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Wasting the labours of the people (Quotation)

"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, 18021

In Print:

Note: This passage has often been mis-quoted as, "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." All three major print editions of Jefferson's writings that have published this letter so far have mis-transcribed the original text as, "If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy."

Further Sources

  • Coates, Eyler Robert, Sr.  Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government.  "Good Government."  A compilation of further quotations from Jefferson on this theme, taken from the Lipscomb-Bergh edition of his writings.

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