80 Thomas Jefferson Quotes To Inspire & Motivate You

Thomas Jefferson was the Founding Father of the United States who played a pivotal role in shaping American democracy. He was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and became the third President of the United States, serving from 1801 to 1809. Here are the best Thomas Jefferson quotes on freedom, democracy, revolution, education, and liberty that will inspire you to reflect on your values and actions.

Following the American Revolutionary War and before becoming president in 1801, he served as a congressman, diplomatic minister, nation’s first secretary of state, and second vice president.

Jefferson played an important role in shaping the foundations of the United States. His advocacy for human rights, including freedom of speech, thought, and religion, was a leading inspiration behind the American Revolution that led to American Independence.

His beautiful words, “all men are created equal,” that come from the Declaration of Independence, show how vocal he was about the fundamental principles of liberty and equality that define American democracy.

Throughout his life, Jefferson was very eloquent in addressing the difficulties of his time, including education reform, political freedom, religious freedom, separation of church and state, free press rights, and more.

Despite his influential contributions, Jefferson was not without controversy as one who owned hundreds of slaves but is still considered progressive by most historians.

He is still regarded as one of the leading proponents of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights.

These insightful and thought-provoking Thomas Jefferson quotes will inspire you to strive for a more equitable and inclusive society. His words of wisdom have had a significant impact on the shaping of a nation and the aspirations of its people.

Top 10 Thomas Jefferson Quotes

  1. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” – Thomas Jefferson             

    Thomas Jefferson Quotes
    Thomas Jefferson Quotes
  2. “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.” – Thomas Jefferson      

    Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Freedom
    Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Freedom
  3. Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson       

    Quotes From Thomas Jefferson
    Quotes From Thomas Jefferson
  4. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal…” – Thomas Jefferson     

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

    Quotes By Thomas Jefferson
    Quotes By Thomas Jefferson
  6. “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson 

    Famous Thomas Jefferson Quotes
    Famous Thomas Jefferson Quotes
  7. “It matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” – Thomas Jefferson
  8. “If you want something you never had, You have to do something you’ve never done.” – Thomas Jefferson
  9. “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson
  10. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – Thomas Jefferson

Famous Quotes By Thomas Jefferson

  1. “Power is not alluring to pure minds.” – Thomas Jefferson
  2. “When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.” – Thomas Jefferson   

    Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Democracy
    Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Democracy
  3. “Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.” – Thomas Jefferson

    Famous Quotes By Thomas Jefferson
    Famous Quotes By Thomas Jefferson
  4. “Most bad government has grown out of too much government.” – Thomas Jefferson                  

    Thomas Jefferson Quotes About Government
    Thomas Jefferson Quotes About Government
  5. “When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.” – Thomas Jefferson
  6. “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” – Thomas Jefferson
  7. “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” – Thomas Jefferson
  8. “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” – Thomas Jefferson
  9. “A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” – Thomas Jefferson
  10. “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.” – Thomas Jefferson

Best Quotes From Thomas Jefferson 

  1. “The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.” – Thomas Jefferson
  2. “No man will labor for himself who can make another labor for him.” – Thomas Jefferson
  3. “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” – Thomas Jefferson
  4. “Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise.” – Thomas Jefferson
  5. “It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson
  6. “It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.” – Thomas Jefferson
  7. “I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power, the greater it will be.” – Thomas Jefferson
  8. “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
  9. “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.” – Thomas Jefferson
  10. “Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.” – Thomas Jefferson

Inspirational Thomas Jefferson Quotes

  1. “Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.” – Thomas Jefferson
  2. “Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful.” – Thomas Jefferson
  3. “Don’t talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.” – Thomas Jefferson
  4. “It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.” – Thomas Jefferson
  5. “How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened!” – Thomas Jefferson
  6. “I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.” – Thomas Jefferson
  7. “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” – Thomas Jefferson
  8. “There is no act, however virtuous, for which ingenuity may not find some bad motive.” – Thomas Jefferson
  9. “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.” – Thomas Jefferson
  10. “I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.” – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Liberty

  1. “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.” – Thomas Jefferson
  2. “When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.” – Thomas Jefferson
  3. “He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” – Thomas Jefferson
  4. “Liberty is the great parent of science & of virtue: and a nation will be great in both, always in proportion as it is free.” – Thomas Jefferson
  5. “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” – Thomas Jefferson
  6. “Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education & free discussion are the antidotes of both.” – Thomas Jefferson
  7. “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.” – Thomas Jefferson
  8. “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
  9. “The two principles on which our conduct towards the Indians should be founded, are justice & fear. after the injuries we have done them, they cannot love us…” – Thomas Jefferson
  10. “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.” – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Freedom And Government

  1. “The government you elect is the government you deserve.” ― Thomas Jefferson
  2. “When the speech condemns a free press, you are hearing the words of a tyrant.” – Thomas Jefferson
  3. “It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” – Thomas Jefferson
  4. “There is no justification for taking away individual’s freedom in the guise of public safety.” – Thomas Jefferson
  5. “That government is the best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.” – Thomas Jefferson
  6. “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson
  7. “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson
  8. “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” – Thomas Jefferson
  9. “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.” – Thomas Jefferson
  10. “Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

Famous Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Education And Ethics

  1. “I cannot live without books.” – Thomas Jefferson
  2. “The art of life is the art of avoiding pain.” – Thomas Jefferson
  3. “He who knows best knows how little he knows.” – Thomas Jefferson
  4. Knowledge is power, knowledge is safety, and knowledge is happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson
  5. “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” – Thomas Jefferson
  6. “Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.” – Thomas Jefferson
  7. “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” – Thomas Jefferson
  8. “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson
  9. “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.” – Thomas Jefferson
  10. “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.” – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Quotes On Democracy

  1. “Free men do not ask permissions to bear arms.” – Thomas Jefferson
  2. “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” ― Thomas Jefferson
  3. “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” – Thomas Jefferson
  4. “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” – Thomas Jefferson
  5. “There is no justification for taking away individuals’ freedom in the guise of public safety.” – Thomas Jefferson
  6. “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.” – Thomas Jefferson
  7. “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those wo would not.” – Thomas Jefferson
  8. “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” – Thomas Jefferson
  9. “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.” – Thomas Jefferson
  10. “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.” – Thomas Jefferson

More About Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in Virginia at the family’s Shadwell Plantation, the third of ten children.

He was an eminent figure in the American history and still ranks highly among U.S. presidents. He held various public offices during the timespan of his service.

Jefferson was a man with many accomplishments, including the founder and architect of the University of Virginia and the author of the Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom.

His great contribution towards politics, education, and philosophy is undeniable.

His thoughts and ideas left an indelible mark on America’s political, legal, and intellectual landscape. He died on July 4, 1826, at the age of 83.

Jefferson’s words of wisdom offers guidance for personal growth, civic engagement, and the pursuit of a more enlightened society.


Which of these powerful and deep Thomas Jefferson quotes and sayings resonated with you best? Do you have any other inspirational quotes to add? Tell us in the comment section below.

If you liked reading these inspirational quotes then check out our collection of Theodore Roosevelt Quotes and Abraham Lincoln Quotes to get inspired.

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