Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Revolutionary, advocate of liberty, philoshopher, and 3rd President of the United States

Note: Some of the shorter quotations are also contained within the larger passages at the end of each section. These enhance the quotations by giving them context.

Liberty and Government:

"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." (Letter to Roger C. Weightman, Washington DC mayor, June 24, 1826 - ten days before death)

"A noiseless course, not meddling with the affairs of others, unattractive of notice, is a mark that society is going on in happiness. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy." (Letter to Thomas Cooper, 1802.)

"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." (On Political Parties, Letter to Francis Hopkinson, 1789.)

"Under the law of nature, all men are born free, every one comes into the world with a right to his own person, which includes the liberty of moving and using it at his own will. This is what is called personal liberty, and is given him by the Author of nature, because [it is] necessary for his own sustenance." (Legal Argument, 1770.)

"The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government." (Letter to to Maryland Republicans, 1809. ME 16:359

"The only orthodox object of the institution of government is to secure the greatest degree of happiness possible to the general mass of those associated under it." (Letter to M. van der Kemp, 1812.)

"A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate." (Rights of British America, 1774.)

"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." (Declaration of Independence, 1776)

"What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?" (Letter to William Stephens Smith, 1787.)

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all." (Letter to Abigail Adams, 1787.)

"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." (1st Inaugural, 1801.)

"The mass of the citizens is the safest depositary of their own rights." (Letter to John Taylor, 1816.)

"There is... an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents... The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provision should be made to prevent its ascendency." (Letter to John Adams, 1813.)

"I think, myself, that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. I believe it might be much simplified to the relief of those who maintain it." (Letter to William Ludlow, 1824.)

"Ignorance and bigotry, like other insanities, are incapable of self-government." (Letter to Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1817).

"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." (Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82)

"This I hope will be the age of experiments in government, and that their basis will be founded in principles of honesty, not of
mere force." (Letter to John Adams, 1796).

"Liberty is the great parent of science and of virtue; and a nation will be great in both in proportion as it is free." (Letter to Joseph Willard, 1789.)

"May it be to the world what I believe it will be (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all): the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. 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 recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them." (Letter to Roger C. Weightman, Washington DC mayor, June 24, 1826 - ten days before death)

"And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.... error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.... I deem the essential principles of our government.... Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; ... freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected." (Jefferson's First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801)

"Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable. 1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments wherein the will of everyone has a just influence, as is the case in England in a slight degree and in our States in a great one. 3. Under governments of force, as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics. To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem not clear in my mind that the first condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has its evils, too, the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing." (On government, Letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787)

"When I observed... that the King of England was a cypher, I did not mean to confine the observation to the mere individual now on that throne. The practice of Kings marrying only into the families of Kings has been that of Europe for some centuries. Now, take any race of animals, confine them in idleness and inaction, whether in a sty, a stable, or a stateroom, pamper them with high diet, gratify all their sexual appetites, immerse them in sensualities, nourish their passions, let every thing bend before them, and banish whatever might lead them to think, and in a few generations they become all body and no mind: and this, too, by a law of nature -- by that very law by which we are in the constant practice of changing the characters and propensities of the animals we raise for our own purposes. Such is the regimen in raising Kings, and in this way they have gone on for centuries." (He goes to criticize every current European King or Queen, expect for Alexander, the grandson of Catherine the Great of Russia who was only the 3rd generation of that line) (On monarchies, Letter to Gov. John Langdon, March 5, 1810)

Reason and Free Inquiry:

"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must approve the homage of reason rather than of blind-folded fear." (Letter to Peter Carr, 10 Aug. 1787)

"Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error....They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only. [ not of governements and religion]... It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself." (On Reason, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82)

"...For I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." (Letter to Benjamin Rush, 1800)

"Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind." (Letter to James Smith, 1822.)

"It is surely time for men to think for themselves, and to throw off the authority of names so artificially magnified." (Letter to William Short, 1820.)

"Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong."
(Notes on Virginia, 1782.)

"In every country where man is free to think and to speak, differences of opinion will arise from difference of perception, and the imperfection of reason; but these differences when permitted, as in this happy country, to purify themselves by free discussion, are but as passing clouds overspreading our land transiently and leaving our horizon more bright and serene."
(Letter to Benjamin Waring, 1801)

"Truth and reason are eternal. They have prevailed. And they will eternally prevail; however, in times and places they may be overborne for a while by violence -- military, civil, or ecclesiastical." (Letter to Rev. Samuel Knox, 1810).

"I am not myself apt to be alarmed at innovations recommended by reason. That dread belongs to those whose interests or prejudices shrink from the advance of truth and science." ( On inovation, to John Manners, 1814)

"Life is of no value but as it brings us gratifications. Among the most valuable of these is rational society. It informs the mind, sweetens the temper, cheers our spirits, and promotes health." (Letter to James Madison, February 20, 1784)

"We certainly are not to deny whatever we cannot account for. A thousand phenomena present themselves daily which we cannot explain; but where facts are suggested bearing no analogy with the laws of nature as yet known to us, their verity needs proofs proportioned to their difficulty. A cautious mind will weigh well the opposition of the phenomenon to everything hitherto observed, the strength of the testimony by which it is supported, and the errors and misconceptions to which even our senses are liable." ( On skepticism, to Daniel Salmon, 1808.)

