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FILE: Four Letters on Interesting Subjects


A selection of four letters written by Thomas Paine in 1776. Subjects of the letters are: criticism of colonial Tories; unity among the colonies; criticism of the charter granted to William Penn by Charles II; the characteristics of a good constitution.[MORE]

Quote 109 details Share on Google+ - Quote 109 Linked In Share Button - Quote 109 We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections

John Adams: Inaugural Address, March 4, 1797
Quoted Document: John Adams Inaugural Address

Quote 159 details Share on Google+ - Quote 159 Linked In Share Button - Quote 159 It seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.

Alexander Hamilton: Federalist No. 1, October 27, 1787
The Federalist Papers
Quoted Document: The Federalist Papers

Quote 204 details Share on Google+ - Quote 204 Linked In Share Button - Quote 204 The regular distribution of power into distinct departments; the introduction of legislative balances and checks; the institution of courts composed of judges holding their offices during good behavior; the representation of the people in the legislature by deputies of their own election... They are means, and powerful means, by which the excellences of republican government may be retained and its imperfections lessened or avoided.


Quote 219 details Share on Google+ - Quote 219 Linked In Share Button - Quote 219 This process of election affords a moral certainty that the office of President will seldom fall to the lot of any many who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.

Alexander Hamilton: Federalist No. 68, March 14, 1788
The Federalist Papers

Quote 341 details Share on Google+ - Quote 341 Linked In Share Button - Quote 341 Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks-no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea, if there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.

James Madison: speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 20, 1788

Quote 392 details Share on Google+ - Quote 392 Linked In Share Button - Quote 392 What is to be the consequence, in case the Congress shall misconstrue this part [the necessary and proper clause] of the Constitution and exercise powers not warranted by its true meaning, I answer the same as if they should misconstrue or enlarge any other power vested in them...the success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound and give effect to the legislative acts; and in a last resort a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can by the elections of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers.

James Madison: Federalist No. 44, January 25, 1788
The Federalist Papers

Quote 608 details Share on Google+ - Quote 608 Linked In Share Button - Quote 608 We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything
partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.

John Adams: President John Adams, Inaugural Address, 1797
Quoted Document: John Adams Inaugural Address

Quote 900 details Share on Google+ - Quote 900 Linked In Share Button - Quote 900 On examining the new proposed constitution, there can be no question but that there is authority enough lodged in the proposed Federal Congress, if abused, to do the greatest injury. And it is perfectly idle to object to it, that there is no bill of rights, or to propose to add to it a provision that a trial by jury shall in no case be omitted, or to patch it up by adding a stipulation in favor of the press, or to guard it by removing the paltry objection to the right of Congress to regulate the time and manner of elections.

Roger Sherman: November 22, 1787
Quoted Document: The Countryman

Quote 924 details Share on Google+ - Quote 924 Linked In Share Button - Quote 924 And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rules load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.


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 1034 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1034 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1034 In the midst of these pleasing ideas we should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.

John Adams: Inaugural Address - Philadelphia March 4, 1797
Quoted Document: John Adams Inaugural Address

Quote 1035 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1035 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1035 If an election is to be determined by a majority of a single vote, and that can be procured by a party through artifice or corruption, the Government may be the choice of a party for its own ends, not of the nation for the national good.

John Adams: Inaugural Address - Philadelphia March 4, 1797
Quoted Document: John Adams Inaugural Address

Quote 1069 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1069 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1069 The jarring & divided Sentiments on the merits of this untryed System, combine in this Choice And under your Patronage its operations will be undisturbed & viewed with the indulgent Eye of impartiality. To this proof I have ever referred the opponents as the true standard by which to judge of the Constitution. And if I may be allowed to prejudge any event I think I may predict that opposition will weaken as the Government goes on. The Horrors supposed to be inherent in the Texture will wear off & if the People feel no additional burden they will think well of it. If I may be allowed to hope on the first movements, it would be that the present taxes on Land & Slaves might be discontinued & the Sum raised from duties which was formerly required from them. This would immovebly fix a predelection in the Minds of the People in favour of this Government which the oratory of a Henry could not move. But I see I am trespassing on the province of others.

Carter Braxton: letter to George Washington, 15 April 1789

Quote 1098 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1098 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1098 The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a vote in the election of representatives is in this case.

Thomas Paine: Dissertation on First Principles of Government
Respectfully quoted: A dictionary of quotations...

Quote 1134 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1134 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1134
Every society, all government, and every kind of civil compact therefore, is or ought to be, calculated for the general good and safety of the community.

George Mason: remarks on Annual Elections for the Fairfax Independent Company, April 1775

Quote 1135 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1135 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1135 In all our associations; in all our agreements let us never lose sight of this fundamental maxim — that all power was originally lodged in, and consequently is derived from, the people.

George Mason: remarks on Annual Elections for the Fairfax Independent Company, April 1775

Quote 1136 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1136 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1136 We came equals into this world, and equals shall we go out of it.

George Mason: remarks on Annual Elections for the Fairfax Independent Company, April 1775

Quote 1137 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1137 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1137 All men are by nature born equally free and independent.

George Mason: remarks on Annual Elections for the Fairfax Independent Company, April 1775

Quote 1177 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1177 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1177 I can meet you and will if it is approved with 100. horse on the frontier of the state, and conduct you here or home, or if military parade is declined and civil preferr’d a like attention might be shewn by me & such of the council as wod. unite. Perhaps a military parade with me at its head might set a bad precedent & lead to bad consequences hereafter, it being but a step to other things, especially when foreign powers are so disposed to interfere in our elections.


Quote 1212 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1212 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1212 Of a very different nature, tho' only one degree better than the other reasoning, is all that sublimity of nonsense and alarm, that has been thundered against it in every shape of metaphoric terror, on the subject of a bill of rights, the liberty of the press, rights of conscience, rights of taxation and election, trials in the vicinity, freedom of speech, trial by jury, and a standing army. These last are undoubtedly important points, much too important to depend on mere paper protection. For, guard such privileges by the strongest expressions, still if you leave the legislative and executive power in the hands of those who are or may be disposed to deprive you of them you are but slaves.

Roger Sherman: The Countryman - Nov 22, 1787
Quoted Document: The Countryman

Quote 1240 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1240 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1240 The Day is now approaching, when your free Choice is to determine whether this Province is to continue the miserable Seat of Discord, and its admirable Constitution and Charter be at last sacrificed to private Ambition and personal Rancor; or whether, by delegating your Powers to Persons of known Independency, attached to our Constitution, and free from all Party-Animosity, we shall at length be restored to our wonted Peace and Prosperity.

Benjamin Franklin: Papers from the Election Campaign, September 1764



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