Quotation: "The first duty of government is the protection of life, not its destruction.  Abandon that, and you have abandoned all."


  1. "The chief purpose of government is to protect life.  Abandon that, and you have abandoned all."

Sources consulted:

  1. Papers of Thomas Jefferson
  2. Thomas Jefferson retirement papers
  3. Thomas Jefferson: Papers and Biographies collections in Hathi Trust Digital Library

Earliest appearance in print found: 1989[1]

Comments: This quotation has not been found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson.

- Anna Berkes, December 29, 2011



  1. ^ George Grant, Trial and Error: The American Civil Liberties Union and Its Effect on Your Family (Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1989), 85.