James Madison Quotes (114 Quotes)


    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.

    As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.

    It becomes all therefore who are friends of a Government based on free principles to reflect, that by denying the possibility of a system partly federal and partly consolidated, and who would convert ours into one either wholly federal or wholly consolidated, in neither of which forms have individual rights, public order, and external safety, been all duly maintained, they aim a deadly blow at the last hope of true liberty on the face of the Earth.

    Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution.

    The number of individuals employed under the Constitution of the United States will be much smaller than the number employed under the particular states. There will consequently be less of personal influence on the side of the former than of the latter.

    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.

    If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

    The safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which all such institutions must be sacrificed

    The rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted.

    What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of Liberty and Learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual and surest support?



    Related Authors


    Ronald Reagan - George Washington - Franklin D. Roosevelt - Abraham Lincoln - John Adams - Jimmy Carter - James A. Garfield - Herbert Hoover - Harry S. Truman - George H. W. Bush


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