"Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it?
Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom?
Material abundance without character is the path of destruction."
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Attributed. No source found. Supposedly in a letter to John Adams
as quoted in John A. Stormer, None Dare Call it Treason (Florissant, MO: Liberty Bell Press, 1964) 93.
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Bruno, Paris      
 -- Bob, Reston, VA, USA      
 -- S. Engel, Fredericksburg      
Material abundance without character is the path of destruction. That is worth repeating at least once. Our nation hungers for the wisdom of our Founding Fathers.
 -- KS, Queensbury,NY.     
    oh how wise jefferson was.. this is more true today than in any other time in us history.. people have truely forgotten what freedom cost, and are throwing it away with acts like the so called patriot act.. the most unpatriotic act in american history
     -- justin fuller, Modesto, California     
    So true... all it takes is a look back at a time when one used to live in a country that does not have the benefits, freedom, or opportunity that our country does... and it all comes clear... truly a privilege and we have it as a RIGHT!
     -- Bob, Temecula,CA     
     -- CGC, Princeton, New Jersey      
    Success unchecked? You get exactly what you deserve - the current state of this nation. You answered my question, as you are the proof: No, we will not keep it as SUVs, designer babies and plasma TVs are the siren song we cannot resist. I'm poor this time around once again and for an actual reason: I for one mean it when I say my true belief is some things are priceless. My soul? Without price as I did not fight the American Revolution known as Thomas Jefferson not once but now twice over for nothing...Revolutions? They do have a legal ending but never an actual ending. Your life is a never-ending Revolution with each day a battle. I have yet to witness any one person or any nation as a whole actually or legally win a Revolution with plasma TV's as their weapon. Hitler made the attempt using designer babies. We all know how that worked out for him. As for SUVs? There is an actual SUV named "The Liberty". Do not bother going here as liberty is an inside metaphysical condition first, an emotion, then realized as the outside physical condition known as justice. Another name for justice? SAFETY, which is why the pursuit of the material at the expense of your soul is so dangerous.
     -- T. Jefferson, Neptune Beach, FL     
    Yes, the memory of freedom has lost in our complacency; witness the evidence today in 2009. It appears that so many wish to have the federal government care for them that they fail to see that personal liberty will be the price they pay. This blatant attack on personal liberty and on the US Constitution, fortunately, seems to have awakened much of the American citizenry. Hallelujah and thank God! I hope it's not too late.
     -- Nancy, Ohio     
     -- Anonymous      
    I think every elected official should have to recite this and understand it prior to taking office. Maybe part of the Pledge of allegiance
     -- Anonymous     
    How very prophetic of Jefferson. His warning rings true today.
     -- anonymous, anytown USA     
     -- Penny B, Prescott, AZ      
    According to the Monticello site: http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/near-perfect-republic-quotation "We currently have no evidence to confirm that Thomas Jefferson ever said or wrote, "Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction," or any variations thereof."
     -- Diane, Rock City, IL     
     -- Jason Hurzeler, Barrow      
    Jefferson never said or wrote this. It was cobbled together about 1960 from writings of Edward Gibbon. You would have to be tone-deaf to Jefferson's English to think for even an instant that he might have authored.
     -- Lars Eighner, Austin, TX     
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