Henry David ThoreauHenry David Thoreau, (1817-1862) American author, poet, philosopher, polymath, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and transcendentalist

Famous Henry David Thoreau Quote

“That government is best which governs least.”

Henry David ThoreauHenry David Thoreau
~ Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience (1849)

Ratings and Comments

Leigh, Central

I love this quote. It is from a man who stood for what he believed and voiced his opinion strongly.

Anonymous, can not say

this quote truly talks about a man who stood for what he believed.

Big E Johnson, Vegas

Too bad most American's are looking for a hand-out. If they only believed this they would want to limit this Goverment Like I do! Yeah Obama, let's lower our standard of living to match that of Europe! One bright idea after another.

Katherine, Texas

I love the quote... but wasn't it Thomas Jefferson who said: 'The government who governs least governs best.''?

cal, lewisville, tx

You are right Katherine.

jim k, austin

Tell that to that bunch of socialists running( ruining ) the country today.

Logan, Memphis, TN

The quote is often attributed to either Jefferson or Thomas Paine, but it is actually Thoreau that said it in his work "Civil Disobedience"... an excellent read, btw... http://www.monticello.org/library/reference/spurious.html

  • Reply
Anon    7/1/09

The self government is best that governs himself the most.

E Archer, NYC

And when we are ready for it, that will be the government we have.

Allen Weingarten, Monroe Township, NJ

George Washington said "Government is not reason or eloquence. It is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master." Let us recognize that culture is based on freedom, while government is based on force. It follows that government should only be used to protect our rights, as a defense against aggression and emergencies.


Get a Quote-a-Day!

Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.