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James Madison Quotes

Here are quotes by one of America's greatest founding fathers, James Madison, and related quotations about America's founding. For more history, see Founding Fathers.

Founding Fathers Quotes

Conscience is the most sacred of all property.

James Madison, Essay on Property, March 29, 1792

Founding Fathers Quotes

Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution.

James Madison, Federalist No. 39, January 1788

Founding Fathers Quotes

Energy in government is essential to that security against external and internal danger and to that prompt and salutary execution of the laws which enter into the very definition of good government. Stability in government is essential to national character and to the advantages annexed to it, as well as to that repose and confidence in the minds of the people, which are among the chief blessings of civil society.

James Madison, Federalist No. 37, January 11, 1788

Founding Fathers Quotes

Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.

James Madison, Federalist No. 10, November 23, 1787

Founding Fathers Quotes

Equal laws protecting equal rights — the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.

James Madison, letter to Jacob de la Motta, August 1820

Founding Fathers Quotes

Every man who loves peace, every man who loves his country, every man who loves liberty ought to have it ever before his eyes that he may cherish in his heart a due attachment to the Union of America and be able to set a due value on the means of preservi

James Madison

Founding Fathers Quotes

Every man who loves peace, every man who loves his country, every man who loves liberty ought to have it ever before his eyes that he may cherish in his heart a due attachment to the Union of America and be able to set a due value on the means of preserving it.

James Madison, Federalist No. 41, January 1788

Founding Fathers Quotes

Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue; or in any manner affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change and can trace its consequences; a harvest reared not by themselves but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow citizens. This is a state of things in which it may be said with some truth that laws are made for the few not for the many.

James Madison (likely), Federalist No. 62, 1788

Founding Fathers Quotes

For the same reason that the members of the State legislatures will be unlikely to attach themselves sufficiently to national objects, the members of the federal legislature will be likely to attach themselves too much to local objects.

James Madison, Federalist No. 47, February 1, 1788

Founding Fathers Quotes

Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man whatever is his own.

James Madison, Essay on Property, March 29, 1792

Founding Fathers Quotes

Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

James Madison, Federalist No. 55, February 15, 1788

Founding Fathers Quotes

Happily for America, happily, we trust, for the whole human race, they pursued a new and more noble course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the annals of human society.

James Madison, Federalist No. 14, November 20, 1787

Founding Fathers Quotes

He was certainly one of the most learned men of the age. It may be said of him as has been said of others that he was a "walking Library," and what can be said of but few such prodigies, that the Genius of Philosophy ever walked hand in hand with him.

James Madison, on Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Samuel Harrison Smith, November 4, 1826

Founding Fathers Quotes

How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?

James Madison, Federalist No. 41, January 1788

Founding Fathers Quotes

I acknowledge, in the ordinary course of government, that the exposition of the laws and Constitution devolves upon the judicial. But I beg to know upon what principle it can be contended that any one department draws from the Constitution greater powers than another in marking out the limits of the powers of the several departments.

James Madison, speech in the Congress of the United States, June 17, 1789

Founding Fathers Quotes

I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution. And if that is not the guide in expounding it, there may be no security

James Madison, letter to Henry Lee, June 25, 1824

Founding Fathers Quotes

I own myself the friend to a very free system of commerce, and hold it as a truth, that commercial shackles are generally unjust, oppressive and impolitic — it is also a truth, that if industry and labour are left to take their own course, they will generally be directed to those objects which are the most productive, and this in a more certain and direct manner than the wisdom of the most enlightened legislature could point out.

James Madison, speech to the Congress, April 9, 1789

Founding Fathers Quotes

If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.

James Madison, letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792

Founding Fathers Quotes

If individuals be not influenced by moral principles; it is in vain to look for public virtue; it is, therefore, the duty of legislators to enforce, both by precept and example, the utility, as well as the necessity of a strict adherence to the rules of distributive justice.

James Madison, in response to Washington's first Inaugural address, May 18, 1789

Founding Fathers Quotes

If it be asked what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer, the genius of the whole system, the nature of just and constitutional laws, and above all the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.

James Madison, Federalist No. 57, February 19, 1788



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