|A pure democracy is a society consisting of a small number of citizens,
who assemble and administer the government in person.
A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained
in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country.
All men having power ought to be mistrusted.
As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally
said to have a property in his rights.
Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you
will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only
end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.
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.
If men were angels, no government would be necessary.
If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the
guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to
be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended,
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.
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean
to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which
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
Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by
the abuse of power.
No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual
Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to
be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every
Philosophy is common sense with big words.
Such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention;
have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the
rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives
as they have been violent in their deaths.
The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian
of true liberty.
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.
The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of
property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to an uniformity
of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object
The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must
be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question,
whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.
The loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions
against danger, real or imagined, from abroad.
The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become
the instruments of tyranny at home.
The proposed Constitution is, in strictness, neither a national
nor a federal constitution; but a composition of both.
The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever
from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil
of Europe with blood for centuries.
The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.
We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.
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.
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?
Quotes by James Madison