Memorable Quotations from James Madison
The Federalist Papers 10 and 51 (1788)
No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money. Share this top 10 list! Explore Topics Motivational Quotes. Life Quotes.
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Theodore Roosevelt. Thomas Jefferson. John F. Donald Trump. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts.
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.
In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.
The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
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The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended.
Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people. A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.
Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged against provisions against danger, real or pretended from abroad. An armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities to be impressed with it. The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.
We have seen the mere distinction of colour made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial.
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What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.
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. Americans have the right and advantage of being armed--unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge the wants or feelings of the day-laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place.
If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation.