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

Thomas Jefferson Quote

“On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson
~ Thomas Jefferson

to Justice William Johnson, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p. 322

Ratings and Comments

Robert, Sarasota

Excellent definition and reason.

helorat, Milton

Can Democrats, liberals and Socialists even read this without their faces shattering and heads exploding? I can hardly wait for A(li). Reston and his band of thieves to comment on this.

Robert, Sarasota

As a Democrat, liberal and socialist, I gave it 5 even though it may not be probable...

E Archer, NYC

Unfortunately, no one in Congress knows the "spirit manifested in the debates" nor do the People. I think most Americans would be surprised to learn the true nature of American common law and Liberty. For sure the meaning of the clauses in the Constitution has been squeezed beyond recognition. Independence now means 'dependence' and Liberty is simply 'license'. I sure hope that one day that 'spirit' will return to the People in enough strength to restore the American character into something we can all be proud of again. My guess is that since the world is getting smaller, that the next 'revolution' will be worldwide when we cast off the chains of the jackals that have enslaved us -- the banks!

Robert, Sarasato

Very Good Archer - not just the banks but corporate greed also...

warren, olathe

Thomas probably would be crucified today. Or at least stoned to death. How dare he attack our "living" document the Constitution.

Nancy, Marion, OH

Wish our legislators and judges would refer to this. Other quotes by other founding fathers, similar to this one, also can be found. We absolutely must use and refer to these valuable resources. But currently, our government is not. The tyranny, and loss of liberty due to the abuses of it, have gone too far already. Make your voice heard. Contact your representatives on issues that obviously are not Constitutional.

Nancy, Ohio

The US Constitution means nothing to our leaders in Washington in 2009. The Constitution has been steadily eroded by our leaders for a good many years. It seems to have taken the blatancy of an all out assault by the Obama administration to finally wake many of us up.

jim k, Austin,Tx

To the libs, excuse me, progressives, in Washington, the Constitution doesn't mean what it says, it means what they say it means.

Waffler, Smith

He also said each generation should revolt anew or have their own revolution. So how is poring over an old document the same as haing a new revolution. Does he contradict himself? Nancy how has Obama made on all out assault?

J Carlton, Calgary

Each generation needs a revolution to "reinforce" the Constitution, as each new government seems to want to twist it to their own purposes until we arrive at a place where some Kenyan moron can campaign on "Hope and Change" just like Castro....

cal, lewisville, tx

I like when he said that we should tear everything up every 20 years and start from the beginning. This would keep that spirit alive.

Ron, Salem

Thru divine guidance with out respect of persons the constitution provides protection from a government appointed church. Such as the like that controlled the old world from which we departed. See those that preach the law for justification. Ref: Galatians 2:16. KJB assures us this freedom from oppression. Understand that these truths we hold to self evident were withheld from the common man, until King James took a stand against the catholic church. With this knowledge our forefathers were armed to have the right to establish a free country. One nation under God !!

M.Brown, Florida

I love T.J.

Elizabeth, Astoria, NY

"ALL AUTHORITY BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE", and that is what counts!

Waffler, Smith

I agree with Ron and we need to keep our society free from the church. We need to stop subsidizing church with tax deductible contributions which is nothing more than a government subsidy.

GunnyCee, Durham

I think that the spirit of the Constitution is returning to America through the Tea Party movement. This is a group of people who, contrary to the MSM depicting them as "rabble rousers" and "right-wing radicals," is made up of all walks of life and all political parties. We are watching America be dismantled day by day. What is this new beauracacy that just sprang up yesterday? Something to do with the government stepping in and making our decisions for us on what mortgage best suits our needs? Again, here are the liberal socials telling us that we are too stupid to make such decisions on our own. Obama has the audacity to blame the people for making bad decisions when Barny Franks and Chris Dodd forced the banks to loan to people who had no way of repayhing the mortgages...all in the name of "Equal Housing Opportunity." The whole premise for this new government department is ludicrous! And now Dirty Harry Reid is attaching a Deam Bill to an absolutely necessary national defense bill that will practicaly guantee 2 million more college age Latino votes. WTF? Can't we have some sort of congressional oversight and leadership here?

Gunny Cee, Durham

Waffler -- subsidizing the church with tax deductible contribution is evil? Yes, I guess in your feeble brain that would be true. The churches shouldn't be getting any money to do their charitable work, only the government is supposed to do that. God forbid any cuts in spending or reduction of taxes so people would be able to spend their own money that they earn instead of having it redistributed by Obama to his cronies in the Unions or diminishing his ability to outspend any candidates who would dare run against him. You greater good dopes keep forgetting that someone has to decide what is the greater good. Apparently you think that those people are Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid. All of the biggest losers on the planet!

Gunny Cee, Durham

Let me quote John Adams to our liberal friends: "Our Constitution was made for only a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Enough said.

dick, fort worth

Yes, it is evil. The history of nations built on theocracy is there for anyone who can read. Obviously, that's not one of your skills.

  • Reply
Nick    9/29/10

Treaty of Tripoli Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.


Get a Quote-a-Day!

Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.