That government is best which governs least.
Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve
order in the world as well as property... Horrid mischief would ensue
were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial
appearance of being right.
A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation
in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always
An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks,
and all it wants is the liberty of appearing.
Character is much easier kept than recovered.
Every science has for its basis a system of principles as fixed
and unalterable as those by which the universe is regulated and
governed. Man cannot make principles; he can only discover them.
From such beginnings of governments, what could be expected, but
a continual system of war and extortion?
Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in
its worst state, an intolerable one.
He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his
enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes
a precedent that will reach himself.
Human nature is not of itself vicious.
I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious
duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to
make our fellow-creatures happy.
I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength
from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of
little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience
approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may
If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.
It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful
to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving,
it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.
It is not a field of a few acres of ground, but a cause, that we
are defending, and whether we defeat the enemy in one battle, or
by degrees, the consequences will be the same.
It is the direction and not the magnitude which is to be taken
Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle
is always a vice.
My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.
My mind is my own church.
Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated
Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what
God and angels know of us.
Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its
best stage, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable
That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.
The abilities of man must fall short on one side or the other,
like too scanty a blanket when you are abed. If you pull it upon
your shoulders, your feet are left bare; if you thrust it down to
your feet, your shoulders are uncovered.
The greatest remedy for anger is delay.
The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act.
A general association takes place, and common interest produces
The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason.
The Vatican is a dagger in the heart of Italy.
The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the
absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.
The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do
good is my religion.
There are two distinct classes of what are called thoughts: those
that we produce in ourselves by reflection and the act of thinking
and those that bolt into the mind of their own accord.
These are the times that try men's souls.
These are times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the
sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of
their country; but he that stands now, deserves the love and thanks
of man and woman.
Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men,
undergo the fatigue of supporting it.
Those who want to reap the benefits of this great nation must bear
the fatigue of supporting it.
Time makes more converts than reason.
Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart
is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue
his principles unto death.
Titles are but nicknames, and every nickname is a title.
To establish any mode to abolish war, however advantageous it might
be to Nations, would be to take from such Government the most lucrative
of its branches.
To say that any people are not fit for freedom, is to make poverty
their choice, and to say they had rather be loaded with taxes than
Virtues are acquired through endeavor, Which rests wholly upon
yourself. So, to praise others for their virtues Can but encourage
one's own efforts.
We can only reason from what is; we can reason on actualities,
but not on possibilities.
We have it in our power to begin the world over again.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem to lightly.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness
only that gives everything its value.
When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of
liberty quits the horizon.
When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue
is not hereditary.
Quotes by Thomas Paine