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

Thomas Jefferson Quote

“I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, when to reap, we should soon want bread.”

Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson
~ Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821. ME 1:122

Ratings and Comments

E Archer, NYC

Another reason to develop self-reliance. The general welfare clause should be focused on the protection of the People's rights to provide for themselves, not to be taken care of by the government.

NG, St. Louis

Brilliant. Such foresight is amazing.

Me Again
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    Me Again    10/20/08

    The USA has become a government of the elite, by the elite and for the elite but WE THE PEOPLE outnumber the elite. We the People must realize this. When We the People start acting upon this reality with One Voice, we can and will turn this whole thing around.

    jim k
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    jim k    10/20/08

    Exactly what the liberal politicians want, to control everything and everybody. This is what Obama, the Marxist, wants for the U.S. If you desire a Socialist country then B.O. is your man.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    Farmers are free to ignore their county USDA Department of Agriculture agent or what ever he is called. The secret to modern agricultural abundance and the world over population and obesity problem was the invention and promotion of the Faber-Bosch nitrogen process in which nitrogen is pulled from the air made into nitrates and put on the soil. That and many similar inventions and processes were aided and abetted by governments and created the green revolution. Jim K. it looks like as of today Americans want a Socialist Country since the polls are 5 to 10 percent in Obama's favor. (The beginning of government involvement in ag business was when Joesph told the Pharaoh of Egypt to store up grain against the seventh year famine.)

    Mike, Norwalk

    (-: WOW ;-) I like it a lot. And we ignore such wisdom today because good happy owned chattel does just what the foreign master says. Voting for O.B. or that other guy is like voting on - do we want a wood handle or, a metal handle in the whip that beats us.

    jim k, austin

    Waff, if B.O. is elected it won't be because Americans want a Socialist country. It will be because too many airhead numbskulls think he's cute or because he can read a speech very eloquently while saying nothing. The Howard Stern show sent a reporter to Harlem and asked several prople who they would vote for. They all said Obama. When asked how they liked his pick for V.P., Sarah Palen, they said it was a good pick. These lame brains didn't even know who his VP pick was and couldn't begin to define Socialism. If B.O. is elected it will be with votes from no-nothings like these, not because Americans want a Socialist country

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    Tom was unbalanced in this quotre. If only frarmers were that smart. Farmers destroyed Oklahoma and we had the dust bowl, southern Illinois was destroyed by the lack of using contour farming (they did not even know what it was), the wasted land was purchased by Sam and it is now restored to be called The Shawnee National Forest, Florida Crackers destroyed the land southwest of Tallahassee with there turpentine busniess and it has been restored by Sam to be The Appalachicola National Forest, river pollution from fertilizer use has destroyed much, the Gulf south of Louisianna is called a dead zone due to nitrate pollution, need I mention farming use of DDT. Farmers are not as smart as ol' Tom thinks they were. Jim K. the people you refer to above are less than 15% of the US population. They are incapable of electing anyone. According to John Mc we have been a socialist country since 1913 since income tax is progressive. If we have to wear labels then lets just get use to it and stop talking about it. We tweak the progressive system but it is still progressive. Hell even a flat percent tax like say 10% is progressive in that the more you make the more absolute tax you will pay. Lets drop the labels and be pragmatic like the Republican C. Powell. The Republican right wing is about as cute as they come what with thier "pro American towns" versus their "anti-American towns" etcetera. And yeah the internet says Sarah ate that moose that her ex inlaw shot. She is the biggest snake to ever run for national office. Mike may be interested that Joe The Plumber was a member of the now defunct Natural Law Party basically transcendentalist meditation folk, Is that what you are into Mike or is that what you are smoking as they say?

    Doug, Wethersfield, CT

    Great quote.

    Billy Yank, Boston

    We have not only become a nation of the elite, but we have become a police state. We are crawling with cops everywhere. Have you ever seen how well armed your local police department is, and the arsenal that they have, along with the swat squads? Who is this going to be used against? Really, ask yourself who. Why do they need those automatic weapons? Who do they need to kill with such precision and at such rapid fire? It makes me feel that we had better be very well prepared.

