"God who gave us life gave us liberty.
And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure
if we have removed their only firm basis:
a conviction in the minds of men
that these liberties are the gift of God?
That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?
Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just;
that His justice cannot sleep forever."
by:
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Source:
Thomas Jefferson Memorial building, Panel Three.
This quote has been found to be the paraphrasing of several quotes from different sources.
See: http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/quotations-jefferson-memorial#Panel_Three
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Anonymous      
It is funny that he, the third President of the U.S., had the foresight to see a problem that we faced and had no choice but to deal with in the 1800's (that slavery is wrong), and a problem we are now facing (that this is one nation under God). Will we respond with the same courage as Abraham Lincoln, or will we melt and continue trying to write God out of the roots of this country?
 -- Larry, Kansas City     
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    Isn't it funny how people insist that Jefferson was an athiest?
     -- Lela, Indianapolis     
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    The thing that worries me the most is that if Thomas is right, and I think he is, then America is going to experience terrible repercussions if we dont live up to the obligations and duties of a free Christian nation. It is true that He is just and I am afraid for my nation if we continue with partisan, greedy, self-serving behavior for the benefit for riches.
     -- Anonymous, Memphis, TN     
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    While Jefferson never considered himself an atheists, he also never considered himself a christian. In fact, he despised all organized religion. He even suggested that children not be exposed to any religion until they had the ability to see things critically. He considered himself a diests. When asked about his religion he said that, basically, it was not anyone's business but his. One more thing. If you look at the original letters, available online, you'll see he never capitalized the word god. To him it was more about nature than any imaginary sky daddy. So don't get excited about something you haven't researched. For instance, why did he consistently refuse to proclaim any day a religious holiday. Why did he throw theology off the campus of the College of William and Mary? One more thing. Can you cite the source for this quote so I can see the context? I've not been able to find it in his letters.
     -- Jerry, Huntsville, AL 35805     
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    http://www.nobeliefs.com/jefferson.htm
     -- Robken, Anytown     
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    Our greatest president never got it wrong.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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    Jefferson was a Deist. A great book on Jefferson is "The Essence Of Jefferson", by Martin Larson. It mostly consists of Jeffersons letters and opinions on many subjects, including religion. He said that he didn't trouble anyone with his religion and didn't expect others to bother him with theirs. He had no use whatsoever for the doctrine of the Trinity so loved by the fundamentalists of today. I'm sure that the hell fire Bible thumpers of the day thought he was an Atheist just as they said the same of Thomas Paine.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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    With out interjecting my own opinion on Jefferson's religious beliefs or prejudices (such as against self inflicted prideful ignorance), the statement on its face is absolutely correct. If you don't believe in a god, then the statement still stands as all rights are inalienable, self existent from outside man's lawful purview. Either God (nature, existence, etc., etc.- what ever you like) gave man rights or, government gave man his rights. Since man existed before government, I'm going with God.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    To understand why God is written out of the roots of the country please watch The Agenda, it is covered in that documentary (you will not see it on tv but will have to get if from Amazon). To understand that law is force read Bastiat's The Law. Education that includes US history and the classics, and educating those we come in contact (anyone for speaking to OWS?) with are the only hope...for if ignorance prevails, the "gimme yours" generation will win and as old folks like me will be dead, it is my progeny that will suffer...so I soldier on and pray there are those standing with me.
     -- Abby     
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    @ Jerry, Huntsville: We sourced this quote to the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC. I was disappointed to learn that this quote engraved in stone is a poor paraphrase of several quotes from different letters. See: http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/quotations-jefferson-memorial#Panel_Three
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
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    Thanks, Editor. Yes, I thought this sounded a bit too homogenized for Jefferson. The first sentence is actually "The god who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them." Deism is probably more popular than fundamental Christianity, although I have found that Christians are happy to accept that the use of the word 'God' is an acceptance of their own beliefs, thus, we see folks try and bridge Judeo-Christian followers into a cohesive group that share the same 'god.' Never-the-less, I agree with Jefferson's view. Karma is a b!tch.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    With all knowledge there is a source . for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. I Samuel 2 : 3 . Therefore we return to the rock upon which the republic rest. For our founding fathers were convinced of divine providence and the doctrines of the grace of God to all of mankind . How can such a separation of law and grace be hid from the publics eyes of understanding. thank the denominational religious system for this darkness over the long dark night of spiritual awareness.
     -- watchman 13, USA     
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