Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson, (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President

Thomas Jefferson Quote

“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.”

Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson
~ Thomas Jefferson

Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XIX, 1787

Ratings and Comments

E Archer, NYC

There is no greater example of this than the current situation today.

Michael, Houston, TX

Ditto E Archer...and TJ...1000%. It is always amazing to me that while many are quick to spend someone else's money to give for a worthy cause..they never want to deal with the root cause of the freedom and no way to benefit from it.

David L Rosenthal

Only dependence on other men "suffocates the germ of virtue," not dependence on God. And its strange how the ambitions of others are always evil, while our own are always virtuous.

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

We are all interdependant upon all the rest of us (and that includes all living beings, not just humans).

David L Rosenthal

Interdependence has a meaning completely different from dependence, but some people don't really like to be picky about meanings.

Tim, NY
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    Tim, NY    10/19/10

    Jefferson isn't talking about dependence on other men but on dependence on government. There's a big difference, please take the time to understand the context of this quote.

    Mary - MI
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    Mary - MI    8/6/15

    [Venality - 1. The condition of being susceptible to bribery or corruption.
    2. The use of a position of trust for dishonest gain.]
    I'd say that Anonymous, Reston, VA US truly is corrupted from suffering venality, i.e., dependency on government.

    jim k, Austin

    Reston. don't be late for the "Party" meeting tonight.

    Tony, Silver Spring, Md.

    Jefferson was warning us about the exact thing we are watching happen to our society right now.

    A brilliant and prescient man.

    Ronw13, Yachats Or

    " Appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world " Declaration of Independence. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson. One of my most favorite, of great men. " Who fathoms the Eternal Thought ? Who talks of scheme and plan ? The Lord is God ! He needeth not the poor device of man. And Thou O Lord ! by whom are seen Thy creatures as they be, Forgive me if too close I lean my human heart to Thee ! "
    The Eternal Goodness, John Greenleaf Whittier

    Mary - MI
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    Mary - MI    8/6/15

    Anonymous, Reston habitually wishes to live in the Fog of the Unknown ------
    "To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, 'to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.' For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union." -- Thomas Jefferson
    (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
    ad libitum - "at one's pleasure" (at liberty)

    "Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government." -- James Madison

    "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." -- James Madison
    (1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President


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