Look at his own words, and judge for yourself.
A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.
When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.
Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.
Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.
To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.
I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.
He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and error.
Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.
On matters of style, swim with the current; on matters of principle, stand like a rock.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.
Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both. We are destined to be a barrier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism. Old Europe will have to lean on our shoulders, and to hobble along by our side, under the monkish trammels of priests and kings, as she can. What a Colossus shall we be when the Southern continent comes up to our mark! What a stand will it secure as a ralliance for the reason & freedom of the globe! I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. So good night. I will dream on, always fancying that Mrs. Adams and yourself are by my side marking the progress and the obliquities of ages and countries. (Letter to John Adams)
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