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Thomas Jefferson

Brief Bio: American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809

Lived: 1743-1826

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“Unintelligible Propositions”

Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them….

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“Institutions must advance and keep pace with the times”

I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions, but … laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

— 1816

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“Ignorant and Free”

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.

From the letter “To Colonel Charles Yancey”

— Jan 6, 1816

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