A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.
A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.
A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.
A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.
A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.
Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
Always take hold of things by the smooth handle.
An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry.
An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.
An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes.
An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.
And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva, in the brain of Jupiter.
As our enemies have found we can reason like men, so now let us show them we can fight like men also.
Be polite to all, but intimate with few.
Bodily decay is gloomy in prospect, but of all human contemplations the most abhorrent is body without mind.
Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital.
But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.
Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.
Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.
Delay is preferable to error.
Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.
Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.
Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor – over each other.
Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.
Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
Don’t talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
Education, Mind, Must
Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.
Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.
Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal 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.
For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.
Force is the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism.
Friendship is but another name for an alliance with the follies and the misfortunes of others. Our own share of miseries is sufficient: why enter then as volunteers into those of another?
God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind.
He who knows best knows how little he knows.
He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.
History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.
Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened.
I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.
I am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greek and Roman leave to us.
I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too.
I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.
I cannot live without books.
I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
I find that he is happiest of whom the world says least, good or bad.
I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.
I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office.
I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.
I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another.
I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.
I hope we shall 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.
I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.
I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.
I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. (Back then!)
I think with the Romans, that the general of today should be a soldier tomorrow if necessary.
I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.
I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
If God is just, I tremble for my country.
If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?
If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.
If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.
Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.
In a government bottomed on the will of all, the…liberty of every individual citizen becomes interesting to all.
In defense of our persons and properties under actual violation, we took up arms. When that violence shall be removed, when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, hostilities shall cease on our part also.
In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to Liberty.
In matters of principle, stand like a rock.
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
In truth, politeness is artificial good humor, it covers the natural want of it, and ends by rendering habitual a substitute nearly equivalent to the real virtue.
It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.
It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.
It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.
It is better to tolerate that rare instance of a parent’s refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings by a forcible transportation and education of the infant against the will of his father.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.
It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.
It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.
It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.
It is our duty still to endeavor to avoid war; but if it shall actually take place, no matter by whom brought on, we must defend ourselves. If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.
It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately.
It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.
Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.
Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people.
Liberty is the great parent of science and of virtue; and a nation will be great in both in proportion as it is free.
Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.
Money, not morality, is the principle commerce of civilized nations.
Most bad government has grown out of too much government.
My only fear is that I may live too long. This would be a subject of dread to me.
My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
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.
Never spend your money before you have earned it.
No duty the Executive had to perform was so trying as to put the right man in the right place.
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.
No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.
No man will ever carry out of the Presidency the reputation which carried him into it.
No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.
None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined is therefore at all times important.
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.
Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
Nothing is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.
Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add “within the limits of the law,” because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.
One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.
One man with courage is a majority.
One travels more usefully when alone, because he reflects more.
Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail.
Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.
Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.
Peace and abstinence from European interferences are our objects, and so will continue while the present order of things in America remain uninterrupted.
Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.
Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.
Politics is such a torment that I advise everyone I love not to mix with it.
Power is not alluring to pure minds.
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 blind-folded fear.
Resort is had to ridicule only when reason is against us.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.
Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.
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.
So confident am I in the intentions, as well as wisdom, of the government, that I shall always be satisfied that what is not done, either cannot, or ought not to be done.
Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?
Speeches that are measured by the hour will die with the hour.
Taste cannot be controlled by law.
That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.
The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper.
The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.
The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.
The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.
The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that… it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.
The Creator has not thought proper to mark those in the forehead who are of stuff to make good generals. We are first, therefore, to seek them blindfold, and then let them learn the trade at the expense of great losses.
The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
The earth belongs to the living, not to the dead.
The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.
The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.
The good opinion of mankind, like the lever of Archimedes, with the given fulcrum, moves the world.
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.
The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.
The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.
The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory.
The most successful war seldom pays for its losses.
The natural cause of the human mind is certainly from credulity to skepticism.
The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.
The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.
The right of self-government does not comprehend the government of others.
The second office in the government is honorable and easy; the first is but a splendid misery.
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.
The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.
The way to silence religious disputes is to take no notice of them.
The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it.
The world is indebted for all triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression.
There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.
There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.
There is not a truth existing which I fear… or would wish unknown to the whole world.
Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.
To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education.
To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.
Truth is certainly a branch of morality and a very important one to society.
Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very fast.
War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.
Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.
We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed.
We did not raise armies for glory or for conquest.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We may consider each generation as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will of its majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country.
We never repent of having eaten too little.
Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.
What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?
When a man assumes a public trust he should consider himself a public property.
When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.
When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.
When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.
When wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality.
Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.
Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.
Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.
Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.
Wisdom I know is social. She seeks her fellows. But Beauty is jealous, and illy bears the presence of a rival.