Remembering Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was born at Shadwell, among the hills of Virginia, on this day in 1743. A favorite amongst the founding fathers, he is also one of my favorite authors. Jefferson distinguished himself as a horticulturist, statesman, architect, archaeologist, paleontologist, author, and inventor, not to mention being the third President of the United States of America and principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

I could easily fill this page and probably 10 others with quotes from Mr. Jefferson; however, here are some of my favorites:

“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.”

“Is it the less dishonest to do what is wrong, because not expressly prohibited by written law? Let us hope our moral principles are not yet in that stage of degeneracy.”

“My theory has always been, that if we are to dream, the flatteries of hope are as cheap, and pleasanter, than the gloom of despair.”

“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”

“Those who would trade safety for freedom deserve neither.”

“The wise know too well their weakness to assume infallibility; and he who knows most, knows best how little he knows.”

And my all time favorite, which is often shortened, but in my opinion looses some of it’s meaning:

“Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

     All from Thomas Jefferson, 1743 – 1826

If you do decide to comment, please add your favorite quote(s), and let’s see how many we can get.

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James A. Restucci is the author of this blog. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Internal License.

6 Responses to Remembering Thomas Jefferson

  1. jimr says:

    Sorry to hear that. Anytime you want to discuss religion, just let me know.

  2. Libby says:

    Well Jimr, at least you have someone you can discuss the subject (rationally) with. Lucky you. I have a brother who is a Jehovah’s Witness and in order to keep peace in the family I deal with the problem by using the “let’s just no go there” strategy! Ha ha!

  3. jimr says:

    Thanks Libby. I do know the difference 🙂 I have a close personal friend who is also an agnostic and he and I have had some very long discussions about the subject 🙂

  4. Libby says:

    I think you have interpreted T.Jefferson’s motives in making that statement correctly. And I’m on board with him. I am an agnostic, not an atheist. Big difference.

    I, like Jefferson, think that God can withstand the scrutiny of our intellectual prowess if He exists. My opinion.

  5. jimr says:

    Libby thanks for the comments!

    I did not know that you were an agnostic; however, that is one of the reasons, that when you shorten the quote to “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because…” – you get some strange looks from God-fearing folk.

    It’s at that time, that I usually have to explain to them, that I believe in God, and much like a majority of his colleagues so did Mr. Jefferson, so much so, that you would be hard pressed to convince him otherwise; however, by making this statement, he is demonstrating to others his absolute conviction in searching for the truth and his utter disdain for the ignorant.

  6. Libby says:

    I’m with you, Jimr. I like the last quote best of all. Probably because I am an agnostic. My second favorite is the fourth one you listed. It so well describes a certain President that I am quite fond of! Ha ha!