Thomas Jefferson


Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, was the place where Jefferson was involved with the continuing education of his children and grandchildren. He encouraged them to keep a strict schedule of reading and studying.

As a father figure, Jefferson devised a list of familiar sayings or rules that regulated his life and the life of those around him. These Canons of Conduct or “Americanisms” have been passed down through generations.

  • Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.
  • Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
  • Never spend money before you have earned it.
  • Never buy what you don’t want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
  • Pride costs more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
  • We seldom repent of having eaten too little.
  • Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
  • How much pain the evils cost us that never happened.
  • Take things always by the smooth handle.
  • When angry, count to ten before you speak; if very angry, count one hundred.

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