"With money we will get men, said Caesar, and with men we will get money. Nor should our assembly [the Virginia Legislature] be deluded by the integrity of their own purposes, and conclude that these unlimited powers will never be abused, because themselves are not disposed to abuse them. They should look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when a corruption in this, as in the country from which we derive our origin [Great Britain], will have seized the heads of government, and be spread by them through the body of the people; when they will purchase the voices of the people, and make them pay the price. Human nature is the same on every side of the Atlantic, and will be alike influenced by the same causes. The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold on us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered."
by:
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Source:
"Notes on the State of Virginia," 1782
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Reader comments about this quote:
The wolf has been in the fold now for quite a while, and will be hard to get out. We can make a start by cleaning out the cesspool on November 2nd.
 -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
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    Thomas Jefferson was a Master. His words echo through time, and should be used when dealing with the problems of our time.
     -- Roseann Guzzo, Yorktown Heights     
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    My brother uses an expression about today's "leaders"..."we pay them to rob us." Sure sounds a lot like "they will purchase the voices of the people,and make them pay the price". Just this past Saturday I took the "walking tour" of UVa.with my cousin Hunter...a UVa.grad,class of 1953. To say Mr.Jefferson was an incredible man is a serious understatement!!
     -- Dale Payne, Orlando,Fla.     
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    An interesting essay in which he is basically complaining about the good and bad of societal, governmental or political organization. Of course it took money to get men to wage the Civil, First and Second World War. And it takes men and their taxes to pay for those other men etcetera. He only expresses the dichotomy or dilemma of organized society. The only answer is balance my friends balance.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    We need to shut down the printing presses, and by doing so strengthen our economy and put and end to ridiculous spending which spreads debt to working Americans. How many have considered that it might have been manipulative (CIA?) American Foreign policy that earned us the enmity of the world, even in the face of all the good Americans have done for the rest of the planet? Now we're paying them to fight enemies thay have created for us, without our knowing so...and paying in blood.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Most simply, we hold this truth to be absolute, as well as self evident. The loss of the representative republic, with its limiting Constitution, by wolves that have entered the fold demonstrates the extreme accuracy of the quote
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    This is beautiful -- Jefferson's Notes on Virginia are a must re-read. It should remind us that our government was never meant to be trusted with carte blanche -- they were to be strictly limited in their acts and powers, for human nature demonstrates that such power does indeed corrupt.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Any business man knows that the only way to make money and increase ones wealth is by the judicious use of "Help". The hiring and management of the human resource is a major part of business success. Jefferson is a little simplistic here.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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