War by Thomas JeffersonSubmitted by JeffD on Tue, 09/06/2011 - 14:29
"I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind."
"Whenever an appeal to force shall take place, I feel a perfect confidence that the energy and enterprise displayed by my fellow citizens in the pursuits of peace, will be equally eminent in those of war."
"How much better is it for neighbors to help than to hurt one another; how much happier must it make them. If you will cease to make war on one another, if you will live in friendship with all mankind, you can employ all your time in providing food and clothing for yourselves and your families. Your men will not be destroyed in war, your women and children will lie down to sleep in their cabins without fear of being surprised by their enemies and killed or carried away. Your numbers will be increased instead of diminished, and you will live in plenty and in quiet."—Address To Mandar Nation 1806
"To cherish and maintain the rights and liberties of our citizens, and to ward from them the burthens, the miseries, and the crimes of war, by a just and friendly conduct towards all nations * * * [are] among the most obvious and important duties of those to whom the management of their public interests * * * [are] confided."
"War is not the best engine for us to resort to; nature has given us one in our commerce, which, if properly managed, will be a better instrument for obliging the interested nations of Europe to treat us with justice."
* "We wish to avoid the necessity of going to war. till our revenue shall be entirely liberated from debt. Then it will suffice for war, without creating new debt or taxes."
"Never was so much false arithmetic employed on any subject, as that which has been employed to persuade nations that it is their interest to go to war. Were the money which it has cost to gain, at the close of a long war, a little town, or a little territory, the right to cut wood here, or to calch fish there, expended in improving what they already possess, in making roads, opening rivers, building ports, improving the arts, and finding employment for their idle poor, it would render them much stronger, much wealthier and happier. This I hope will be our wisdom."
"I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another."
"I think one war enough for the life of one man; and you and I have gone through one which at least may lessen our impatience to embark in another. Still, if it becomes necessary,we must meet it like men, old men indeed, but yet good for something."—To John Langdon 1808
"No country, perhaps, was ever so thoroughly against war as ours. These dispositions pervade every description of its citizens, whether in or out of office."
"The evils which of necessity encompass the life of man are sufficiently numerous. Why should we add to them by voluntarily distressing and destroying one another? Peace, brothers, is better than war. In a long and bloody war, we lose many friends and gain nothing."
"I do not believe war the most certain means of enforcing principles. Those peaceable coercions which are in the power of every nation, if undertaken in concert and in time of peace, are more likely to produce the desired effect."
"When peace becomes more losing than war, we may prefer the latter on principles of pecuniary calculation. But for us to attempt, by war, to reform all Europe, and bring them back to principles of morality, and a respect for the equal rights of nations, would show us to be only maniacs of another character."
** "Sound principles will not justify our taxing the industry of our fellow citizens to accumulate treasure for wars to happen we know not when, and which might not perhaps happen but from the temptations offered by that treasure."
"It is our duty still to endeavor to avoid war; but if it shall actually take place, no matter by whom brought on, we must defend ourselves. If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it. In that, I have no doubt, we shall act as one man."
"The most successful war seldom pays for its losses."