Thomas Jefferson would have been 273 this week if he were still alive. As founding fathers go he was a renaissance man. Despite the claims of real estate prowess in certain presidential candidates of today, Jefferson really understood the art of the deal, making the largest real estate deal in America to date, the Louisiana Purchase.
He was also a skilled architect with his lasting designs for the University of Virginia still standing today. Oh and by the way, he founded that school. Jefferson was not without controversy as one who owned hundreds of slaves, but for the time most historians consider him progressive. He championed legislation to stop the slave trade and emancipated several of his own. He was a prolific writer, respected statesman and an inventor who was often credited with inventing the swivel chair.
Here are some of the more profound and inspiring statements from our third President.
1. "Power is not alluring to pure minds."
2. "Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong."
3. "I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way."
4. "Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far."
5. "It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness."
6. "Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing."
7. "Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail."
8. "Don't talk about what you have done or what you are going to do."
9. "It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong."
10. "Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning."
11. "When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred."
12. "Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits."
13. "Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."
14. "Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you."
15. "I cannot live without books."
16. "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."
17. "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."
18. "He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors."
19. "My theory has always been, that if we are to dream, the flatteries of hope are as cheap, and pleasanter, than the gloom of despair."
20. "If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done."
21. "I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another."