90 Thomas Jefferson Quotes About Revolution, Freedom, and Education

Looking for inspirational Thomas Jefferson quotes to find your power within?

These inspiring Thomas Jefferson quotes by the author of the Declaration of Independece still apply to our lives today.

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Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence.

He was a leading figure in America’s early development and held various public offices during almost five decades of public service.

Besides president, he also served as a congressman, diplomatic minister, secretary of state and vice president.

A man of many unique accomplishments, Jefferson is also honored for being the father of the University of Virginia and the author of the Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom.

He dedicated his life to addressing the challenges of his time – political freedom, religious freedom and educational opportunity.

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in Virginia.

In 1760, he graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Since there were no official law schools in America at the time, Jefferson studied law under the tutelage of a renowned Virginia Attorney.

During the American Revolution, Jefferson, who was also a gifted writer, was tasked with drafting the Declaration of Independence.

He would later rise to become the third U.S. president in 1801.

After his presidency, Jefferson continued to pursue his many interests and helped found the University of Virginia, which held its first classes in 1825.

He died on July 4, 1826, at the age of 83.

Also check out these great John Locke quotes for more enlightenment.

Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration. 

Explore our complete collection of motivational quotes here.

Find powerful inspiration in these Thomas Jefferson quotes

1. “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes on honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom

2. “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes to find powerful inspiration

3. “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes about the care of human life and happiness

4. “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Best Thomas Jefferson Quotes

5. “A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” – Thomas Jefferson 

More Thomas Jefferson Quotes

6. “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes about dreams

7. “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes about educate and inform the whole mass of the people

8. “Never spend your money before you have earned it.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes about never spend your money before you have earned it

Thomas Jefferson quotes about revolution

9. “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.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes about revolution

10. “The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes about the glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money

11. “When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Relatable Thomas Jefferson Quotes

12. “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Wise Thomas Jefferson Quotes

13. “For people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Short Thomas Jefferson Quotes

14. “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” – Thomas Jefferson 

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Funny Thomas Jefferson Quotes

15. “I cannot live without books.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Motivational Thomas Jefferson Quotes

16. “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.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes about future happiness

17. “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. 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.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Inspirational Thomas Jefferson Quotes

18. “I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes and sayings

19. “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes about freedom

Don’t forget to also read these wise Alexander Hamilton quotes that remain true today.

Thomas Jefferson quotes about freedom

20. “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Top Thomas Jefferson Quotes

21. “On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes on matter of style

22. “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. – Thomas Jefferson 

Favorite Thomas Jefferson Quotes

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

Appreciation Thomas Jefferson Quotes

24. “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Amazing Thomas Jefferson Quotes

25. “I know 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 by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Cool Thomas Jefferson Quotes

26. “When we see religion split into so many thousand of sects, and I may say Christianity itself divided into its thousands also, who are disputing, anathematizing and where the laws permit burning and torturing one another for abstractions which no one of them understand, and which are indeed beyond the comprehension of the human mind, into which of the chambers of this Bedlam would a man wish to thrust himself. – Thomas Jefferson 

Epic Thomas Jefferson Quotes

 Thomas Jefferson quotes about education

27. “Some are whigs, liberals, democrats, call them what you please. Others are tories, serviles, aristocrats, &c. The latter fear the people, and wish to transfer all power to the higher classes of society; the former consider the people as the safest depository of power in the last resort; they cherish them therefore, and wish to leave in them all the powers to the exercise of which they are competent.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes about education

28. “As you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome have left us. – Thomas Jefferson 

Random Thomas Jefferson Quotes

29. “All should be laid open to you without reserve, for there is not a truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world.” The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.” – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes to motivate you

30. “It is an axiom in my mind, that our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves, and that too of the people with a certain degree of instruction. This it is the business of the State to effect, and on a general plan.” – Thomas Jefferson 

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Thomas Jefferson Quotes to helping others

31. “The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government.” – Thomas Jefferson 

32. “Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful. Man has no nobler or more valuable possession than time.” – Thomas Jefferson 