    Logan, Memphis, TN

    On my pass- through of Utah a few months back I visited a small National Park where they had tours through a small cave in the area (Timpanogos Cave -- I think I spelled that right). The tour actually goes through three separate caves that are connected by two tunnels that were dynamited and picked for the purpose of making a cave large enough to even have a tour. The tour guide talked about the government geological experts that were hired to instruct the other forestry agents who were digging out the cave (connecting the three caves together). Apparently, even these geological experts (who were said to be hired because of their expert) oversaw a fatal blunder to the ecological and environmental conditions of the cave. The dust residue from the dynamite, when it interacted with the crystalline stalactites and stalagmites of two large caverns, turned they permanently black and destroyed the ecological balance in the cave. The tour guide continued to talk about how even within the last decade they are discovering things they didn't know... For instance, the entrance of the cave is some 30 feet higher than the end of the cave -- and this made a breezeway that dried the cave out and drove the natural bats away. This breezeway has been repaired and no longer exists, but there was some damage sustained by it. Anyhow, the point of this is to show that government is merely made up of men who are just as damned ignorant as the farming bloaks who Waffler is condemning. Did the farmers mess up the environment? Yes, they did. Would it have been different if the government were farming the land? No! Because the actions were not caused out of malice, but ignorance. Government isn't any "smarter" than the people. It's not as though the USDA is the benevolent collector of information wherein anyone who follows their guidelines will have the greatest yield. BS.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    I agree there is enough blame to go around, Logan. But I would suggest that socieites since time immemorial have had some type of organization in their farming systems. Today people are talking about "spontaneous organization" of systems. This spontaneous way of systems of economics and business, towns and villages of org and providing goods and services is a good thing as is some government assistance. As this sites preeminent researcher Logan can you tell me where the construction "republic not a democracy" originated. Several in my town have said it to me. When I correct them they see my point and can't actually recall where they learn the phrase. It seems obvious to me that there is some central source for the use of the offending construction. In the same vain some or one on this site has stated that the IRS is a Puerto Rican corporation with no jurisdiction in the 50 states. If true none of us are liable for income tax is apparently the message of this construction. This was also repeated to me unsolicited by an acquaintance here, so it seems that there is a central place for the orignination of this. Since Americans file and pay almost 3 trillion dollars in income taxes this is a pretty important issue. Can you research and inform us. Regards, Waffler.

    Mike, Norwalk

    Waffler, it sounds like you're becoming an advocate for natural law. The farmers discovered natural law by abusing it. Once discovered, codes, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. could be set in place to abide such natural law. Spontaneous organizations, complete with a system, if acting at natural law, will bring about substantive and sound economics, if not, that is to be discovered. I can't answer for Logan but, I can give you what I know personally. I didn't make the comment you are referring to about the IRS but, I have seen documentation (a long time ago) to the effect of an enabling act and an incorporation for an IRS in Puerto Rico. I didn't care enough to do the research to validate what I saw because, I was personally aware of what I've already here posted. The IRS is only a smoke screen and an issue to side track the lawful issue of, 'is the sovereign individual liable to pay income tax'. Of course the de facto government no longer respects or acts at law, so through its facade, violates everyone that it desires by the designate crime lords (IRS). It doesn't matter how much income tax is extracted. It is lawfully known that the IRS is a rogue something that has no authority to act in any state or the states united. Just because the IRS is acting illegally, that doesn't directly address the issue 'is the sovereign individual liable to pay income tax'. That is why a prosecutor states so easily that the matter is Res Judicata. The IRS is a mere link in the unlawfull chain of circumstances used to deceive and abuse the once individual sovereigns.

    J Carlton, Calgary

    We need an "Administration" not a Government, "Statesmen" not Politicians. There is no reason whatsoever to trust or vote for (pretty much) any of them any more.

    Logan, Memphis, TN

    The construction of a "Republic, not a Democracy" comes from the seemingly infinite words of the founders. Liberty, while being a natural gift given upon all creation, requires eternal vigilance and education to maintain the exercise of such a celestial article (as Paine would say); only in education can we see past today's sophistry, and perceive the government the founders actually tried to leave us. Where is it written that the US is a Republic and not a Democracy? Where did these people you've talked to hear such a thing? Perhaps they were once educated and even perhaps read the Constitution (Article 4 Section 4); sadly, the overwhelming majority of Americans polled over the last 3 decades haven't ever even read the Constitution. I have yet to find a founder who directly supported "Democracy", and I have asked many of my associates and students to find such a quote -- none which has been able to produce any such documentation. Multiple writings, sermons, and documents can be found, however, concerning the absolute disdain the founders held in contempt of Democracy. We can either try to ignorantly reason away this fact and can continue our banter, or we can accept things for as they are and move past the point to be more edified in future conversation. We (especially Mike, Archer, and myself) have provided you multiple sources that strictly and specifically show the founders disdain for "Democracy" and their desire INSTEAD to form a Republic; I have personally urged you to read the likes of Machiavelli's "The Discourses" to gain a more firm understanding of the dichotomy of Democracies vs. Republics. You can then easily see that they cannot exist in the same place and time. If you've diligently read James Madison, you would know that he was an avid follower of Machiavellian thought -- not of the well known "Machiavellian power", but of the genius in establishing a Republic rather than a Democracy. As for the IRS, that's not my domain nor is it my expertise; although, I would have no problem researching such a thing. I can easily argue against the legitimacy of an income tax within a Constitutional Republic, but as for the corporate foundations of the IRS I know some basic facts (a little above what you'd find if you watched the documentary "Freedom to Fascism", but nothing more than what I've seen the likes of Mike say), but I wouldn't volunteer myself to argue the case in court -- I can do my due diligence, but, as stated, this is not my domain of expertise.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    Well when I tell folks the truth that a true re-public is a society ruled by the public and that is also what a democracy is they agree and say they do not know where they ever learned the offending construction. Thanks for your efforts concerning the incorporation of the IRS. The guys on this site could make themselves a killing advising folks concerning that 3 trillion they pay into the coffers of the Treasury at the behest of the IRS. The fact that they don't make a killing says more than any words ever could about how full of it they are. (Mike since the Maharesshi's Natural Law Party is defunct and apparently had little staying power it would seem grasping for such nonsense is a waste of my time. I'll stick with pragmatism, (Warren Buffet-Colin Powell Pragmatism) the true American "god".

