Jefferson: A difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.


Bill4DogCatcher sez: Isn’t it strange how “we the people” doesn’t include “them”. And “them” usually are those that don’t agree with “us”. Thomas Jefferson when challenged as to being unprincipled — imagine that — responded “But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.”

“Difference of opinion leads to enquiry, and enquiry to truth; and that, I am sure, is the ultimate and sincere object of us both. We both value too much the freedom of opinion sanctioned by our Constitution, not to cherish its exercise even where in opposition to ourselves.” –Thomas Jefferson to P. H. Wendover, 1815. ME 14:283

“Nothing but good can result from an exchange of information and opinions between those whose circumstances and morals admit no doubt of the integrity of their views.” –Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1797. ME 9:385

“Truth between candid minds can never do harm.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1791. ME 8:212

“To those whose views are single and direct, it is a great comfort to have to do business with frank and honorable minds.” –Thomas Jefferson to Valentine de Foronda, 1809. ME 12:319

“Men, according to their constitutions and the circumstances in which they are placed, differ honestly in opinion. Some are whigs, liberals, democrats, call them what you please. Others are tories, serviles, aristocrats, etc.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 1825. ME 16:96

“In every country where man is free to think and to speak, differences of opinion will arise from difference of perception, and the imperfection of reason; but these differences when permitted, as in this happy country, to purify themselves by free discussion, are but as passing clouds overspreading our land transiently and leaving our horizon more bright and serene.” –Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Waring, 1801. ME 10:235

“I am myself an empiric in natural philosophy, suffering my faith to go no further than my facts. I am pleased, however, to see the efforts of hypothetical speculation, because by the collisions of different hypotheses, truth may be elicited and science advanced in the end.” –Thomas Jefferson to George P. Hopkins, 1822. ME 15:394

Source of quotes: University of Virginia, http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff0750.htmWARNING: lots of folks like to quote Jefferson, and some help him by creating new quotes. The University of Virginia serves as a repository of Jefferson works and should always be your starting point for learning more about Thomas Jefferson.

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One response to “Jefferson: A difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.

  1. Sweet. Jefferson and Adams are my heroes… and they disagreed on damn near everything!

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