Peace is that brief glorious moment in history...(Quotation)

Quotation: "Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading."

Variations: none known

Sources consulted:

  1. Founders Online
  2. Thomas Jefferson: Papers and Biographies collections in Hathi Trust Digital Library

Other attributions: none known

First known appearance in print: 1973[1]

First known attribution to Jefferson in print: 2013[2]

Comments: This quotation has not been found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson.  The language is somewhat uncharacteristic of Jefferson's style.  "Stand around" in the sense used here is not an expression that can be found in Jefferson's letters.  He almost always wrote "every body" instead of "everybody."  And there are no instances of the word "reload" (or variations thereof) referring to firearms in Jefferson's writings.  This quotation may have its source with Robert G. Ingersoll's statement, "What [Christian kings] call peace is the little time necessarily spent in reloading their guns," first published in 1882.[3]

- Anna Berkes, 9/17/12; updated 6/13/14

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