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Quotations From JAMES MADISON

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  • Every nation ... whose affairs betray a want of wisdom and stability may calculate on every loss which can be sustained from the more systematic policy of its wiser neighbors.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, p. 381, ed. Clinton Rossiter, New York (1961). The Federalist, No. 62 (February 27, 1788).

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  • Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Madison to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822. The Mind of the Founder: Sources of the Political Thought of James Madison, p. 437, ed. Marvin Meyers, Indianapolis (1973).

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  • What is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, p. 322, ed. Clinton Rossiter, New York (1961). The Federalist, No. 51 (February 6, 1788).

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  • As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain circumspection and distrust, so there are qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, p. 346, ed. Clinton Rossiter, New York (1961). The Federalist, No. 55 (February 13, 1788).

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  • The personal right to acquire property, which is a natural right, gives to property, when acquired, a right to protection, as a social right.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Speech at the Virginia Convention, 1829. The Mind of the Founder: Sources of the Political Thought of James Madison, p. 512, ed. Marvin Meyers, Indianapolis (1973).
  • [In government] the problem to be solved is, not what form of government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. "Majority Governments" (1833). The Mind of the Founder: Sources of the Political Thought of James Madison, p. 525, ed. Marvin Meyers, Indianapolis (1973).

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  • At cheaper and nearer seats of Learning parents with slender incomes may place their sons in a course of education putting them on a level with the sons of the Richest.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Madison to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822. The Mind of the Founder: Sources of the Political Thought of James Madison, p. 438, ed. Marvin Meyers, Indianapolis (1973).

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  • Man is known to be a selfish, as well as a social being.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Speech at the Virginia Convention, 1829. The Mind of the Founder: Sources of the Political Thought of James Madison, p. 513, ed. Marvin Meyers, Indianapolis (1973).
  • As to the permanent interest of individuals in the aggregated interests of the community, and in the proverbial maxim, that honesty is the best policy, present temptation is often found to be an overmatch for those considerations.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Speech at the Virginia Convention, 1829. The Mind of the Founder: Sources of the Political Thought of James Madison, p. 513, ed. Marvin Meyers, Indianapolis (1973).

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  • In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, p. 84, ed. Clinton Rossiter, New York (1961). The Federalist, No. 10 (November 22, 1787).
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