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Spurious Quotations

A collection of quotations commonly misattributed to Thomas Jefferson.



The "I never considered a difference of opinion..." quotation is legitimate -- that was in a letter to William Hamilton (Ford Ed., vii, 441, Pa, 1800)


How about this one? “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” - Thomas Jefferson.. This has been going around Facebook.


HanClinto is right - this one is genuine, and we've put a page up on it with details because it has definitely been making the rounds lately:


Is this one spurious?

"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everyone stands around reloading."


Spurious too - we've got a page up now on this one:

says is quoting Jefferson in an ad for Salon Core: All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

Spurious, isn't it?


Michael, sorry for the long delay on this. Yes, it is spurious - I've put up a page on this quotation here:



I'm sure you'll get a more direct response soon. But in the meantime, check out this blog post from our Research Librarian Anna Berkes:

Hunting the Wily Jefferson Quotation (Episode 1)


I've seen this quotation going around, and can't find it on this site, either as real or spurious: "Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor."

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