Requests for Information Related to Thomas Jefferson



>  Do you
> have any information regarding specific Jefferson quotes on leadership,
> scholarship, etc...

There is quite a bit.  It would be helpful to know to what audience the
quotes would be directed.  For example, on my Jefferson quotes website,
the chapter on "Duties of the Executive" has quotes related to
Presidential leadership, such as:

Leadership for Reform
"I am sensible how far I should fall short of effecting all the
reformation which reason would suggest and experience approve were I free
to do whatever I thought best; but when we reflect how difficult it is to
move or inflect the great machine of society, how impossible to advance
the notions of a whole people suddenly to ideal right, we see the wisdom
of Solon's remark that no more good must be attempted than the nation can
bear, and that all will be chiefly to reform the waste of public money
and thus drive away the vultures who prey upon it and improve some little
upon old routines.  Some new fences for securing constitutional rights
may, with the aid of a good Legislature, perhaps be attainable." --Thomas
Jefferson to Walter Jones, 1801.

Chapter 52, "Duties of Citizens," has some quotes related to public
service, such as:

Public Service
"Some men are born for the public.  Nature by fitting them for the
service of the human race on a broad scale has stamped with the evidences
of her destination and their duty." --Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe,

Chapter 38, "Educating the People," has many quotes related to the need
for education in citizens and its importance for the nation.

I suspect, however, that you may have something more specific in mind,
perhaps something more related to students in an educational institution.
 If you would care to return a note that would describe more
specificially how you wished to use the quotes, I think I might be able
to suggest some quotes that would be more appropriate to your need.

> >Thanks for the quick response.  Yes, you are correct.  I am currently
> >looking for a quote regarding leadership, and quite specifically, the role
> >of leadership in regards to service to others.  I'm writing an essay for
> >graduate school ... and I'm trying
> >to tie together Jefferson's ideal of personalleadership with my own
> >ideals.  I envision myself as a leader on the cutting edge in the
> >educational field, and I'm just trying to make a connection with
> >Jefferson's vision.

I hope the list appended to the end will be of help.  Jefferson seemed to
approach the idea of service to others from the point of view of our duty
to our fellow human beings.  Scholarship focused on a pursuit of truth.
Somehow, I fear the quotes below are not fully on target, but I can't
seem to get any closer.  Perhaps you will find one or two that you can
use.  It was an interesting question.  If I can come up with something
better, I'll get back in touch.

"Nature [has] implanted in our breasts a love of others, a sense of duty
to them, a moral instinct, in short, which prompts us irresistibly to
feel and to succor their distresses." --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Law,

"I believe... that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to
another." --Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1816.

"It is highly interesting to our country, and it is the duty of its
functionaries, to provide that every citizen in it should receive an
education proportioned to the condition and pursuits of his life." --
Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1814.

"Our duty is... to act upon things as they are and to make a reasonable
provision for whatever they may be." --Thomas Jefferson: 6th Annual
Message, 1806.

"Every man is under the natural duty of contributing to the necessities
of the society." --Thomas Jefferson to Francis Gilmer, 1816.

"Truth advances and error recedes step by step only; and to do our
fellow-men the most good in our power, we must lead where we can, follow
where we cannot, and still go with them, watching always the favorable
moment for helping them to another step." --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas
Cooper, 1814.

"I fear not that any motives of interest may lead me astray; I am
sensible of no passion which could seduce me knowingly from the path of
justice; but the weakness of human nature and the limits of my own
understanding will produce errors of judgment sometimes injurious to [the
nation's] interests." --Thomas Jefferson: 2nd Inaugural, 1805.

"There is a debt of service due from every man to his country,
proportioned to the bounties which nature and fortune have measured to
him." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Rutledge, 1796.

"The first object of human association [is] the full improvement of their
condition." --Thomas Jefferson: Virginia Protest, 1825.

"I acknowledge that such a debt [of service to my fellow-citizens]
exists, that a tour of duty in whatever line he can be most useful to his
country, is due from every individual." --Thomas Jefferson to James
Madison, 1793.

"If ever you find yourself environed with difficulties and perplexing
circumstances out of which you are at a loss how to extricate yourself,
do what is right, and be assured that that will extricate you the best
out of the worst situations.  Though you cannot see when you take one
step what will be the next, yet follow truth, justice and plain dealing,
and never fear their leading you out of the labyrinth in the easiest
manner possible.  The knot which you thought a Gordian one will
untie itself before you.  Nothing is so mistaken as the supposition that
a person is to extricate himself from a difficulty by intrigue, by
chicanery, by dissimulation, by trimming, by an untruth, by an injustice.
 This increases the difficulties tenfold; and those who pursue these
methods get themselves so involved at length that they can turn no way
but their infamy becomes more exposed." --Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr,


"I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth
and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority
which stood in their way." --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1814.

"We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate
any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." --Thomas
Jefferson to William Roscoe, 1820.


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