Quotes by Thomas Jefferson
A little rebellion is a good thing now and then.
Information is the currency of democracy.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
to Archibald Stuart, 1791. ME 8:276
The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.
to Lafayette, 1823. ME 15:491
The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers.
to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785. (*) ME 5:181, Papers 8:632
What county can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that its people preserve the spirit of resistance.
The true barriers of our liberty in this country are our state governments...
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.
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 discretions.