“That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.”

Thomas Jefferson

“If by religion we are to understand sectarian dogmas, in which no two of them agree, then your exclamation on that hypothesis is just, "that this would be the best of worlds if there were no religion in it.” 

Thomas Jefferson


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