"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those
who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
False: No source found in any of Jefferson's writings or speeches.
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Anonymous      
Hmm -- is Jefferson saying that the US is a democracy or warning us of the dangers of democracy?
 -- E Archer, NYC     
    We'd sure like a source for this quote if anyone has it. It is a popular quote on the internet, but no source has been found. We have thus marked the quote as False until a reliable source has been confirmed.
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
    Q: Is Jefferson talking about entitlement programs like welfare, SSI, alimony, child support? A: Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes.
     -- Down and Out, Alimonyland     
    How did Jefferson know that this would be the reality in todays world ?
     -- Peggy, Livingston, NJ     
    I wonder if Barak Obama ever considered this............
     -- Still Working for a Living, Oklahoma City     
    I think that the use of the word democracy is incorrect, and may be a twist on one of Jefferson's quotes. I bring forth the use of the word democracy. Jefferson like all the founders knew the dangers of democracy, and everything of his that I have read always referred to the nation and the states as that of a republic. And that to keep men from mischief, bind them down with the chains of a constitution.
     -- Anonymous     
    I agree this need to be "snoped". In what I've read by TJ I've never seen him say anything positive about "democracy".
     -- ifreemantoo, Central Ohio     
    This exact quotation has not been found in any of the writings of Thomas Jefferson. It bears a very vague resemblance to Jefferson's comment in a prospectus for his translation of Destutt de Tracy's Treatise on Political Economy: "To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, ‘the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, & the fruits acquired by it.'" Doesn't have anything to do with a democracy, but it's along the same lines. Kind of.
     -- Witt, Naperville, IL     
    I love how the spacing works, not.
     -- Dissapointed, over the spacing     
    I'm not sure if TJ said this or not but I think it is a great quotes. The comments above show that people are getting to hung up on the use of the word democracy or the whether or not TJ actually said this to get the point of the message. If we continue to allow people to sit at home and reap the benefits of someone elses labor we are going to become a dependant country and will lose all will and ability to function as a nation.
     -- ryan, Lauderdale, Ms     
    A TJ quote from 1986. http://wiki.monticello.org/mediawiki/index.php/The_democracy_will_cease_to_exist
     -- Abe, Sylvania, Ohio     
     -- Anonymous      
     -- Anonymous      
    I agree that it might have something to do with welfare or ssi. However, child support shouldn't be thrown in the mix. Children can't work.
     -- Anonymous, Illinois     
    I can't believe the number of responders who miss the point: that Jefferson never said this!
     -- Tom, Westerville     
    I guess then that Jefferson gave all of the proceeds from his plantations to his slaves who did all of the work he was unwilling to do. find it hard to believe that he was speaking of welfare, unemployment. ssi orchild support as non of these existed in his time.
     -- Anonymous, Washinton St.     
    You can not assert that TJ never SAID this but it isn't yet proven that he WROTE this. This may have been attributed to TJ by someone else that might have heard him say this in his musings.
     -- Dennis, Tucson     
    I doubt that Jefferson would have used the word " democracy " But , he probably said it in another way
     -- Jim, Drexel Hill     
    The quote makes better sense if you substitute the word "democracy" with the word "Republic"~
     -- Buck Freeman, St. Louis MO     
    This is most likely some ones conceptual desire to paraphrase TJ's written thoughts into his own. This could be considered extremely th0ughtfull or damaging, but what do I know. I cant even spell.
     -- ap, saylorsburg, pa     
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