Thomas Jefferson QuotesThese Thomas Jefferson Quotes are from his own writings and personal letters between 1790 and 1798. During this time, Jefferson served as Secretary of State under President George Washington and Vice-President under President John Adams. Many of these Thomas Jefferson Quotes come from letters to such people as George Washington, Noah Webster and Elbridge Gerry. Others come from his writings on such topics as the Constitutionality of a National Bank and the Kentucky Resolutions, which advocated the position that the federal government could not do anything it was not delegated in the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson is one of the great heros of the Revolutionary War. He was the main author of the Declaration of Independence and served as Ambassador to France, Secretary of State, Vice President and 3rd President of the United States. These Thomas Jefferson Quotes are listed chronologically with links to more both before and after this time period at the bottom.
Thomas Jefferson Quotes"It had become an universal and almost uncontroverted Position in the several States, that the purposes of society do not require a surrender of all our rights to our ordinary governors: that there are certain portions of right not necessary to enable them to carry on an effective government, and which experience has nevertheless proved they will be constantly encroaching on, if submitted to them: that there are also certain fences which experience has proved peculiarly efficacious against wrong, and rarely obstructive of right, which yet the governing powers have ever shown a disposition to weaken and remove. Of the first kind, for instance, is freedom of religion: of the second, trial by jury, habeus corpus laws, free presses." - Letter to Noah Webster, December 4, 1790
"It is not honorable to take mere legal advantage, when it happens to be contrary to justice." - Opinion on Debts Due to Soldiers, 1790
"Hamilton was indeed a singular character. Of acute understanding, disinterested, honest, and honorable in all private transactions, amiable in society, and duly valuing virtue in private life, yet so bewitched & perverted by the British example, as to be under thoro' conviction that corruption was essential to the government of a nation." - On Alexander Hamilton in The Anas, 1791-1806
"It is an established rule of construction, where a phrase will bear either of two meanings to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which will render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given to them. It was intended to lace them up straightly with in the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect." - Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, February 15, 1791
"The incorporation of a bank and the powers assumed (by legislation doing so) have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution. They are not among the powers specially enumerated." - Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, February 15, 1791
"They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please... Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect." - Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, February 15, 1791
"I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.' To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power not longer susceptible of any definition." - Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, February 15, 1791
"It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It (the Constitution) was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect." - Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, February 15, 1791
"On the whole I find nothing any where else in point of climate which Virginia need envy to any part of the world... Spring and autumn, which make a paradise of our country, are rigorous winter with them (New Englanders)... When we consider how much climate contributes to the happiness of our condition, by the fine sensations it excites, and the productions it is the parents of, we have reason to value highly the accident of birth in such an one as that of Virginia." - Letter to Thomas Mann Randolph, May 31, 1791
"New England botanical specimens "either unknown or rare in Virginia" include "an Azalea very different from the Nudiflora, with very large clusters of flowers, more thickly set on the branches, of a deeper red and high pink fragrance. It is the richest shrub I have seen." - Letter to Thomas Mann Randolph, June 5, 1791
"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Letter to Archibald Stewart, December 23, 1791
"Let what will be said or done, preserve your sang-froid immovably, and to every obstacle, oppose patience, perseverance, and soothing language." - Letter to William Short, March 18, 1792
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