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When governments fear the people, there is liberty…(Quotation)
From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia
“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.

1.”When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

2.”Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When the people fear the government, tyranny has found victory. The federal government is our servant, not our master!”

3.“When the people fear the government, that’s tyranny; when the government fears the people, that’s freedom.”

Sources consulted: Searching on the phrase “fear the people,” “government fear us,” “fear the government,” “tyranny has found victory,” and “government is our servant”

1.Papers of Thomas Jefferson Digital Edition
2.Monticello website
3.Ford’s Works of Thomas Jefferson
4.UVA EText Jefferson Digital Archive: Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, Thomas Jefferson on Politics and Government, Texts by or to Thomas Jefferson from the Modern English Collection
5.Thomas Jefferson Retirement Papers
6.Quotable Jefferson, ed. Kaminski (searching under “tyranny”)

Earliest known appearance in print: 1914[1] [2]
Earliest known appearance in print, attributed to Thomas Jefferson: 1994[3]
Other attributions:
Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine
We have not found any evidence that Thomas Jefferson said or wrote, “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny,” or any of its listed variations.
One source attributes this quotation to Thomas Jefferson in The Federalist.[4] The Federalist, however, was the work of Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison; it also does not contain the text of this quotation.
This quotation is vaguely similar to Jefferson’s comment in an 1825 letter to William Short:
“Some are whigs, liberals, democrats, call them what you please. Others are tories, serviles, aristocrats, &c. The latter fear the people, and wish to transfer all power to the higher classes of society; the former consider the people as the safest depository of power in the last resort; they cherish them therefore, and wish to leave in them all the powers to the exercise of which they are competent.”[5]

To date however, the most likely source of this quotation appears to be a series of debates on socialism published in 1914, in which John Basil Barnhill said,
“Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.”

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