Quotations From JAMES MADISON

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  • The proposed Constitution ... is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal constitution; but a composition of both.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Federalist Papers (Jan. 1788), no. 39, The Federalist, ed. Benjamin F. Wright (1961).
  • As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may equally be said to have a property in his rights.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. "Property" (March 29, 1792). W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14, p. 266, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).
  • Testimony of all ages forces us to admit that war is among the most dangerous enemies to liberty, and that the executive is the branch most favored by it of all the branches of Power.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. "Political Reflections" (February 23, 1799). W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 17, p. 241, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).

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  • [Montesquieu] lifted the veil from the venerable errors which enslaved opinion, and pointed the way to those luminous truths of which he had but a glimpse himself.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. "Spirit of Governments" (February 20, 1792). W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14, p. 233, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).
  • As yet her conduct has been great both as a free and as a martial nation. We hope it will continue so, and finally baffle all her enemies, who are in fact the enemies of human nature.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Madison to George Nicholas, March 15, 1793. W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14, p. 472, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991). On the French Revolution.

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  • The class of citizens who provide at once their own food and their own raiment, may be viewed as the most truly independent and happy.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. "Republican Distribution of Citizens" (March 3, 1792). W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14, p. 246, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).

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  • If we are to take for the criterion of truth the majority of suffrages, they ought to be gotten from those philosophic and patriotic citizens who cultivate their reason.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Madison to Benjamin Rush, March 7, 1790. W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 13, pp. 93-94, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).

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  • The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Speech at Virginia Convention, June 20, 1788. W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 11, p. 164, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).

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  • Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Madison to Jefferson, May 13, 1798. W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 17, p. 130, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).

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  • [Restraints on the press] in all ages, have debauched morals, depressed liberty, shackled religion, supported despotism, and deluged the scaffold with blood.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Virginia Report of 1800 (January 7, 1800). W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 17, p. 347, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).
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