Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Quotes of the Day

From the Patriot Post - two pertinent quotes to remember, both from Thomas Jefferson:

"They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless."

"History by apprising [citizens] of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views."


Tim Higgins said...


Mr. Jefferson also had something to say about what you have been trying to do for us:

"Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day."

Winston Churchill pointed out this uncomfortable fact:

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."

Art A Layman said...


Saw thie TJ quote a few weeks ago but haven't had time to get back to it. You should at least note, on these wonderful historical quotes, what document the quote is extracted from. The first one, which clearly is aimed at the idea that the government shouldn't, just willy nilly lay taxes for the general welfare, is actually from an; Opinion on the Constitutionality of the Bill for Establishing a National Bank.. It was this particular issue that was the focus of his argument in the quote you posted.

While one might construe that this was an absolute or universal position, but a reading of the entire opinion would suggest his opposition to the proposed National Bank was of such vehemence as to suggest the comment is limited to that action. In either case it is a snippet of his whole statement in the paragraph it is extracted from and certainly is presented out of context.

As I am sure you are aware, there are many misquotes, as well as none quotes, from Thomas Jefferson floating around. He was surely a wise and accomplished man and as such, what he had to say is worth reading but we should be sure that the context of his remarks are clear so as not to make a quote sound as something it is not.

He also said the following which gives broad support for looking at new ways to deal with new problems: "I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes
in laws and constitutions, I think moderate imperfections had
better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate
ourselves to them and find practical means of correcting their
ill effects. But I know, also, that laws and institutions must
go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that
becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are
made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with
the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and
keep pace with the times." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval,

Have a wonderful day.

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