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Every man has two countries - his own and France (Spurious Quotation)

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

"So ask the travelled 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.


  1. Jefferson, Autobiography, in Ford, 1:149. Text available online.
  2. Henri de Bornier, La Fille de Roland: drame en quatre actes en vers (New York: Jenkins, 1886), 63.
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