Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington

under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I do not exaggerate. this is a true picture of Europe. cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. if once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you & I, & Congress, & Assemblies, judges & governors shall all become wolves. it seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.

PrC (DLC). Published in PTJ, 11:48–50.
Date Range
January 16, 1787
Quote Category