Canons of Conduct – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father of the United States, our country’s 3rd President, and the writer of the first draft of the ‘Declaration of Independence’ always took the opportunity to advise his children, grandchildren, and others on matters of personal conduct.

Over the years, Jefferson developed a list of axioms and moral truisms for personal behavior.  Some these are original from Jefferson himself, and others he derived from classical or literary sources – including Benjamin Franklin.

Here are Thomas Jefferson’s “Canons of Conduct”:

  1. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
  2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
  3. Never spend your money before you have it.
  4. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will never be dear to you.
  5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
  6. Never repent of having eaten too little.
  7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
  8. Don’t let the evils that have never happened cost you pain.
  9. Always take things by their smooth handle.
  10. When angry, count to 10 before you speak; if very angry, count to 100.