Thomas Jefferson Quote: Matters of Principle

Thomas Jefferson Quote

Our founding fathers uttered a lot of timeless words of wisdom, as illustrated by this Thomas Jefferson quote. He advised, “In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

President Thomas Jefferson coloring page

Swimming with the current means not making waves. Being willing to compromise or acquiesce in matters of taste or opinion. Choosing to go along to get along in areas that aren’t really that important.

But standing like a rock means remaining immoveable. Standing firmly upon the truth, even when it’s unpopular to do so. Doing what is right, no matter who may oppose you. Not budging an inch on the things that truly matter.

The trick comes in discerning which is which.

Sadly, a lot of folks get Jefferson’s advice completely turned around these days. They’re happy to swim against the current in the way they dress or style their hair. They’ll cling doggedly to their opinions about diet and exercise or music and movies and will vilify anyone who dares disagree with them.

But in weightier matters of principle, they’ll jump eagerly on the groupthink bandwagon, no matter how far afield it may be heading. It’s like a church that tolerates all kinds of heresy being preached from the pulpit, then breaks fellowship over the color of carpet chosen for the new auditorium.

That is completely backwards. And it has to end.

But that can’t happen until people learn to know and recognize the truth. And that knowledge ultimately comes through Christ and Christ alone, who proclaimed, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

More American Heritage Printables

Want more fun printables for folks who love America and long for it to be great again? You can browse through all of our past patriotic posts by following this link: American Heritage Printables. And for more great quotes from our past commanders-in-chief, check out this President’s Day post.

Or maybe you’d prefer a bound volume. If so, check out my devotional journals. The one in the center of the lineup below, God Bless America, was made just for patriotic citizens like you.

God Bless America Devotional Journal Lineup

Packed with inspiring thoughts from our founding fathers and other great Americans, this journal will inspire you to think deeply about what it means to be a citizen of this great country. What is our responsibility to the rest of the world? How do we ensure the guiding principles on which our nation was established are never forgotten? Consider how you feel about these matters and use the space provided to write down your thoughts.

God Bless America

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  1. Dear Jennifer,
    Thank you for that amazing insight and perspective! I agree with you 100%. I do not and can not understand why people are so intent on erasing our history. It makes me so sad! I tell our children quite frequently that sometimes you learn from people what TO DO and sometimes you learn what NOT to do. Either way we can always learn!! Thank you for your website, perspective and your stand for Christ!

  2. I’m unsubscribing. If you think a quote like that from Jefferson who talked about his 4 percent profit on slavery and had young boys ages 10-12 whipped to get them to work is something anyone should print than I can not support your work. I can no longer passively sit nor participate in actions or activites that were based in such an unethical terrible time in our country.

    1. Thanks for letting me know, Sandy. I think slavery was one instance where Jefferson (and many others of his day) “swam with the current” when they should’ve “stood like a rock” on the truth that God created all men (and women) equal, no matter the color of their skin, and that every person should therefore be treated with dignity and respect.

      Unfortunately, if we erase the history of every man who ever demonstrated any kind of flaw, we will be left with nothing left to study.

      Even in the Bible, some of our greatest heroes of faith fell short in pretty significant areas: Adam and Eve disobeyed in the garden, Moses killed a man, David committed adultery, Peter denied the Lord, Saul persecuted the church. The only sinless person who ever lived was the Lord Jesus Christ, but even the gospel accounts of his perfect life were written by imperfect men and tell the story of Christ’s interactions with imperfect men. So if you cancel every word ever uttered by anybody who was not 100% consistent in their reasoning or 100% faithful in living out their beliefs, you’ll have to cancel much of Scripture, too.

      Which brings me back to Jefferson. Did you know that’s exactly what he did? He cancelled every verse of Scripture with which he disagreed. Cut them clean out of his Bible. I can’t help but wonder if, instead of picking and choosing the parts he liked, he had studied Scripture in its entirety, believed it, and prayed that God would give him the grace to live by it, then maybe he would’ve more readily recognized the fact that slavery was not a matter of taste, but a matter of principle and might’ve come down on the right side (by which I mean God’s side) of history on this issue.

      We’d love to have you back if ever you change your mind about unsubscribing, Sandy. Until then, I wish you all the best!

      1. Beautiful response! Extremely well said! I am proud of you! May God ever bless you and your family! Thank you for helping me homeschool by offering free printables!?✝️??⛪️?❤️

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