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The end of democracy...(Spurious Quotation)

Quotation: "The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations."

Sources consulted:

  1. Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Digital Edition
  2. Thomas Jefferson: Papers collection in Hathi Trust Digital Library
  3. Retirement Papers

Earliest known appearance in print: 19941

Earliest known appearance in print, attributed to Thomas Jefferson: see above

Status:  This exact quotation has not been found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson.  It may be a mistaken amalgamation of the author's comments in the above 1994 reference with a real Jefferson quotation.  Jefferson wrote in 1825 to William Branch Giles of "vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of ’76 now look to a single and splendid government of an Aristocracy, founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry."2  Chomsky's 1994 book quotes Jefferson's 1825 letter to Giles and then comments that "[Jefferson] warned that that would be the end of democracy and the defeat of the American revolution."



lphebert's picture
From Founders Online - "Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, 12 November 1816" - - "The National Archives, through its National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), has entered into a cooperative agreement with The University of Virginia Press to create this site and make freely available online the historical documents of the Founders of the United States of America."
Randall E. Winn's picture
Dear Monticello: would you KINDLY FIX the errors in your posting above to reflect that the LONGER "variation" is accurate? More that one person has disparaged the "Variation" because of your commentary on the unsubstantiated quote. You are therefore unnecessarily contributing to confusion.
Randall E. Winn
aberkes's picture
Thanks Randall - it's fixed. Sorry to muddy the waters there!
Anna Berkes
American's picture
Why does it say above that this exact quote, "I hope we shall...crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to trial and bid defiance to the laws of our country." cannot be found in the writings of Jefferson?
Nicholas Popov's picture
"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Thomas Jefferson The bipartisan "dueling" (two-party political system) is indeed a fascinating spectacle for the politically naive, and it does indeed distract from any kind of serious critique (dare we say "panem et circenses"?). The resulting winner will invariably favour the impresario, backed up by the money of the millions of simple-hearted 'santa clauses'. What were once useful past political movements have degenerated into ruses. Now, with little effective difference in approach, the so-called "business model" connives at maintaining the financial status quo, the "Big Money", and is also cautious not to allow "strangers" into the powerful "club". This "closed joint-stock company" is intended not for "the rabble" who are creating the nation's wealth but only for the business elite that is appropriating it "on legal grounds" by its own laws; with that, the degrees of their freedom are separated by the thickness of a purse. The monetization of laws, health care, education, pre-election campaign, etc. puts citizens in obviously unequal conditions. And what about a declaration of the "society of equal opportunity"? Meanwhile, the healthy and intelligent nation is possible only when the honest competition and equal access of all its citizens to nationwide resources. These are not democracies, as Abraham Lincoln described it, that is to say "government of the people, by the people and for the people"! "A new political system as a real Democratic Revolution."
Nicholas Popov (not verified)
DrChill's picture
This is a copy of a letter signed by jefferson containin the exact quote.
D Ekern's picture
The quote "I hope we shall...crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to trial and bid defiance to the laws of our country." is making the rounds and is said to be from a letter Jefferson wrote to George Logan, November 12, 1816 and quoted in Volume 12 of the works of Jefferson. Is this letter legitimate and is the quote accurate?
d ekern


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