James Madison - (1751 - 1836)

James Madison Signature

Quotes by James Madison

Quote 674 details Share on Google+ - Quote 674 Linked In Share Button - Quote 674 We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments of God.

James Madison: 1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia
For God and Country (T.K. Marion)

Quote 1028 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1028 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1028 Where slavery exists the republic theory becomes still more fallacious.


Quote 1027 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1027 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1027 Pride ignorance and Knavery among the Priesthood and Vice and Wickedness among the Laity. This is bad enough But It is not the worst I have to tell you. That diabolical Hell conceived principle of persecution rages among some and to their eternal Infamy the Clergy can furnish their Quota of Imps for such business. This vexes me the most of any thing whatever.

James Madison: letter to William Bradford, January 24, 1774
Madison's Gift - David O. Stewart

Quote 1452 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1452 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1452 Political contests are necessary sometimes, as well as military, to afford exercise and practice, and to instruct in the art of defending liberty and property.

James Madison: to William Bradford, Jr. Jan, 214, 1774
The Quotable Founding Fathers

Quote 1451 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1451 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1451 A diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.


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

James Madison: Outline notes, September 1829 - inscribed in the Madison Memorial Hall, Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building.
Respectfully quoted: A dictionary of quotations...

Quote 1333 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1333 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1333
The powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.

James Madison: Speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 6, 1788, Elliot’s Debates (in the American Memory collection of the Library of Congress)
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One of the worst forms of government is a pure democracy, that is, one in which the citizens enact and administer the laws directly. Such a government is helpless against the mischiefs of faction.

James Madison: The Federalist Papers 1787
The Quotable Founding Fathers
Quoted Document: The Federalist Papers

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The free men 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. 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? that the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?

James Madison: Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, 1785

Quote 311 details Share on Google+ - Quote 311 Linked In Share Button - Quote 311 As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form. Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human character, the inference would be that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self-government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another.

James Madison: Federalist No. 55, February 15, 1788
The Federalist Papers

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


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To guard a mans house as his castle, to pay public and enforce private debts with the most exact faith, can give no title to invade a mans conscience which is more sacred than his castle.

James Madison: Article in the National gazette, March 29, 1792
The Quotable Founding Fathers

Quote 302 details Share on Google+ - Quote 302 Linked In Share Button - Quote 302 Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?

James Madison: Federalist No. 51, February 8, 1788
The Federalist Papers

Quote 400 details Share on Google+ - Quote 400 Linked In Share Button - Quote 400 [I]n the next place, to show that unless these departments be so far connected and blended as to give to each a constitutional control over the others, the degree of separation which the maxim requires, as essential to a free government, can never in practice be duly maintained.

James Madison: Federalist No. 48, February 1, 1788
The Federalist Papers

Quote 1347 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1347 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1347 In a free government, the security of civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other, in the multiplicity of sects.

James Madison: The Federalist Papers, 1788
The Quotable Founding Fathers
Quoted Document: The Federalist Papers

Quote 1345 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1345 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1345 Tis not country that peoples either the Bridewells or the Bedlams. These mansions of wretchedness are tenanted from the distresses and vices of overgrown cities.

James Madison: Essay in the National Gazette, March 3, 1792
The Quotable Founding Fathers

Quote 335 details Share on Google+ - Quote 335 Linked In Share Button - Quote 335 If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior.

James Madison: Federalist No. 39, January 1788
The Federalist Papers

Quote 1334 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1334 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1334 It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration, and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the general government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard urged against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the 4th resolution.

James Madison: Proposing Bill of Rights to House, June 8, 1789
Web Source: https://founderswisdom.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/4926/

Quote 1024 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1024 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1024 If justice, good faith, honor, gratitude & all the other Qualities which enoble the character of a nation, and fulfil the ends of Government, be the fruits of our establishments, the cause of liberty will acquire a dignity and lustre, which it has never yet enjoyed; and an example will be set which can not but have the most favorable influence on the rights of mankind. If on the other side, our Governments should be unfortunately blotted with the reverse of these cardinal and essential Virtues, the great cause which we have engaged to vindicate, will be dishonored & betrayed; the last & fairest experiment in favor of the rights of human nature will be turned against them; and their patrons & friends exposed to be insulted & silenced by the votaries of Tyranny and Usurpation.

James Madison: Report on Address to the States, April 26, 1783
Madison's Gift - David O. Stewart

Quote 312 details Share on Google+ - Quote 312 Linked In Share Button - Quote 312 Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.

James Madison: Federalist No. 48, February 1, 1788
The Federalist Papers

Quote 297 details Share on Google+ - Quote 297 Linked In Share Button - Quote 297 A local spirit will infallibly prevail much more in the members of Congress than a national spirit will prevail in the legislatures of the particular States.

James Madison: Federalist No. 46, January 29, 1788
The Federalist Papers

Quote 310 details Share on Google+ - Quote 310 Linked In Share Button - Quote 310 As the cool and deliberate sense of the community ought in all governments, and actually will in all free governments ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers; so there are particular moments in public affairs, when the people stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career, and to suspend the blow mediated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice and truth, can regain their authority over the public mind?

James Madison: Federalist No. 63, 1788
The Federalist Papers

Quote 931 details Share on Google+ - Quote 931 Linked In Share Button - Quote 931 And as it [the federal district] is to be appropriated to the use with the consent of the State ceding it; as the State will no doubt provide in the compact for the rights, and the consent of the citizens inhabiting it; as the inhabitants will find sufficient inducements of interest to become willing parties to the cession; as they will have had their voice in the election of the Government which is to exercise authority over them; as a municipal Legislature for local purposes, derived from their own suffrage, will of course b allowed them; and as the authority of the Legislature of the State, and of the inhabitants of the ceded part of it, to concur in the cession, will be derived from the whole people of the State, in their adoption of the Constitution, every imaginable objection seems to be obviated.


Quote 378 details Share on Google+ - Quote 378 Linked In Share Button - Quote 378 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: Federalist No. 45, January 26, 1788
The Federalist Papers

Quote 387 details Share on Google+ - Quote 387 Linked In Share Button - Quote 387 To the press alone, checkered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression.

James Madison: Report on the Virginia Resolutions, 1798


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