Thomas Jefferson Quotes

Having always observed that public works are much less advantageously managed than the same are by private hands, I have thought it better for the public to go to market for whatever it wants which is to be found there; for there competition brings it down to the minimum of value. I have no doubt we can buy brass cannon at market cheaper than we could make iron ones.

The debate over whether the government ought to buy what it needs in the marketplace is as old as our country. Despite men like Jefferson having been strong advocates for market purchases of goods and services for government, there is even by the 21st century a marked tendency to have government actually do the needed work and create the needed merchandise. Even when the private sector is used, the market is avoided by sole source, non-competitive contracts and in the case of military research the National Laboratories were created which are means of avoiding the competitive marketplace and have the work done by entities that are Federal proxies.

Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, 3rd President of the United States (Democratic Republican, VA), Letter to William B. Bibb, 1808

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Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
  • Born: April 13, 1743
  • Died: July 4, 1826
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: President

Thomas Jefferson was a statesman, diplomat, architect, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had been elected the second vice president of the United States, serving under John Adams from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

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