Today is runoff day in primary elections for municipal offices in my state. Consequently, the quotes of Thomas Jefferson wherein he mentions government come to mind.
Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.
When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.
The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.
The second office in the government is honorable and easy; the first is but a splendid misery.
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
So confident am I in the intentions, as well as wisdom, of the government, that I shall always be satisfied that what is not done, either cannot, or ought not to be done.
Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.
That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.
That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.
The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.
No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.
I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.
Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.
Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.