33. “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” – Thomas Jefferson 

34. “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” – Thomas Jefferson 

35. A republican government is slow to move, yet once in motion it’s momentum becomes irresistible. – Thomas Jefferson 

36. Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it. – Thomas Jefferson 

37. Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. – Thomas Jefferson 

38. I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it. – Thomas Jefferson 

39. Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the general progress of the human mind. – Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson quotes to enlighten

40. It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give happiness. – Thomas Jefferson 

41. Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself. – Thomas Jefferson 

42. No instance exists of a person’s writing two languages perfectly. That will always appear to be his native language which was most familiar to him in his youth. – Thomas Jefferson 

43. 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. – Thomas Jefferson 

44. The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers. – Thomas Jefferson 

45. The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive. – Thomas Jefferson 

46. The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object. – Thomas Jefferson 

47. Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. – Thomas Jefferson 

48. We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it. – Thomas Jefferson 

49. Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. – Thomas Jefferson 

50. “No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.”― Thomas Jefferson

Don’t forget to also read these Dwight D. Eisenhower quotes on life, politics and progress.

Thomas Jefferson quotes that capture his true spirit

51. “How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!”― Thomas Jefferson

52. “Those who expect to be both ignorant and free, expect what never was and never will be.”― Thomas Jefferson

53. “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”― Thomas Jefferson

54. “A great deal of love given to a few is better than a little to many.”― Thomas Jefferson

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55. “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”― Thomas Jefferson

56. “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”― Thomas Jefferson

57. “I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office.”― Thomas Jefferson

58. “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”― Thomas Jefferson

59. “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”― Thomas Jefferson

60. “The opinions and beliefs of men follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds.”― Thomas Jefferson

Thought-provoking Thomas Jefferson quotes

61. “Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion.”― Thomas Jefferson

62. “Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity.”― Thomas Jefferson

63. “Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.”― Thomas Jefferson

64. “The art of life is the art of avoiding pain.”― Thomas Jefferson

65. “A little rebellion is good now and then.”― Thomas Jefferson

66. “I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.”― Thomas Jefferson

67. “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government”― Thomas Jefferson

68. “The government you elect is the government you deserve.”― Thomas Jefferson

69. “In matters of principle stand like a rock.”― Thomas Jefferson

70. “A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.”
Thomas Jefferson

You might also like these Abigail Adams quotes about education, peace, and women’s rights.

More Thomas Jefferson Quotes

81. “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

82. “History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.” – Thomas Jefferson

83. “There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.” – Thomas Jefferson

84. “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” – Thomas Jefferson

85. “Be polite to all, but intimate with few.” – Thomas Jefferson

86. “Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.” – Thomas Jefferson

87. “The dead should not rule the living.” – Thomas Jefferson

88. “It is reasonable that everyone who asks justice should do justice.” – Thomas Jefferson

89. “Our civil rights have no dependence upon our religious opinions more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” – Thomas Jefferson

90. “Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people.” – Thomas Jefferson

Did you enjoy these Thomas Jefferson quotes

Thomas Jefferson remains an American icon who still ranks highly among U.S. presidents.

Although slavery was a contradictory issue in his life, he is still regarded as one of the leading proponents of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights.

On April 13, 1943, the 200th anniversary of Jefferson’s birth, the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. was dedicated to him.

Additionally, his face is carved into stone at Mount Rushmore and he is featured on the U.S. nickel coin.

No matter how you remember him, these quotes will hopefully stay with you as a remembrance of one of the most important of the American founding fathers.

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  1. Bruce Beale

    November 13, 2021 at 11:57 AM

    Democratic values of today were considered Republican values back in his day, and there was a switch some time around WWII. But we don’t want to mention that these days (as you can see with this post). What’s amazing is the number of people willing to remain ignorant.


    January 23, 2019 at 3:36 PM


  3. B Zikria

    January 20, 2019 at 11:19 PM

    If ever was a war of independence, it was our war against the British Colonialism.


  4. Paula Rouse

    January 13, 2019 at 4:59 PM

    I find it truly amazing how relevant Thomas Jefferson’s words, ideals, and beliefs are to today’s society! We need more leaders in our current government’s with his character!

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