Earliest attribution to Jefferson found so far - June 2, 1991 Boston Globe interview with Nadine Strossen: "And I do think that what Thomas Jefferson said is true, 'Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.' "
Abstract of a NY Times article from October 16, 1969: "[NY Mayor John] Lindsay calls demonstration highest form of patriotism".
An obituary of Dorothy Hewitt Hutchinson in the Nov. 11, 1984 Philadelphia Inquirer:
An author, lecturer and world traveler, Mrs. Hutchinson marched in protests and demonstrations and spoke from pulpits whenever and wherever she could in the cause of peace. For her efforts, she was frequently criticized.Lindgren comments: "Thus, it appears that these misguided politicians are quoting, not Jefferson, but Dorothy Hewitt Hutchinson, a strict pacifist who opposed World War II as immoral and who ignored dissent when it was directed toward herself and her ideas."
But none of her critics caused her to "budge one inch," she said. . . .
She dated much of her work by relating it to the growth of her children. As an example, she recalled to the day and hour when an anonymous note predicting that she would hang arrived early in World War II. It came, she said, while she was bathing her 3-month-old son.
But the note and other forms of criticism did not faze her. "Dissent from public policy can be the highest form of patriotism," she said in an interview in 1965. "I don't think democracy can survive without it, even though you may be crucified by it at times."
Mrs. Hutchinson noted that what critics said had little to do with what she did or thought.
"There's no misery in my life," she said. She wouldn't permit it. . . .
Mrs. Hutchinson took the plea for peace and freedom to the Kremlin, leading a 12-member delegation to Moscow and a tour of the Soviet Union in 1964. . . .
Mrs. Hutchinson led sit-ins and hunger strikes against the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission; protests at the White House against the Vietnam War, and demonstrations on behalf of a nuclear freeze.