tjprof2.gif (2322 bytes)Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government


"The principles of Jefferson are the axioms of a free society." --Abraham Lincoln

Favorite Jefferson Quotes

This separate collection contains a selection of the most popular of the quotations from Jefferson's writings as presented more fully here. These quotes are especially useful for writing and speaking. They are contained in six easily downloaded files.

This collection contains over 2,700 quotations from the writings of Thomas Jefferson. To download the special collection of over 400 quotations, see the option at the end of the Table of Contents.

This collection derives from the collection by the same name authored by Eyler Robert Coates and hosted originally on the University of Virginia website. Click here for more details.

SUGGESTION: Persons interested in downloading a whole chapter of the main collection without HTML codes can do so using "Save As..." to a text file (with a .txt ending).


Table of Contents

I. The Fundamentals of Government

  1. Inalienable Rights
  2. Securing Rights
  3. Moral Principles
  4. Moral Degeneracy
  5. The Sovereignty of the People
  6. The Safest Depository

II. The Theory of Republican Government

  1. Republican Principles
  2. Majority Rule
  3. Self-Government
  4. Good Government
  5. Governed by Reason
  6. Difference of Opinion
  7. Political Parties

III. The Structure of Republican Government

  1. Constitutions: State & Federal
  2. The Bill of Rights
  3. Amending the Constitution
  4. Interpreting the Constitution
  5. Judicial Review
  6. Separation of Powers: Federal and State
  7. Against Consolidated Government
  8. Separation of Powers: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial
  9. Elective Government
  10. Legislative Branch
  11. The Legislators
  12. Executive Branch
  13. Presidential Elections
  14. The Art of Governing
  15. Duties of the Executive
  16. Judicial Branch

IV. Government Policy in a Republic

  1. The Justice System
  2. Immigration Policy
  3. Racial Policy
  4. Native American Policy
  5. Public Works & Public Assistance
  6. Commerce & Agriculture
  7. Money & Banking
  8. Taxation & Fiscal Responsibility
  9. The National Debt
  10. Educating the People
  11. Publicly Supported Education
  12. Foreign Relations
  13. The Rights of Nations
  14. Foreign Commerce
  15. Peace & War
  16. Unavoidable Wars
  17. A Republic at War
  18. The Military & the Militia

V. Citizen Rights in a Republic

  1. Civil Rights

        Free Correspondence
        Freedom of Conscience
        Harmful Opinions
        The Right to Bear Arms
        Other Rights

  2. Juridical Rights

        Habeas Corpus
        Trial by Jury
        Jury Nullification

  3. Property Rights
  4. Freedom of the Press
  5. Freedom of Religion

VI. The Prospects for Self-Government

  1. Duties of Citizens
  2. The Spread of Self-Government
  3. Revolution and Reformation
  4. The Future of Democracy in America
 

NOTES:

  1. Download a subset of this Quotation Collection -contains the 400 most frequently cited Jefferson quotations. Useful for speaking and writing.
  2. Notes on the Editing

    A small number of quotations are followed by the sign, (*). This designates a quote that has been 'generalized.' In its original form, the vital principle was stated in terms of a specific application. The form stated here has words added in brackets or phrases rearranged so as to give it a general, rather than a specific and, usually, dated reading. Of course, none of this is contrary to the underlying principle as expressed by Jefferson. The purpose is to extract that principle and to make available an important point that must otherwise be omitted. When this is done, more complete bibliographical information is provided so that the reader can easily verify the precise wording and context if desired.

    Both the spelling and the punctuation of the quotations have been edited to conform with modern usage. Alterations to the punctuation consist mostly of fewer commas. The practice in Jefferson's time was to set off almost every phrase with commas. Today, commas are used to convey the structure of a sentence more precisely, and too many commas undermine that depiction of structure and make the sentences more difficult for modern readers to understand.

    The designation in the form, "Papers, 1:423," is a reference to the location of the quote in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. The designation in the form, "ME 12:345," refers to the location in The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors. "FE 9:234" refers to the Ford Edition of the writings. See the section Recommended Collections and Sources for further information.