"To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise ... without plunging into the fathomless abyss of dreams and phantasms. I am satisfied, and sufficiently occupied with the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of which I have no evidence." (On mysticism, Letter to John Adams, August 15, 1820)

"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must approve the homage of reason rather than of blind-folded fear. Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences.... If it end in a belief that there is no god, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others it will procure for you." (On Reason, Letter to Peter Carr, 10 Aug. 1787)

"Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loose to them, they will support the true religion, by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only. [ not of governements and religion]....Reason and experiment have been indulged, and error has fled before them. It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desirable? No more than of face and stature......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." (On Reason, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82)

Education:

"I think by far the most important bill in our whole code, is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness." (Letter to George Wythe from Paris, August 13, 1786)

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." (Letter to Charles Yancey, 1816)

"Convinced that the people are the only safe depositories of their own liberty, and that they are not safe unless enlightened to a certain degree, I have looked on our present state of liberty as a short-lived possession unless the mass of the people could be informed to a certain degree." (Letter to Littleton Waller Tazewell, 1805)

"I know no safe depositary 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
by education." (Letter to William C. Jarvis, 1820.)

"No nation is permitted to live in ignorance with impunity." (Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes, 1821)

"Freedom [is] the first-born daughter of science." ( Letter to Francois D'Ivernois, 1795)

"Light and liberty go together." (Letter to Tench Coxe, 1795)

"I think by far the most important bill in our whole code, is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness. If anybody thinks that kings, nobles, or priests are good conservators of the public happiness send them here [Europe]. It is the best school in the universe to cure them of that folly. They will see here with their own eyes that these descriptions of men are an abandoned confederacy against the happiness of the mass of people. The omnipotence of their effect cannot be better proved than in this country [France] particularly, where notwithstanding the finest soil upon earth, the finest climate under heaven, and a people of the most benevolent, the most gay and amiable character of which the human form is susceptible, where such a people I say, surrounded by so many blessings from nature, are yet loaded with misery by kings, nobles and priests, and by them alone." (On education and folly of kings, Letter to George Wythe from Paris, August 13, 1786)

Religous Freedom:

“Say nothing of my religion. It is known to my god and myself alone.” (Letter to John Adams, January 11, 1817)

"Is this then our freedom of religion? and are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched?" (regarding censorship, Letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814)

"Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God.....Legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State." (Letter to Danbury Baptists, 1802)

"Our sister states of Pennsylvania and New York, however, have long subsisted without any [religious] establishment at all....They have made the happy discovery, that the way to silence religious disputes, is to take no notice of them. (Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82)

"I know it will give great offense to the clergy, but the advocate of religious freedom is to expect neither peace nor forgiveness from them." (The irony of opposition to religious freedom, Letter to Levi Lincoln, 1802)

"If all the sovereigns of Europe were to set themselves to work to emancipate the minds of their subjects from their present ignorance and prejudices, and that as zealously as they now endeavor the contrary, a thousand years would not place them on that high ground on which our common people are now setting out. ..... To know the worth of this [Constitution, religous freedom], one must see the want of it here [Europe]." (The value of a republic and religious freedom, Letter to George Wythe from Paris, August 13, 1786)

"The impious presumption of legislators and and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time: That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical;..." (Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1786)

"I am really mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, a fact like this can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too, as an offence against religion; that a question about the sale of a book can be carried before the civil magistrate. Is this then our freedom of religion? and are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule for what we are to read, and what we must believe? It is an insult to our citizens to question whether they are rational beings or not, and blasphemy against religion to suppose it cannot stand the test of truth and reason." (On censorship, Letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814)

"Our act for freedom of religion is extremely applauded. The ambassadors and ministers of the several nations of Europe resident at this court have asked of me copies of it to send to their sovereigns, and it is inserted at full length in several books now in the press; among others, in the new Encyclopedie. I think it will produce considerable good even in these countries, where ignorance, superstition, poverty, and oppression of body and mind in every form, are so firmly settled on the mass of the people, that their redemption from them can never be hoped. If the Almighty had begotten a thousand sons, instead of one, they would not have sufficed for this task. If all the sovereigns of Europe were to set themselves to work to emancipate the minds of their subjects from their present ignorance and prejudices, and that as zealously as they now endeavor the contrary, a thousand years would not place them on that high ground on which our common people are now setting out. Ours could not have been so fairly put into the hands of their own common sense had they not been separated from their parent stock and kept from contamination, either from them or the other people of the old world, by the intervention of so wide an ocean. To know the worth of this, one must see the want of it here." Europe's reaction to Virginia Religous Freedom Act, Letter to George Wythe from Paris, August 13, 1786)

"Our sister states of Pennsylvania and New York, however, have long subsisted without any [religious] establishment at all. The experiment was new and doubtful when they made it. It has answered beyond conception. They flourish infinitely....They do not hang more malefactors than we do. They are not more disturbed with religious dissensions. On the contrary, their harmony is unparalleled, and can be ascribed to nothing but their unbounded tolerance, because there is no other circumstance in which they differ from every nation on earth. They have made the happy discovery, that the way to silence religious disputes, is to take no notice of them." (On religious toleration, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82)

"Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State." (Seperation of church and state, Letter to Danbury Baptists, 1802)

"No religious reading, instruction or exercise, shall be prescribed or practiced [in the elementary schools] inconsistent with the tenets of any religious sect or denomination." (Elementary School Act, 1817.)

Religion and Dogma:

(Note: Jefferson believed in God and admired the teachings of the Biblical Jesus as the purest, most benevolent of philosophies, but he had contempt for organized religion, revelation, and dogma):

"What is it men cannot be made to believe!" (Letter toto Richard Henry Lee, 1786.)

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." (Reply to letter from John Adams)

The priests of the different religious sects ... dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight, and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subdivision of the duperies on which they live. (Letter to letter to Correa de Serra, April 11, 1820)

Every Christian sect gives a great handle to Atheism by their general dogma that, without a revelation, there would not be sufficient proof of the being of god.
(Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823)

Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. (Letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp July 30, 1816)

Of publishing a book on religion, my dear sir, I never had an idea. I should as soon think of writing for the reformation of Bedlam, as of the world of religious sects. Of these there must be, at least, ten thousand, every individual of every one of which believes all wrong but his own. (Letter to the Rev. Charles Clay, January 29, 1815)

I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies. The Christian God is a being of terrific character -- cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust. (Letter to Dr. Woods, undated)

[Creeds] have been the bane and ruin of the Christian church, its own fatal invention, which, through so many ages, made of Christendom a slaughterhouse, and at this day divides it into castes of inextinguishable hatred to one another. (Letter to Thomas Whitmore, June 5, 1822)

On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind. (Letter to Archibald Carey, 1816)

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes." (Letter to Alexander von Humboldt, 1813.)

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own." (Letter to Horatio G. Spafford, 1814.)

"The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man." (The clergy, Letter to to Jeremiah Moor, 1800)

"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward 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." (On religous coercion, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82)

"... [A] short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandising their oppressors in Church and State; that the purest system of morals ever before preached to man, has been adulterated and sophisticated by artificial constructions, into a mere contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves; that rational men not being able to swallow their impious heresies, in order to force them down their throats, they raise the hue and cry of infidelity, while themselves are the greatest obstacles to the advancement of the real doctrines of Jesus, and do in fact constitute the real Anti-Christ." (On organized religion, Letter to to Samuel Kercheval, 1810 )

"The clergy [wishing to establish their particular form of Christianity] ... believe that any portion of power confided to me [as President] will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion." (Responding to the clergy, Letter to Benjamin Rush, 1800 - portion on Jefferson monument)

Slavery:

"But as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation [of the Union] in the other." (Letter to friend John Holmes, April 22, 1820)

"What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment, and death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment be deaf to all those motives whose power supported him through his trial and inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose." (Regarding Slavery, to Jean Nicholas de Meunier, 1786)

"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events...The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest." (Notes on Virginia, 1782)

"The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this and learn to imitate it, for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy or his self-love, for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present. But generally it is not sufficient. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to his worst passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities." (Regarding Slavery, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82)

"This momentous question [the Missouri issue], like a fire-bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line [that divides free and slave territories] . . . once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper. . . . There is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would to relieve us from this heavy reproach [of slavery], in any practicable way. The cession of that kind of property, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle which would not cost a second thought if, in that way, a general emancipation and expatriation could be affected; and, gradually, and with due sacrifice, I think it might be. But as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation [of the Union] in the other. . . . I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be that I live not to weep over it. If they would but dispassionately weigh the blessings they will throw away, against an abstract principle more likely to be effected by union than by scission, they would pause before they would perpetrate this act of suicide on themselves, and of treason against the hopes of the world." (Predicting the Civil War, Letter to friend John Holmes, April 22, 1820)

America's Legacy :

"The example we have given to the world is single: that of changing our form of government under the authority of reason only, without bloodshed." (Letter to Ralph Izard, 1788)

"I hope that peace and amity with all nations will long be the character of our land, and that its prosperity under the Charter will react on the mind of Europe, and profit her by the example." (Letter to the Earl of Buchan, 1803. )

"[We] owe to republicanism, and indeed to the future hopes of man, a faithful record of the march of this government, which may encourage the oppressed to go and do so likewise." (Letter to Joel Barlow, 1810. )

"The system of government which shall keep us afloat amidst the wreck of the world, will be immortalized in history." (Letter to Walter Jones, 1810)

"When we reflect that the eyes of the virtuous all over the earth are turned with anxiety on us as the only depositories of the sacred fire of liberty, and that our falling into anarchy would decide forever the destinies of mankind and seal the political heresy that man is incapable of self-government, the only contest between divided friends should be who will dare farthest into the ranks of the common enemy." (Letter to John Hollins, 1811.)

"I will not believe our labors are lost. I shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on steady advance." (Letter to John Adams, 1821.)