James Madison Quotes (114 Quotes)


    Whenever a youth is ascertained to possess talents meriting an education which his parents cannot afford, he should be carried forward at the public expense.

    The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.

    A standing army is one of the greatest mischief that can possibly happen.

    'Every answer he President John Adams gives to his addressers unmasks more and more his principles and views. His language to the young men at Philadelphia is the most abominable and degrading that could fall from the lips of the first magistrate of an independent people, and particularly from a Revolutionary patriot.'

    All that seems indispensible in stating the account between the dead and the living, is to see that the debts against the latter do not exceed the advances made by the former.


    It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.

    A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country.

    What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.

    We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.

    The Constitution of the United States was created by the people of the United States composing the respective states, who alone had the right .

    The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation where the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

    Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects Memorial and Remonstrance.

    If men were angels, no government would be necessary.

    All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.

    Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.

    The principles and modes of governments are too important to be disregarded by an inquisitive mind and I think are well worthy a critical examination by all students that have health and leisure

    What prudent merchant will hazard his fortunes in any new branch of commerce when he knows not that his plans may be rendered unlawful before they can be executed?

    The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money.

    War should only be declared by the authority of the people, whose toils and treasures are to support its burdens, instead of the government which is to reap its fruits.

    It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.


    The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world.

    I should not regret a fair and full trial of the entire abolition of capital punishment.

    Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expense of other generations.

    The rights of man as the foundation of just Government had been long understood but the superstructures projected had been sadly defective

    In no instance have... the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.

    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.

    But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm... But what degree of madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity.

    War contains so much folly, as well as wickedness, that much is to be hoped from the progress of reason.

    Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history

    Indulging no passions which trespass on the rights or the repose of other nations, it has been the true glory of the US to cultivate peace by observing justice, and to entitle themselves to the respect of the nations at war by fulfilling their neutra

    As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.

    Experience has proved that the real danger to America and to liberty lies in the defect of energy and stability in the present establishment of the United States

    I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

    The nation which reposes on the pillow of political confidence, will sooner or later end its political existence in a deadly lethargy

    America was indebted to immigration for her settlement and prosperity. That part of America which had encouraged them most had advanced most rapidly in population, agriculture and the arts.

    The class of citizens who provide at once their own food and their own raiment, may be viewed as the most truly independent and happy.

    In all great changes of established governments, forms ought to give way to substance

    The proposed Constitution. . . is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal constitution but a composition of both.

    The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.

    Liberty and order will never be perfectly safe, until a trespass on the constitutional provisions for either, shall be felt with the same keenness that resents an invasion of the dearest rights.

    Despotism can only exist in darkness, and there are too many lights now in the political firmament to permit it to remain anywhere, as it has heretofore done, almost everywhere.

    A man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them.

    I go on the principle that a public debt is a public curse, and in a Republican Government a greater curse than any other

    A pure democracy is a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person.

    Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.

    By rendering the labor of one, the property of the other, they cherish pride, luxury, and vanity on one side; on the other, vice and servility, or hatred and revolt.

    Keep within the requisite limits a standing military force, always remembering that an armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics - that without standing armies their liberty can never be in danger, nor with large ones safe.

    If we are to take for the criterion of truth the majority of suffrages, they ought to be gotten from those philosophic and patriotic citizens who cultivate their reason.

    Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.


    More James Madison Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Government - People - Liberty & Freedom - Constitution - Property - War & Peace - Man - Power - Religions & Spirituality - Majority & Minority - Money & Wealth - Respect - Law & Regulation - Danger & Risk - Tyranny & Despotism - Politics - Reasoning - Business & Commerce - Wisdom & Knowledge - View All James Madison Quotations

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    Abraham Lincoln - William Howard Taft - Ulysses S. Grant - Lyndon B. Johnson - John Adams - Jimmy Carter - James Monroe - James Madison - Harry S. Truman - Andrew Jackson


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