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James Madison quotes (showing 1-30 of 81)

“The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.”
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
“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.”
James Madison
“I believe 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
“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, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison Volume 3
“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, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison Volume 3
“The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.”
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 Constitution of the United States of America
“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
“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, Federalist Papers
“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
“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
“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
“[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
“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
“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
“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
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, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison Volume 3
“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, Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 Reported by James Madison
“You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.”
James Madison, The Federalist Papers
“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
“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
“Democracy is the most vile form of government.”
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
“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, A Memorial and Remonstrance, on the Religious Rights of Man: Written in 1784-85

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