"THE TREE OF LIBERTY MUST BE REFRESHED"
> Hi, can you tell me what this quotation by Thomas > Jefferson means? > "The tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood > of tyrants and patriots. Patriotism are the virtues of > the vicious." > Thanks! The last sentence, "Patriotism are the virtues of the vicious." is not by Jefferson. It was probably added by someone else. The source of the quote, with the words before and after, is as follows: "What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." --Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787. ME 6:373, Papers 12:356 The first sentence, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of tyrants and patriots." means that if liberty is to exist, there will forever be a struggle of free people with the forces of tyranny. And that means that the continued existence of liberty will be nurtured by the results of that struggle, namely the blood of the tyrants and also of the patriots as they stand up to the tyrants. It does not mean that the patriots are vicious or are terrorists like Timothy McVeigh. It only means that the patriots stand up for their rights and for their liberties, and this will frequently cause the tyrants to kill them.
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