He may have believed something similar, but Jefferson did not say this:
I’m not sure who originated the poster. They probably had good intentions.
But turn to the Monticello website, the scholars who track Jefferson’s words most closely, in February 2012.
Quotation: “The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”
- Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Digital Edition
- Thomas Jefferson: Papers collection in Hathi Trust Digital Library
- Retirement Papers
Earliest known appearance in print: 19941
Earliest known appearance in print, attributed to Thomas Jefferson: see above
Status: This exact quotation has not been found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson. It may be a mistaken amalgamation of the author’s comments in the above 1994 reference with a real Jefferson quotation. Jefferson wrote in 1825 to William Branch Giles of “vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of ’76 now look to a single and splendid government of an Aristocracy, founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry.”2 Chomsky’s 1994 book quotes Jefferson’s 1825 letter to Giles and then comments that “[Jefferson] warned that that would be the end of democracy and the defeat of the American revolution.”
- 1. Noam Chomsky, Keeping the Rabble in Line: Interviews with David Barsamian (Monroe, Me.: Common Courage Press, 1994), 245.
- 2.Jefferson to William Branch Giles, December 26, 1825.
Jefferson didn’t like the idea of the marriage of banks, rich people and control of government policy. Jefferson scholar Anna Berkes commented at the Monticello site:
Yes, I’ve quoted this letter myself above – I’m seeing that quote a lot lately. The full sentence as it appeared in Jefferson’s letter is, “I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in it’s birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and to bid defiance to the laws of their country.” The letter was first published in Ford’s Writings of Thomas Jefferson in 1892 (see http://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc2.ark:/13960/t3pv6bn68?urlappend=%3Bseq=93 – the edition you link to is a 1904 commemorative edition of Ford), and the polygraph copy is also online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mtj.mtjbib022651.
February 29, 2012 – 4:24pm
In any case, it’s not the end of our democratic republic yet! Get out there and organize, and vote.
Jefferson always offered good advice.