What's the source for Jefferson's quote: "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he..."?

Many people repeat the quote "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so", ostensibly by Thomas Jefferson, but I have not found a source for it...I need to know where/when he said it, so I can cite it in a daily quotation.

Update:

I need WHERE AND WHEN Jefferson said/wrote it, not simply a link to someone repeating the quote with no citation at all.

So a link to liberty quotes, who attribute it only to "Thomas Jefferson", not the name and date of the book, speech, or whatever, does me no good.

7 Answers

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  • MT
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There are about 89,000 different sources for this. You can use this one to start:

    http://simple.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson#...

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    • Rycan3 years agoReport

      Seems like a paraphrased version of Martin Luther King Jr's quote; "One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws." Or is that one fake, too? haha

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  • 6 years ago

    That and others are listed under Monticello site "spurious quotes" Jefferson is so often misquoted, Jefferson historians started correcting them.

    "Comments: This quotation has not been found in Thomas Jefferson's papers. It has been suggested that it is a paraphrase of Jefferson's statement in the Declaration of Independence, "...whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government...," although such a paraphrase would seem to be taking some radical liberties with the original version. The quotation bears a much closer resemblance to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s comment in his famous letter from Birmingham Jail: "One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."[1]

    Ironic that it's closer to MLK's quote considering Jefferson was a large slaveowner.

    By the way wikiquote is incorrect (like many others). Their source is a dead link

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    • MeadeBaron4 years agoReport

      All you are doing is repeating online anti-Jefferson drivel...without having any real understanding of the genius of one of the primary architects of the American Republic. Try reading more books from libraries.

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  • Sarah
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site https://shorturl.im/aykvu

    I think no. Everyone has their own idea of what is "unjust". As can be seen by some of the posts here at R&S, some people's ideas of "unjust" are a little far from centre field. To imply that there is a moral responsibility to flout the law - whatever that law may be - is dangerous given this disparity in opinion. Laws are not immutable. They can be changed, and I think it is the moral resopnsibility of society to lobby and thrive for change in our unjust laws. I think that this is a healthier and more positive way to address injustice. I really like the question.

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  • 5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    What's the source for Jefferson's quote: "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he..."?

    Many people repeat the quote "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so", ostensibly by Thomas Jefferson, but I have not found a source for it...I need to know where/when he said it, so I can cite it in a daily quotation.

    Source(s): 39 source jefferson 39 quote quot law unjust man disobey quot: https://tr.im/TCEg2
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  • 4 years ago

    This sounds so much like Jefferson...the primary author of The Declaration of Independence...why do people work so hard to try to diminish the founding father of the American Republic's genius?

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  • 3 years ago

    If A Law Is Unjust

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  • Hanna
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Any law that does not pass constitutional muster is unjust,and it's every patriot's duty to see that the injustice is undone.

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