Founders Quote Daily

marknga

GONetwork Member
"It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It [the Constitution] was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect." --Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on a National Bank, 1791
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants." --Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 1, 1787
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"In our private pursuits it is a great advantage that every honest employment is deemed honorable. I am myself a nail-maker." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Jean Nicolas DÈmeunier, 1795
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"The example of changing a constitution by assembling the wise men of the state, instead of assembling armies, will be worth as much to the world as the former examples we had give them. The constitution, too, which was the result of our deliberation, is unquestionably the wisest ever yet presented to men." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to David Humphreys, 1789
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"There is not a more important and fundamental principle in legislation, than that the ways and means ought always to face the public engagements; that our appropriations should ever go hand in hand with our promises. To say that the United States should be answerable for twenty-five millions of dollars without knowing whether the ways and means can be provided, and without knowing whether those who are to succeed us will think with us on the subject, would be rash and unjustifiable." --James Madison, Speech in Congress, 1790
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow, 1824
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Cooper, 1802
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"f the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them." --Candidus, in the Boston Gazette, 1772
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of people, it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates ... to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them." --John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"The whole of that Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals... t establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of." --Albert Gallatin, letter to Alexander Addison, 1789
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"There is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight, and that time has now come." --Peter Muhlenberg, from a Lutheran sermon read at Woodstock, Virginia, 1776
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"I have no notion of being hanged for half treason. When a subject draws his sword against his prince, he must cut his way through, if he means afterward to sit down in safety." --Colonel Joseph Reed, to Mr. Pettit, 1775
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"As our president bears no resemblance to a king so we shall see the Senate has no similitude to nobles. First, not being hereditary, their collective knowledge, wisdom, and virtue are not precarious. For by these qualities alone are they to obtain their offices, and they will have none of the peculiar qualities and vices of those men who possess power merely because their father held it before them." --Tench Coxe, An American Citizen, No. 2, 1787
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." --Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishment, quoted by Thomas Jefferson in Commonplace Book
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens." --George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
 

marknga

GONetwork Member
"Excessive taxation ... will carry reason and reflection to every man's door, and particularly in the hour of election." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, 1798
 
"There is no maxim, in my opinion, which is more liable to be misapplied, and which, therefore, more needs elucidation, than the current one, that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong."

-- James Madison to James Monroe, October 5, 1786.
 
We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writings that "except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.--Benjamin Franklin.
 
The liberties of a people never were or ever will be secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.

-Patrick Henry
 
“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

- James Madison -
 
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