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The Jefferson Presidency Quotes

They Said It

"State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules."

- Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 10 August 10 178737
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, 4 July 4 177638
"Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state?... Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race."

- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 178739
"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself."

- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 178740
"Those who labor in the earth are the chose people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue."

- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 178741
"Rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated. Were there but an Adam and Eve left in every country, & left free, it would be better than it is now."

- Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 3 January 3 1793, in response to the escalating violence of the French Revolution42

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