A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 28, 2021
“Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry”

"Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry” is a saying that has been printed on many images. It has been credited to American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), but he never said it.

The quotation has been cited in print since at least 2005. Monticello.org (a website about Thomas Jefferson) identified the quotation as spurious on March 17, 2009.

“Tyranny is that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry”—without “defined as”—was posted on Twitter by Carey Shenkman on December 30, 2013. “Jefferson: Tyranny is that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry” was posted on Twitter by Archibald Tuttle on August 20, 2014. “Tyranny is that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry” was posted on Twitter by conspiracybot on December 28, 2021.


Monticello.org
Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government (Spurious Quotation)
Quotation: “Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.”
(...)
Status: This quotation has not been found in any of the writings of Thomas Jefferson.
- Anna Berkes, 3/17/09

Google Groups: provensearchsubmissionsystem
business ebay own starting
johnst...@yahoo.com.sg
Oct 20, 2005, 5:08:53 PM
(...)
Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry. - Thomas Jefferson

Cato at Liberty
JULY 12, 2006 10:01AM
“Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.”
By Radley Balko
That quote, commonly attributed to Thomas Jefferson, comes to mind when contemplating yesterday’s vote in Congress to ban Internet gambling.

Newspapers.com
3 October 2006, The Signal (Santa Clarita, CA), “Defend America! Fire the Republicans” by Bruce McFarland, pg. A5, col. 2:
“Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.” (Thomas Jefferson).

Twitter
⚡ FingerCramp ⚡
@LibertarianMike
Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.—Thomas Jefferson
3:10 PM · Mar 30, 2009·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Carey Shenkman
@CareyShenkman
@ioerror crucial talk at #30c3 “Tyranny is that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.” http://youtube.com/watch?v=b0w36GAyZIA
1:39 PM · Dec 30, 2013·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Archibald Tuttle
@DeadPrecariat
Replying to @andThisAndThat
@OverAndAround You argue for a double standard. Jefferson: Tyranny is that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.
2:47 PM · Aug 20, 2014·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
John Stossel
@JohnStossel
Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.
- Thomas Jefferson
3:30 AM · Jun 5, 2016·TweetDeck

Twitter
Ahmed Baba
@AhmedBaba_
Hakeem Jeffries really captures what this all boils down to by quoting Thomas Jefferson:
“Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.”
5:02 PM · Jan 30, 2020·TweetDeck

Twitter
conspiracybot
@conspiracyb0t
Tyranny is that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.
5:16 PM · Dec 28, 2021·conspiracyb0t

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • Tuesday, December 28, 2021 • Permalink