Although the saying, "Every man has two countries – his own and France," has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson many times, this exact wording has never been found in his writings. It has been suggested that the saying may be a paraphrase of this passage from Jefferson's Autobiography:

[S]o ask the traveled inhabitant of any nation, In what country on earth would you rather live?—certainly in my own. where are all my friends, my relations, and the earliest & sweetest affections and recollections of my life.—Which would be your second choice?—France.[1]

The specific quotation, "Every man has two countries – his own and France," however, has been traced back to Henri de Bornier's play, La Fille de Roland (1875), in which Charlemagne utters the line, "Tout homme a deux pays, le sien et puis la France."[2] This saying quickly gained currency and seems to have enjoyed a particular popularity in print during the first quarter of the twentieth century.

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  1. ^ Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, January 6-July 29, 1821, in L&B, 1:1-2. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  2. ^ Henri de Bornier, La Fille de Roland: drame en quatre actes en vers (New York: W.R. Jenkins, 1886), 63.