James Madison Quotes

“The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“The advancement of science and the diffusion of information [is] the best aliment to true liberty.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“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 in blood for centuries.

[Letter objecting to the use of government land for churches, 1803]”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“Philosophy is common sense with big words.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments, the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded agst. by an entire abstinence of the Govt. from interference in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect agst. trespasses on its legal rights by others.

[Letter to the Reverend Jasper Adams, January 1, 1832]”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
― James Madison

 

 

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
― James Madison

 

 

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. 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”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“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.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“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.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“[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.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“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.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“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.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

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

[Letter to William Bradford Jr. April 1 1774]”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it’s issuance.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce. … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“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.”
― James Madison, Letters and other writings of James Madison

 

 

 

“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.”
― James Madison

 

 

“Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.

[Letter to Edward Livingston, 10 July 1822 – Writings 9:100–103]”
― James Madison

 

 

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.”
― James Madison

 

 

“Equal laws protecting equal rights…the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“Besides the danger of a direct mixture of religion and civil government, there is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by ecclesiastical corporations. The establishment of the chaplainship in Congress is a palpable violation of equal rights as well as of Constitutional principles. The danger of silent accumulations and encroachments by ecclesiastical bodies has not sufficiently engaged attention in the U.S.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties or his possessions. ”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree”
― James Madison

 

 

“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.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“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. 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 the next place, oblige it to control itself.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But 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. 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.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise…. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.”
― James Madison

 

 

“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.”
― James Madison

 

 

“The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as by the abuses of power.”
― James Madison

 

 

“Foreigners have been encouraged to settle among you. Industry and virtue have been promoted by mutual emulation and mutual inspection; commerce and the arts have flourished; and I cannot help attributing those continual exertions of genius which appear among you to the inspiration of liberty, and that love of fame and knowledge which always accompany it. Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind, and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect. How far this is the case with Virginia will more clearly appear when the ensuing trial is made.

[Letter to William Bradford Jr. April 1 1774]”
― James Madison

 

 

“Let me recommend the best medicine in the world a long journey at a mild season through a pleasant country in easy stages.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together.”
― James Madison

 

 

“Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“Liberty is to faction what air is to fire…”
― James Madison

 

 

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“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.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. . . . The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much, soon to forget it. . . .”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“[T]here remains [in some parts of the country] a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Govt. & Religion neither can be duly supported. Such indeed is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded agst.”
― James Madison

 

 

“It is *essential* to such a government, that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.”
― James Madison

 

 

 

“A good Government implies two things: first, fidelity to the object of Government, which is the happiness of the People; secondly, a knowledge of the means by which that object can be best attained.”
― James Madison

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