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14 Viral Quotes That Thomas Jefferson Never Said


It is a comforting thought that the insights of the previous can ferry us by the trials of the current. We look to well-known, beloved leaders for recommendation, whether or not it’s Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, or Walt Disney. We seek for them on Google. What we discover, nevertheless, isn’t a pile of pearls of knowledge however a heap of trash. Fakes abound, preying on our willingness to consider. And on-line hucksters seeking straightforward clicks and likes love nothing greater than a previous president, particularly a Founding Father. Few individuals have extra pretend quotes attributed to them on the web than Thomas Jefferson. And as we speak, we’re having a look at among the hottest ones.

No, Jefferson by no means mentioned “facts are stubborn things.” No, he by no means mentioned, “when tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.” And the third President of the United States of America undoubtedly didn’t say, “a democracy is nothing more than mob rule.”

We’ve obtained 14 quotes that you will have seen floating round on the web lately, all credited to one of many Constitution’s principal authors. Some have even been regurgitated by Republican politicians like Reps. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio. But they’re all pretend.

Fake Jefferson on Banks

Thomas Jefferson painted by Gilbert Stuart, oil on panel, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.  (Image: Corbis, Getty Images)Thomas Jefferson painted by Gilbert Stuart, oil on panel, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. (Image: Corbis, Getty Images)

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [these banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

This quote has lately been going viral within the crypto group and has been common at locations like Forbes through the years. But it’s not an actual Jefferson quote.

The supply of the quote is usually cited to a 1802 letter from Jefferson to Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, however Jefferson by no means wrote such a letter, in response to the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopaedia. Part of the quote appears thus far again to a newspaper article in 1933, and it wasn’t credited to Jefferson.

Fake Jefferson on Facts

“It was Thomas Jefferson that said facts are stubborn things,” Republican congressman Madison Cawthorn mentioned throughout a speech within the U.S. House final summer time.

Cawthorn, a far-right bigot and all-around horrible individual, was possibly complicated Jefferson with John Adams, who did apparently use the phrase “facts are stubborn things,” in 1770, in response to Quote Investigator. But Adams was removed from the primary individual to say it.

The phrase dates again to at the very least 1731, as Quote Investigator factors out, when Bernard Mandeville revealed the ebook, An Enquiry into the Origin of Honour, and the Usefulness of Christianity in War.

Fake Jefferson on Remaining Silent

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The Canadian trucker’s convoy, which was protesting covid-19 vaccines in essentially the most obnoxious approach attainable this previous winter, launched a “Memorandum of Understanding” that opens with a Jefferson quote.

“All that tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent,” the imagined Jefferson mentioned.

The drawback, after all, is that Jefferson by no means mentioned it. As identified by the actual fact checkers at Monticello, Jefferson’s dwelling that’s now a museum about his life and work, the quote is extra typically attributed to Edmund Burke, however there’s no strong proof that he mentioned it both. It’s admittedly an excellent quote, but it surely’s not a Jefferson quote.

Fake Jefferson on Big Government

Thomas Jefferson drafting Declaration of Independence; painting by N.C. Wyeth. (Image: Bettmann, Getty Images)Thomas Jefferson drafting Declaration of Independence; portray by N.C. Wyeth. (Image: Bettmann, Getty Images)

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have,” Jefferson mentioned — supposedly, however not likely.

The far-right faculty advocacy group Turning Point USA lately tweeted a photograph that reveals the weirdos over there are placing the quote on flyers. But it’s not like we’d anticipate higher from a school group that wears diapers to personal the libs.

Fake Jefferson on Liars

Screenshot: TwitterScreenshot: Twitter

Have you seen that Jefferson quote about liars in authorities? Turns out, the one individuals mendacity are these spreading the quote on the web.

“The government will one day be corrupt and filled with liars, and the people will flock to the one that tells the truth,” Ryan Fournier, the chairman of Students for Trump, tweeted again in 2017.

Trump supporters turned keen on this quote, supposedly displaying Jefferson had some sort of psychic prediction {that a} determine like Trump would emerge. As Politifact factors out, there’s completely no proof the quote was ever uttered by Jefferson, however that hasn’t stopped it from spreading like wildfire on Facebook. It’s not clear who initially mentioned it, or if anybody of consequence ever did.

Fake Jefferson on the Free Press

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota: The head of Washington and Jefferson from  the top of Lincoln's head. Undated photograph circa 1940s. (Photo: Bettmann, Getty Images)Mount Rushmore, South Dakota: The head of Washington and Jefferson from the highest of Lincoln’s head. Undated {photograph} circa Nineteen Forties. (Photo: Bettmann, Getty Images)

“When the speech condemns a free press, you are hearing the words of a tyrant,” CNN Espanol columnist Geovanny Vicente-Romero tweeted about Donald Trump.

And, sure, the quote feels like a truism. But Jefferson by no means mentioned it. Snopes notes that the quote first appeared on-line in February 2017, making this a really contemporary invention.

Fake Jefferson on Tyranny

“Jefferson said once tyranny is when the people fear the government. Sadly, we’re there,” Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of mentioned on October 21, 2021 throughout a listening to with Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The full quote is extra typically learn as “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny,” however even that isn’t one thing Jefferson mentioned, in accordance the actual fact checkers at Monticello. In truth, the earliest identified place this quote has been discovered is 1914, fairly some time after Jefferson died in 1826.

