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Top 10: Misconceptions about Jefferson

by Anna Berkes Everybody loves countdowns, right?  Right.  So, I’ve come up with...More »

Spurious Quotations

A collection of quotations commonly misattributed to Thomas Jefferson.

Discussion

says

Hi, Ms. Berkes. I ran into this one attributed to Jefferson on a website. Authentic?

"The central bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the Principles and form of our Constitution. I am an Enemy to all banks discounting bills or notes for anything but Coin. If the American People allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the People of all their Property until their Children will wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered."

says

Thanks again. You guys are the pros.

says

Someone on the discussion string came up with this version:
"if we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy." - Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, November 29, 1802[1]

says

Thanks again Anna. Here's another one, that sounds more suspicious to me than the last couple:
"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."

says

Steve,

Check out this quote and Anna's research on it. http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/wasting-labours-people-quotation

says

And another one:
"Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on. If for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be provided to those excluded from the appropriation. " -- Thomas Jefferson

says

Steve, this is from a letter to James Madison of 28 October 1785: http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-08-02-0534. You can find most of Jefferson's writings now in Founders Online: http://www.founders.archives.gov. I also have a guide here to searching for Jefferson quotes: http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/finding-jefferso... I hope that helps!

says

Is this one real?
"Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition."

says

Yes, this is from Query XIX of Notes on the State of Virginia: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/wu.89070264072?urlappend=%3Bseq=233

says

Thanks again.

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