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Fact check: ‘Freedom is lost gradually’ quote misattributed to Thomas Jefferson 

Social media users have been sharing a quote about freedom online and attributing it to Thomas Jefferson. This quote, however, does not belong to the third President of the United States.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Examples can be seen  here  ,  here  and  here  . 

The quote reads: “Freedom is lost gradually from uninterested, uninformed and uninvolved people – Thomas Jefferson”.

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation provides a list of spurious quotations attributed to Jefferson on its website Monticello.org,  here  . Among these falsely attributed or fabricated quotes is the one circulating on Facebook.  

Anna Berkes, a research librarian at the Jefferson Library and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, confirmed to Reuters via email that the quote was not written by Jefferson. On Monticello.org, Berkes said the quote “appeared online at least as early as 2011” and “was first attributed to Jefferson in January 2012 on Twitter”. (here

The quote also does not exist in the National Archives database, which includes thousands of records from the founding fathers  here  .  

Fact checkers USA Today, PolitiFact, FactCheck.org and others have debunked various other quotes misattributed to Jefferson  here  ,  herehere  and  here  . 

VERDICT

False. Thomas Jefferson is not recorded to have ever said “Freedom is lost gradually from uninterested, uninformed and uninvolved people”.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .          

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