Shit Dead People Didn’t Say Vol. 2 (The Jeffersonian Edition)

There’s a lot of bullshit quotes attributed to Jefferson and I think a volume should be dedicated to him alone.

 “Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%.”

The earliest source there is for this quote dates to 2004. In none of his writings or speeches was this ever included or referred to by secondary sources until the 21st century.

“That government is best which governs least”

While Jefferson did say things similar to this, this is not a quote of his. It’s a quote from Henry David Thoreau from his book Civil Disobedience.

 “Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.”

Again this quotation isn’t in any of his primary or secondary writings nor is there any evidence that he smoked anything, let alone hemp.

“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

 This quote is also attributed to Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine but there’s no evidence that this is a quote from Jefferson and wasn’t attributed to him until 1994.

Thanks to the Skeptical Libertarian for the inspiration for this post and to the Monticello for doing the footwork for this. To see more of the laundry list of fake Jefferson quotes check out the Monticello page here.


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