Quotation: "The natural progress of things is for the government to gain ground and for liberty to yield."

Variations:  There are many variations of this quote, including (but not limited to):

  1. "As government grows, liberty decreases."
  2. "It is in the natural course of events that liberty recedes and government grows.”

Comments: This is a misquotation of Jefferson's statement, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yeild,[1] and government to gain ground."[2]

- Anna Berkes, 3/6/09; updated 11/20/15

Further Sources


  1. ^ "Yeild" is Jefferson's original spelling, and one that he used with a fair degree of frequency.
  2. ^ Jefferson to Edward Carrington, May 27, 1788, in PTJ, 13:208-9. Letterpress copy available online at the Library of Congress. Transcription available at Founders Online.