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Friday, April 26, 2013

Monticello Answers

Been trying to track down this alleged Jefferson quotation:

In a free society with a government based on reason, it is inevitable that there will be no uniform opinion about important issues. Those accustomed to suppression and control by governmental authority see this as leading only to chaos. But a government of the people requires difference of opinion in order to discover truth and to take advantage of the opportunity that only understanding brings.

Anna Berkes, Monticello Research Librarian, replied to my queries:

This is actually a description of a selection of Jefferson quotes, written by Eyler Robert Coates, Sr. Coates did a compilation of quotes on "Jefferson on Politics & Government," arranging the quotes by category. On each category page he did a little summary at the top - these are often mistaken for Jefferson quotes themselves.

Hah, I was right that it's not an actual TJ observation, though it does nicely capture the spirit of his writings on differences of opinion.  Mystery solved!


April 26, 2013 | Permalink


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