Quotation: "My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."
- "My reading of history convinces me that most bad government has grown out of too much government."
Sources consulted: Searching on the phrase "bad government" and "too much government"
- Monticello website
- Ford's Works of Thomas Jefferson
- L&B (CD-ROM version)
- UVA EText Jefferson Digital Archive: Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, Thomas Jefferson on Politics and Government, Texts by or to Thomas Jefferson from the Modern English Collection
- Thomas Jefferson Retirement Papers
- Quotable Jefferson (searching in the index under "government")
Earliest known appearance in print, attributed to Jefferson: 1950
Other attributions: John Sharp Williams
Status: This exact quotation has not been found in any of the writings of Thomas Jefferson. It bears some slight resemblance to a statement he made in a letter to John Norvell of 14 June 1807, "History, in general, only informs us what bad government is." However, the quotation as it appears above can definitely be attributed to John Sharp Williams in a speech about Jefferson, which has most likely been mistaken at some point for a direct quotation of Jefferson.
- ↑ John Sharp Williams, Thomas Jefferson: His Permanent Influence on American Institutions (New York: Columbia University Press, 1913), 49.
- ↑ To establish the earliest appearance of this phrase in print, the following sources were searched for the phrase, "most bad government results from too much government": Google Books, Google Scholar, Amazon.com, Internet Archive, America's Historical Newspapers, American Broadsides and Ephemera Series I, Early American Imprints Series I and II, Eighteenth Century Collections Online, 19th Century U.S. Newspapers, American Periodicals Series Online, JSTOR.
- ↑ Bertie Charles Forbes, Forbes (Forbes, 1950), 34.
- ↑ Ford 9:72. Transcription available online. Polygraph copy at the Library of Congress.
- ↑ Suzy Platt, Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1989), 147.