Thomas Jefferson Foresaw Saw It All

Many of today’s politicians from both sides of the aisle truly respect and often speak highly of our third President for many reasons. However, the average American has little or no knowledge of Jefferson’s true wisdom or many accomplishments. Let’s change that.

  • One of the most influential Founding Fathers
  • Principal author of the Declaration of Independence, 1776
  • Second Governor of Virginia, 1779-1781
  • U.S. Ambassador to France, 1785-1789
  • First U.S. Secretary of State, 1789-1793
  • Second Vice President of the U.S., 1797-1801
  • Third President of the U.S., 1801-1809
  • Founder of the University of Virginia
  • The Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition took place during his presidency.
  • As public official, historian, philosopher, famed inventor, plantation owner, accomplished surveyor, author, architect, and agriculturalist, he served his country for more than five decades.
  • He died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Coincidentally, John Adams died the same day.

Jefferson distrusted cities and financiers, and favored states’ rights and a strictly limited federal government. He supported the separation of church and state and was the co-founder and leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, which dominated American politics for a quarter century.

Thomas Jefferson is remembered as one of the most brilliant men to ever inhabit the White House, whose views on individual freedom, religion, and education still influence today.

President John F. Kennedy once said to a assembled group of scholars in the White House, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House—with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

To read Thomas Jefferson’s words today calls for us to pause at the thought that he knew exactly what we would be facing 183 years after his death. Here are a few of his observations:

“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.”

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

“When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”

This one may produce a few chills. Considering our present financial crisis, it’s interesting to read what Jefferson said in the year 1802:

“Banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Rather prophetic wouldn’t you say?

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

4 thoughts on “Thomas Jefferson Foresaw Saw It All

  1. Wise man. This article should be sent to every politician in the nation at every level. Many probably wouldn’t know who Jefferson was.


  2. Harry, I do think it is time for each of us to start listening to Jefferson and I agree with Dave, This article should be read , not only by poliicians, but evry thinking leader of the country. I say let poliferate it. I would be happy to help.

    Bill Bates

  3. Harry, I agree with Bill: we should start listening to Jefferson. The only problem is that only three of your seven “Jefferson quotes” are actually attributable to Jefferson (#1, #5, & #6; #1 is misquoted, but, in essence, is accurate). I’m not sure who is responsible for #3, #4, and #7, but they do not appear in any of Jefferson’s writings. Credit for #2, however, can be given to John Sharp Williams, a Mississippi Democrat and 28-year member of Congress, in a speech he gave in 1913. Sen. Williams was a firm defender of the principles of Jeffersonian Democracy.

    Jefferson, as I am sure you are aware, was a prolific writer, in both his public and private lives. There are many of his writings that clearly support many of the political opinions being expressed today. I don’t understand why it is necessary to fabricate quotes (or use fabricated material) in order to support one’s political views. It appears that you hold Mr. Jefferson, and his writings, in high esteem. Using fabricated quotes that can be easily identified as such, will ultimately dilute the power of your message.

    I am curious about one thing: your inclusion of quote #6. What is your interpretation of this, and why did you include it in your list?

  4. Martha,

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the Thomas Jefferson quotes we shared on our blog. You certainly sound like an authority on this historic past President. However, you suggested that I fabricated quotes and/or used fabricated material in order to support my own political views. I’m not certain how you arrived at this conclusion as I have never shared my political views on this blog as I don’t believe this is the place to do so. In addition, I don’t believe any one of our readers care about my personal political views.

    You were explicit in pointing out that 3 of the 7 quotes we posted do not appear in any of Jefferson’s writings. I find that interesting as 6 of the 7 quotes were taken from the website….a site that shares thousands of quotes from a wide variety of historic figures in history. These quotes are cross referenced by topic and author on this site. In addition, I personally cross-referenced each of these quotes on other sites as well. I have no reason to believe that all of these sites would conspire to produce false quotes to fool the general public. That would indeed be quite a conspiracy.

    The 7th quote, which seems to offend you the most, was taken from several sources…one being the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia in which it states that this quote was taken from a letter to John Taylor in 1816. I see no reason why the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia would fabricate and publish such a statement and, as a result, I shared it with our readers. I found that quote posted at,,,,,,,,,,,, and others. Again, I have neither the personal credentials nor the desire to question that many resources who all agree that Jefferson made these statements.

    You also made the observation that it appears that I hold Mr. Jefferson, and his writings, in high esteem. Let me say that I respect this man as a President of the United States of American and I admire many of his personal accomplishments. I’m quite certain there are things he did and said that I would not agree with as well. However, I chose not to focus on the negative and try to learn as much as I can from every leader I research. I personally feel that, given your focus and dedication, you can find something negative about every one of our presidents from Washington to Obama. History reflects the fact that none of them were perfect in every way. I choose to focus on and share the more positive aspects of each leader….business or political.

    Anything I have stated here in my reply to your accusations of my fabricating these documented facts are my beliefs and opinions alone and not those of AchieveMax, Inc. Again I thank you for taking the time to share your opinions as well. Freedom of speech for both of us is enjoyed as a result of the efforts of Thomas Jefferson and other great leaders from our past. Let us pray we never lose it.

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