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Correction to quote: "A Government big enough ...."

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  • Correction to quote: "A Government big enough ...."

    Many of you have probably noticed the quote attributed to Jefferson in my signature, it read like this:

    "A government big enough to give you everything you want,
    is strong enough to take everything you have." - Thomas Jefferson
    3rd President, Jan 20, 1777 to Jan 20, 1781

    I first saw it in an email sent to me by a friend a year or so ago. I thought it was very astute and it certainly sounded like something Jefferson might say so I copied it into my signature line here on the RIDGID Forum.

    However, it has been brought to my attention by an observant member (SlimTim) that the dates in the quote which were supposedly those during which Jefferson was in office as President were not correct. I must say I never thought about the dates when I first saw it and never verified the quote as one of Jeffersons' either for that matter.

    So yesterday evening Tim sent me a PM and asked about the dates (which I read this morning) I did a little research and found that the quote did originate with a president, but it was the 38th president Gerald Ford, not Thomas Jefferson our 3rd President. I have corrected my signature line accordingly and I have made this post so that you will all understand why and know the truth. Apparently the quote has also been misattributed to other Presidents as you can see below.

    Again, sorry for the confusion and my thanks to Tim for questioning the dates which led me to uncover the rest of the story.

    Thanks Tim, never stop questioning. And sorry for anyone who may have been misled by the inaccuracy of the quote as it had appeared in my signature line prior to today.

    And last but not least, my apologies to former President Ford.

    Bob D.


    1) Gerald Ford (14 July 1913 – 26 December 2006) , the 38th President of the United States.
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
    Presidential address to a joint session of Congress (12 August 1974)
    Ford has also been quoted as having made a similar statement many years earlier, as a representative to the US Congress: "If the government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away everything you have."
    "If Elected, I Promise…" : Stories and Gems of Wisdom by and About Politicians (1960) p. 193"
    Source:
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Gerald_Ford

    2) Misattributed to Thomas Jefferson:
    "Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have ... The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.
    Commonly quoted on many websites, this quotation is actually from Gerald Ford's August 12th, 1974 address to Congress."
    Source:
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson

    3) Misattributed to Barry Goldwater:
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
    Gerald Ford in a Presidential address to a joint session of Congress (12 August 1974)
    Ford has also been quoted as having made a similar statement many years earlier, as a representative to the US Congress: "If the government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away everything you have."
    "If Elected, I Promise…" : Stories and Gems of Wisdom by and About Politicians (1960) p. 193
    Unsourced variants attributed to Goldwater include:
    A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.
    Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.
    This quote has also been attributed to Davy Crockett and is consistent with his very-limited-government philosophy. "
    Source:
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Barry_Goldwater

    4) Misattributed to Ronald Reagan:
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
    Actually said by Gerald Ford, this is also sometimes attributed to Barry Goldwater. Paraphrased variant: A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take everything you have."
    Source:
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ronald_Reagan
    ---------------
    Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
    ---------------
    “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
    ---------
    "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
    ---------
    sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

  • #2
    Re: Correction to quote: "A Government big enough ...."

    Thanks for the correction.

    A great quote.

    It would be great if the republicans and the democrats would stop growing the government.

    Lenny

    Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

    I know, it doesn't make sense.


    http://www.hebertdraincare.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Correction to quote: "A Government big enough ...."

      Unless you happen to own a private army larger than that of China, the US, pre-breakup Soviet Union, or the EU, a government big enough to do the absolute bare minimum (i.e. protect you from invasion by foreign enemies) is big enough to take everything you have. So what?

      All I ask is a government big enough to force multinational corporations to obey the law, and representative enough to not allow them to write the law. With them out of the way, foreign countries are a relative cinch.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Correction to quote: "A Government big enough ...."

        Don't feel so bad. Steven Hawkings once disproved one of his own theories a few years ago, inspite of that same theory held on it's own for the last twenty years.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Correction to quote: "A Government big enough ...."

          Bob, I do not doubt the veracity of your post, but can't say I trust the veracity of anything from a website that is preceded by Wiki. Although 10 million people may believe it is so does not make it true.

          Quite possibly, Jefferson said it, and Gerald Ford was co-opting his quote, but without researching the Library of Congress or the Smithsonian, it would be hard to verify. Gerald Ford was a learned man, so quite possibly he got the gist or the actual words from some of his readings.

          That said, you are an honest man, and I salute your intentions to rectify an honest error. The words still carry a poignant meaning, regardless of the original source.

          JMTCW

          Go
          Last edited by Gofor; 10-25-2010, 09:33 PM.
          Practicing at practical wood working

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Correction to quote: "A Government big enough ...."

            Actually this quote originated with Davey Crockett in a speech given in 1834.

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