Alexander Hamilton Quotes (55 Quotes)


    The founders established a government of checks and balances so nobody could take advantage. As for Hamilton, he set up our banking system.


    Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things.

    When you assemble from your several counties in the Legislature, were every member to be guided only by the apparent interest of his county, government would be impracticable. There must be a perpetual accomodation and sacrifice of local advantage to general expediency.



    That this gentleman President John Adams ought not to be the object of the federal wish, is, with me, reduced to demonstration. His administration has already very materially disgraced and sunk the government. There are defects in his character which must inevitably continue to do this more and more. And if he is supported by the federal party, his party must in the issue fall with him.


    The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased.

    The Founding Fathers were careful to distinguish representative republicanism from direct democracy. Alexander Hamilton, for example, endorsed the former but condemned the latter. ...the records of the ratification conventions were not verbatim transcriptions. It has been observed, by an honorable gentleman, that a pure democracy, if it were practicable, would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position in politics is more false than this. The ancient democracies, in which the people themselves deliberated, never possessed one feature of good government. Their very character was tyranny their figure, deformity. When they assembled, the field of debate presented an ungovernable mob, not only incapable of deliberation, but prepared for every enormity.

    Here, sir, the people govern; here they act by their immediate representatives.

    It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from

    The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact. The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right.

    There is one transcendant advantage belonging to the province of the State governments... --I mean the ordinary administration of criminal and civil justice.

    The proposed Constitution, so far from implying an abolition of the State governments, makes them constituent parts of the national sovereignty, by allowing them a direct representation in the Senate, and leaves in their possession certain exclusive and very important portions of sovereign power. This fully corresponds, in every rational import of the terms, with the idea of a federal government.

    A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.

    In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.

    If the end be clearly comprehended within any of the specified powers, and if the measure have an obvious relation to that end, and is not forbidden by any particular provision of the Constitution, it may safely be deemed to come within the compass of the national authority.

    The courts must declare the sense of the law and if they should be disposed exercise will, instead of judgment, the consequences would be the substitution of their pleasure for that of the legislative body.

    But as the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States.


    There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.

    Those who do not industrialize become hewers of wood and haulers of water.




    Ah, this is the constitution, he said. Now, mark my words. So long as we are a young and virtuous people, this instument will bind us together in mutual interests, mutual welfare, and mutual happiness. But when we become old and corrupt, it will bind no longer.

    In the usual progress of things, the necessities of a nation in every stage of its existence will be found at least equal to its resources.

    In testimony of their Respect For The Patriot of incorruptible Integrity, The Soldier of approved Valour The Statesman of consummate Wisdom Whose Talents and Virtues will be admired By Grateful Posterity Long after this Marble shall have mouldered into Dust.

    In the main it will be found that a power over a man's support (salary) is a power over his will.


    In many cases, it will connect itself with preexisting factions and will enlist all the animosities, the partialities, the influence and the interest in one side or the other. And in such cases, it will always be dangerous that the decision will be regulated more by a comparison of strength of the parties, rather than the demonstration of innocence or guilt.

    Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of man will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.

    Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have lies in this When I have a subject in hand, I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. I explore it in all its bearings. My mind becomes pervaded with it. Then the effort which I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.

    Such a wife as I want... must be young, handsome I lay most stress upon a good shape, sensible a little learning will do, well-bread, chaste, and tender. As to religion, a moderate stock will satisfy me. She must believe in God and hate a saint.

    In the general course of human nature, A power over a man's subsistence amounts to a power over his will.

    ... if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens.

    You should not have taken advantage of my sensibility to steal into my affections without my consent.

    It's not tyranny we desire; it's a just, limited, federal government.


    It is the advertiser who provides the paper for the subscriber. It is not to be disputed, that the publisher of a newspaper in this country, without a very exhaustive advertising support, would receive less reward for his labor than the humblest mechanic.

    A well adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous.


    The Constitution ought to be the standard of construction for the laws, and that wherever there is an evident opposition, the laws ought to give place to the Constitution. But this doctrine is not deducible from any circumstance peculiar to the plan of convention, but from the general theory of a limited Constitution.

    Every power vested in a government is in its nature sovereign, and includes by force of the term a right to employ all the means requisite ... to the attainment of the ends of such power.

    Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.


    Perhaps myself the first, at some expense of popularity, to unfold the true character of Jefferson, it is too late for me to become his apologist. Nor can I have any disposition to do it. I admit that his politics are tinctured with fanaticism, that he is too much in earnest in his democracy, that he has been a mischievous enemy to the principle measures of our past administration, that he is crafty persevering in his objects, that he is not scrupulous about the means of success, nor very mindful of truth, and that he is a contemptible hypocrite.

    In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.

    What plan for the regulation of the militia may be pursued by the national government is impossible to be foreseen... The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious if it were capable of being carried into execution... Little more can reasonably be aimed at with the respect to the people at large than to have them properly armed and equipped and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.

    When the sword is once drawn, the passions of men observe no bounds of moderation.


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