Thomas Jefferson on education, religion, and more

With the situation for public educators in Wisconsin and beyond looking so grim, I had to collect a few quotes from Thomas Jefferson for the sake of sanity .   If TJ were alive today, certainly “radio talk show hosts” would have certainly been included in the first quote below.

The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.

In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty.

The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.

Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity.

I hope we shall take warning from the example of England and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

The liberty of speaking and writing guards our other liberties.

Liberty is the great parent of science and of virtue; and a nation will be great in both always in proportion as it is free.

We discover in the gospels, a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstition, fanaticism and fabrication.

They (preachers) dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live.

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.

Power is not alluring to pure minds.

Honesty, disinterestedness and good nature are indispensable to procure the esteem and confidence of those with whom we live, and on whose esteem our happiness depends.

If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American, it is, that we should have nothing to do with conquest.

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 provisions should be made to prevent its ascendancy.

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.

It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquillity and occupation which give happiness.

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

Men are disposed to live honestly, if the means of doing so are open to them.

Good humor is one of the preservatives of our peace and tranquility.

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.

Religions are all alike — founded upon fables and mythologies.

For if one link in nature’s chain might be lost, another might be lost, until the whole of things will vanish piecemeal.

I think it is a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines as a tax on luxury. On the contrary, it is a tax on the health of our citizens.

Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.

Believing with you 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 legislative 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.

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About anaxyrus

Anaxyrus terrestris is the binomial of the southern toad, and the wordpress ID of someone who is married, employed, and otherwise thoroughly boring.
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