    Mike, Norwalk

    Waffler, tell your friends that the offending construction of a democracy is, that the society which is ruled by the public is merely done by, and represents only a segment of the society (there is not separate and equal stations - only majority and minority), there are no self-evident truths, each and every man is not created equal under the law (only the majority's desires matter), inalienable rights are a non concept or issue, the pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness are arbitrary happenstance at the whim of the majority, there is no constant that the government will secure, and there is no government of law - governmental acts change for light and transient causes. In a republic, as was established by the Constitution, each and every, any and all of society are represented and, government discovers and secures law(s) for each and every, any and all - individually, jointly, and in common, while each individual is sovereign, assuming among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them. Jefferson's and the Constitutional Republic's government was rigorously frugal and simple; a democracy is not. Waffler, just because somebody may say their version of transcendentalism may be a natural law, doesn't make it so; the same way just because somebody may say democracy represents the whole of society, doesn't make it so.

    Mike, Norwalk

    Waffler, reading what I wrote, and knowing how corrupt the courts and all other branches of government are, how could the guys on this site make themselves a killing advising folks concerning that 3 trillion they pay into the coffers of the Treasury at the behest of the IRS? I just told you what I know and I did it for free. Are you offering me some sort of killer remuneration or benefit? Thanks, lets be pragmatic, just send it to the IRS in my name ;-)

    Logan, Memphis, TN

    Waffler, there are several formations of government that run by the voice of the people. Remember to differentiate between "democratic method" and "Democracy" (they are not the same). For instance, in the area of Memphis in which I live, when someone offers you a drink, they most often ask, "hey, do you want a 'Coke'?" If you reply yes, then they ask you what kind of "Coke" you want... Dr. Pepper, Sprite, Lemonade, etc. A "Coke" here is in reference to a soft-drink, not merely a trademarked "Coco-Cola". Some place in the US call it "soda" or "pop" -- we just happen to call it a "Coke". What does this have to do with differentiating between a "democratic method" and a "Democracy"? Well, if some people ask you "do you want a 'democratic method'?" (Coke) It is wise to respond, "What kind of 'democratic method ("Coke") do you have?" At this point the different possible forms of a form of government (soft-drink) come forward: "We have 'Mt. Dew' (Republic), or 'Pepsi' (Democracy), or a 'Sprite/7UP' (Beneficent Monarchy), etc." There are several forms of government that have a 'democratic process' but that are not "Democracies". The democratic process is just that... a process where the people have a voice in the say of government; this process can be handled in many ways and in many forms. Some Republics don't follow the democratic method, while others do; some Monarchies don't follow the democratic method, while others do. This is just a matter of studying "Comparative Politics", a class required of every Political Science student. The difference between a Republic that follows the democratic method and a Democracy are found in the premise wherein laws, regulations, and statutes are formed and legitimized. Although there are obvious mechanic differences, an outsider's perspective could easily view a democratic process' Republic exactly the same as a Democracy, until they actually study not just the mechanics of government but the reason, philosophy, and context wherein it was created. Your friends had the correct basis, they just didn't have enough knowledge in comparative politics, history, and philosophy to explain the differentiation between the two.

    E Archer, NYC

    Call it whatever you want -- we are talking about POWER and RIGHTEOUSNESS (for lack of a better word). Is it 'right' to steal bread from the mouths of those who made it? Is it 'right' to gather your friends together and beat up the new kid? Is it right to deprive a person of his/her life or liberty because they differ in opinion or beliefs than their neighbors? And are there consequences in a society or in an individual's life for violating the 'rights' of another? For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction -- that is a natural law. Poison the environment and we poison ourselves. Spend more than you make and go bankrupt. Build a life upon lies, and it cannot stand. Eat crap and get sick. Garbage in, garbage out. Either you believe in Freedom or you do not. America was founded upon the principles of Freedom and personal Responsibility. The founders referred to it as a 'representative republic' not to be confused with a democracy since the word democracy does not automatically include the respect of natural born 'rights.' Jefferson often referred to a "democratic republic" but obviously within the context of his Declaration of Independence which acknowledges first and foremost the INALIENABLE rights of man. We can go around and around debating 'democracy vs, republic' but it all really comes down to whether you respect the natural born rights of another and whether they respect yours. That is the essense of Common Law, Liberty and Justice for all.

    Joe, Fort Worth, TX

    I'm afraid you've misquoted Jefferson here - the full quote is as follows: "I am for a government frugal and simple, applying all the possible savings of the public revenue to the discharge of the public debt; and not for a multiplication of officers and salaries merely to make partisans, and for increasing, by." Jefferson was arguing for responsible and accountable government, but he also believed in the full faith and credit of the government to pay its debts.


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