What sort of tyranny was Jordan speaking about throughout this listening to? Moderate degree public well being measures to maintain individuals alive throughout a pandemic. Curiously, the Ohio Republican additionally referred to the “Great Awakening,” a phrase utilized by QAnon conspiracy theorists.

Fake Jefferson on the Second Amendment

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“The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it away,” a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson typically reads.

The quote pops up on social media websites like Pinterest continually, which looks like a wierd place for individuals to speak about making an attempt to overthrow the U.S. authorities with their private firearms. But it is smart that this quote could be common on-line; it appears to have originated within the web period.

The oldest identified use of this quote is within the 2007 quick ebook On A Hill They Call Capital: A Revolution Is Coming by Matt Carson. The ebook is a novel, so maybe it may be forgiven for manufacturing a pretend Jefferson quote, however the quote doesn’t even make sense on its face. No marvel the ebook has some fairly horrible critiques on Amazon.

Fake Jefferson on Democracy

Aquatint portrait by Michal Sokolnicki after painting ca. 1799 by Tadeusz Kosciuszko. (Image: Corbis, Getty Images)Aquatint portrait by Michal Sokolnicki after portray ca. 1799 by Tadeusz Kosciuszko. (Image: Corbis, Getty Images)

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51 per cent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49,” Thomas Jefferson supposedly mentioned, in what’s arguably essentially the most fascist quote on our record. Thankfully, he by no means did say it.

The quote, lately tweeted by conservative web radio host Ben Bradshaw, appears thus far again to 2004, in response to the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopaedia.

It’s fascist nonsense to name democracy mob rule, however mobs have, it is perhaps mentioned, grow to be a tactic permitted, and even authorised of, by the Republican Party.

Fake Jefferson on the Constitution

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“The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the constitution,” the Conservative Coalition of North Carolina mentioned, in a quote posted to Facebook and attributed to the third president.

As USA Today factors out, the earliest identified use of this quote in print is from a 2015 ebook referred to as The Phantom of the Hungry Hollow by D.H. Reid and Ginger Reid-Parker, however on-line situations of it go way back to 2004.

Fake Jefferson on Rebellion

Screenshot: TwitterScreenshot: Twitter

Dr. Kelli Ward, the pinnacle of the Republican Party in Arizona, tweeted a picture with the quote, “When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.” But Jefferson by no means made that quip.

Fact checkers have discovered the quote attributed to Jefferson all through the twentieth century, typically utilizing “injustice” rather than the phrase “tyranny.” But it doesn’t appear to look anyplace sooner than that. Given that Jefferson died within the nineteenth century, it’s extraordinarily unlikely he mentioned this until he invented time journey. And if that’s the case we’ve obtained a completely new drawback to confront that makes pretend quotes on the web a really minor concern.

Fake Jefferson on Work

Oil painting of Thomas Jefferson by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) (Image: Corbis, Getty Images)Oil portray of Thomas Jefferson by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) (Image: Corbis, Getty Images)

“The Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those that are willing to work, and give to those who would not,” the Facebook group Save Southern Heritage and History posted. But, as you possibly can guess by now, Jefferson by no means uttered this phrase.

As USA Today factors out, Jefferson did say write one thing related in spirit, if solely as a result of he was translating an financial textual content from French to English:

To take from one, as a result of it’s thought that his personal business and that of his fathers has acquired an excessive amount of, with a purpose to spare to others, who, or whose fathers haven’t exercised equal business and ability, is to violate arbitrarily the primary precept of affiliation — the assure to each one in every of a free train of his business, & the fruits acquired by it.

It definitely sounds totally different whenever you study the actual quote. And even then, you possibly can’t say that it’s Jefferson’s thought. He merely translated it 1816 from Antoine Destutt de Tracy’s Treatise on Political Economy.

Fake Jefferson on Style vs Principle

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“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock,” Jefferson supposedly mentioned.

Eric Brakey, the spokesperson for the group Young Americans For Liberty and a former state senator in Maine, tweeted this pretend Jefferson quote on the anniversary of the January 6 riot. But Jefferson by no means mentioned it.

This quote dates again to the late nineteenth century however was sometimes called an

“old adage,” in response to the Jefferson fact-checkers at Monticello. Sometime round 1973, individuals began attributing the quote to Jefferson, and the remaining is latest historical past.

Fake Jefferson on Courage

Rudulph Evans's statue of Thomas Jefferson with excerpts of the  Declaration of Independence seen behind, Thomas Jefferson Memorial,  Washington, D.C., USA, March 1985.  (Photo: Barbara Alper, Getty Images)Rudulph Evans’s statue of Thomas Jefferson with excerpts of the Declaration of Independence seen behind, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C., USA, March 1985. (Photo: Barbara Alper, Getty Images)

“One man with courage is a majority,” is a pithy quote typically attributed to Thomas Jefferson. But he by no means wrote these phrases, in response to the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopaedia.

This quote is most frequently attributed to Andrew Jackson, however that’s additionally incorrect. The seventh president didn’t say it both, in response to an skilled on Jackson writing in 2007 for the Los Angeles Times.





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