The Writings of Thomas Jefferson
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The Writings of Thomas Jefferson-Truth! & Unproven!

Summary of the eRumor:  
A forwarded email with the several quotations from Thomas Jefferson relating to the economy, democracy and government.
The Truth:  
According to the "Jeffersonian Cyclopedia" published in 1900 by Funk and Wagnalls and edited by John P. Foley, some of these are true and some are not found or misquoted.

Lets look at them one by one:

"When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe."-Truth!  Found on page 143

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."-Unproven!  This quote was not found in the Jeffersonian Cyclopedia but several people have attributed this to Jefferson.  This is still under investigation.

"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."-
Truth!  Found on page 227 

"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."-Truth!  Found on  Page 271

If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy."-Truth!  Found on  Page 271

"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."-
Unproven!  This quote was not found in the Jeffersonian Cyclopedia but several websites have attributed this to Jefferson. 

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."-Truth!  Found on  Page 51  Note:The entire quote reads: "No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands]"  PROPOSED Virginia CONSTITUTION. FORD ED., ii, 27. (June, 1776.) 

"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."-Unproven!  This quote was not found in the Jeffersonian Cyclopedia but several websites have attributed this to Jefferson. 

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."-Truth!  Found on  Page 449
 

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."- Misquoted!  The  correct quote is found on Page 663  "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. "

updated 12/13/08

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:
WE NEED JEFFERSON BACK!

Thomas Jefferson - Words of Wisdom

1. When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.
Thomas Jefferson

2. The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.   Thomas Jefferson

3. 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. Thomas Jefferson

4. 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

5. My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson

6. No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. 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. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Thomas Jefferson

9. To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. Thomas Jefferson

And One Very Interesting Quote

In light of the present financial crisis, it's interesting to read what Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:

'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

 


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