Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and George W. Bush recognized the qualities of greatness in the nation’s third president when they named today as ‘National Thomas Jefferson Day’.
“We commemorate the birthday of a monumental figure whose place in our Nation’s history will always be cherished,” reads a part of President Bush’s April 11, 2007 Presidential Proclamation.
Born April 13, 1743 in Albemarle County, Virginia, President Jefferson is best recalled as the author of the Declaration of Independence and the nation’s third president.
As chief executive he reduced the federal debt, suppressed the threat of pirates in Tripoli, doubled the size of the country with the Louisiana Purchase, funded the Lewis & Clark expedition, and authorized the construction of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Outside his presidency, President Jefferson was an architect, a musician, a scientist, a strong supporter of religious freedom, and an ardent advocate of public education.
Fittingly the third president passed on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Throughout much of his 83 years of life, President Jefferson daily recorded his thoughts, many of which today bear remembering.
Jefferson’s Best Quotes & Observations:
“But I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power, the greater it will be.”
“He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it the second time.”
“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”
“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.”
“I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
“I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people; they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
“For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.”
“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”
“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
“I am a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”
“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matter of principle, stand like a rock.”
“There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.”
“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.”
“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”
“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
A Perfectly Modern President
Jefferson’s wisdom culminated in many successes in American history. It lives on in our government and people, who, even when divided, still fight for the betterment of our nation. This can be best stated by Jefferson himself:
“But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.”
Take his words to heart.