"A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise 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, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicity."
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
First Inaugural Address; March 4, 1801
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Reader comments about this quote:
Jefferson would roll over in his grave if he could see what our government has become.
 -- jim k, austin     
  • 1
    By that simple standard, the government now in-place is not wise, frugal, or good. Government now restrains by threatening injury to finances, property ownership and freedom of movement. Government now regulates by calling many occupations unlawful - then granting license to perform such unlawful acts, regulates out of existence, taxes the necessities from the mouth of labor, etc.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 5
    A republican form of government should only use its taxing authority to stop real, direct injury to its citizens. The hallmark of empires is that they spend tax revenue on bread and circuses. So, you know what kind of government you have next time it starts spending money on palatial sports arenas and food stamps.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  • 6
    Thanks be given that we live in one of the lowest tax regimens in the industrialized world, Jefferson would be pleased. And once we put our economic house in order by creating a labor honoring society just as much as it is a wealth honoring society the better off we will be. When the debt is paid off and taxes reduced even further Jefferson might just jump out of his grave.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
  • 1 4
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN      
    There's nothing I despise more than a bad argument for something I hold dear -- Waffler, you are a deranged fool if you honestly think that 1) Jefferson would be proud of the frugality of today's government -- not only that, he despised central banking and killed the 1st central bank foisted upon us, and the country prospered immensely until the next time the bankers succeeded. 2) The entire money supply IS a debt -- it cannot be repaid only returned to the owner, the Fed. A labor-honoring society would not allow a man's labors to be taxed which I do believe is unConstitutional as labor is not income. Do you value even your own life savings? Or are you completely in debt like most of the rest of the populace? Of course those with nothing would vote to take it from those who do. But what would be better is to reform the system that steals the labors and the fruits thereof with the mechanisms of inflation, taxation, and socialism.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 8
    Waffler, your comment about taxes is again mis-direction and extremely, extremely, extremely way off point. Jefferson would be appauled. The comparison of tax is not to another country but rather, to the original principles of the Constitution, freedom, liberty, and law. Theft is larceny, even if you call it tax.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 6
     -- warren, olathe      
    I agree with this quote. According to the words in this quote,us Americans do not have a good governent anymore. Jefferson Would be appauled at the workings of the US Government today.
     -- Me Again     
  • 1
     -- Anonymous      
    I think Mayor Bloomberg ( NYC mayor) should MEMORIZE that one
     -- Robert K. Greco, Staten Island N.Y.     
  • 3
    Jefferson was our greatest president without any doubt.
     -- cal, Lewisville, TX     
  • 3
    We no longer have a good government because we have bought the lie that our republic is a democracy--an evil form of government which allows the majority to trample on the rights of the minority.

    And don't accuse me of being an elitist who wants to deny the vote to any citizen. The Greeks had a (failed) democracy and did not allow women or slaves to vote. We could have a republic (again) with or without universal suffrage.
     -- Durham, Birmingham, AL     
  • 4
    Principles of ' 98 are in order. A Convention of States is needed. Socialism has tainted the pure water of Natural Liberty to the point, every True Patriot is sickened with a tyrannical centralized government. A New Guard is called for, without delay.
     -- Ronw13, USA     
  • 2
    Admin, your on a roll....
     -- Robert, Somewhere in Europe     
     -- jim k, Austin      
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