Famous Quotations

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Anna: "Taste cannot be controlled by law." Genuine TJ quote or spurious?



This is all over the net, but I do not see any reliable sourcing. Can you verify that it is real please?
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
― Thomas Jefferson

Thank you


I'm afraid it's not, Peter - I have created a page on it here: http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/if-you-want-some...


Not only did Jefferson not say it, it is contrary to his concept of having a natural aristocracy in charge. See his letter to John Adams from Monticello, October 28, 1813.


Dear Anna, Did Mr. Jefferson really say, "When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."

Thank you! Doubtful, too.


Thanks for that Anna.

On a separate issue, I wonder why this famous, but correct, quote from Mr Jefferson's 1st inaugural is not listed among the famous ones?

"Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it."


Hi Chris, you can find your real TJ quote, as well as hundreds of others with their proper citations, here:



Hi Chris,

We usually will only address specific (real) Jefferson quotations with their own page if there is some question about them, or they seem to be getting asked about fairly frequently. This is not one that people have been asking about, to my knowledge, but I might consider putting it in one of the topical quotation collections we have on our site.


Is this genuine TJ?:

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent"


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