Thomas Jefferson: A man who may have seen the future

(April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826)

The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it

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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 policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.


Most bad government has grown out of too much government.


I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious


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


“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” (Quoting Cesare Beccaria)


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.


The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.


The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.


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