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* The marginal references locate the beginning of the letter from which each selection is made or the volume and page upon which it can be found in “The Writings of Thomas Jefferson,” published by the Jefferson Memorial Association of Washington, D. C., which should be found in any public library.-[ED.



HOUGHTS which seize the heart and mind of men

or Nations, which lift them above the necessary

strife and sordid struggle of life and sweep them headlong into the accomplishment of some great public need; thoughts which fill a few scattered colonies with light and life, and spread with telling force into other lands and other worlds, driving kings of a thousand years from their thrones—these and all like them are the master thoughts of our time and race.

Thomas Jefferson is known as a leader in the thought of his age. His principles command the attention of every political school, and it is necessary that all should have ready access to them. Thanks and recognition are due to The Jefferson Memorial Association and all others who have aided in gathering together his letters and papers. For it was upon these that Mr. Jefferson relied for the perpetuation of his ideals. In our days of concentrated effort, it is not possible for the average man to wade through twenty volumes of detail and routine correspondence.

To meet this need, the following selections, given in his own language, arranged and classified for ready reference, and taken impartially from some ten thousand pages of documents and letters, are respectfully submitted. It is my belief that among them will be found for each reader some stirring call to arms, some bugle blast of thought, which will lead to renewed exertion, higher ideals, and more earnest service. It is my hope that through them

there will come a deeper and better understanding of a man whose entire life was devoted to the disinterested service of his people, and who is to-day recognized as the apostle and advocate of the rights of the mass of the people as against the special interests of the few. And with this introduction I submit for your thought and consideration, this edition of the

“Master Thoughts of Thomas Jefferson.”


New York, May 15, 1907.



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N OUR part

we are depending on Truth to make itself known

my letters (all preserved) will furnish the daily occurrences and views.

· These will command more conviction than anything I could have written, after my retirement, no day having

ever passed without a letter to somebody; written, 15. 420. too, in the moment and in the warmth and fresh

ness of fact and feeling, they will carry internal evidence that what they breathe is genuine.


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