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James Madison Quotes

These James Madison Quotes are taken from his own writings and letters from the years 1831 to 1835, which were the last five years of his life. These James Madison Quotes feature quotes on such subjects as the justice of revolting against tyranny, the importance of the separation of church and state and the importance of voting rights for all. James Madison was one of the most influential leaders of the early United States. He is known as the Father of the US Constitution and also became the 4th President of the United States. Our James Madison Quotes are listed chronologically with links to more before this time period at the bottom of the page.

James Madison

James Madison

James Madison Quotes

"Can it be of less consequence that the meaning of a Constitution should be fixed and known, than a meaning of a law should be so?" - Letter to Mr. Ingersoll, June 25, 1831

"If the States cannot live together in harmony under the auspices of such a Government as exists, and in the midst of blessings such as have been the fruits of it, what is the prospect threatened by an abolition of a common government, with all the rivalships, collisions, and animosities inseparable from such an event?" - Letter to Mathew Carey, July 27, 1831

"Extreme cases of oppression justify... a resort to the original right of resistance, a right belonging to every community, under every form of Government..." - Letter to N. P. Trist, December, 1831

"Another error has been in ascribing to the intention of the Convention which formed the Constitution an undue ascendancy in expounding it. Apart from the difficulty of verifying that intention, it is clear, that if the meaning of the Constitution is to be sought out of itself, it is not in the proceedings of the body that proposed it, but in those of the State Conventions, which gave it all the validity and authority which it possesses." - Letter to N. P. Trist, December, 1831

"In contemplating the pecuniary resources needed for the removal of such a number to so great a distance (that is, of freed slaves to Africa), my thoughts and hopes have long been turned to the rich fund presented in the western lands of the nation..." - Letter to R. R. Gurley, December 28, 1831

"Allowance... ought to be made for a habit in Mr. Jefferson, as in others of great genius, of expressing in strong and round terms impressions of the moment." - Letter to N. P. Trist, May, 1832

"In the Virginia resolutions and reports the plural number, States, is in every instance used... As I am now known to have drawn these documents, I may say... that the distinction was intentional... The Kentucky resolutions, being less guarded, have been more easily perverted." - Letter to N. P. Trist, December 23, 1832

"In the Papal System, Government and Religion are in a manner consolidated, & that is found to be the worst of Govts. In most of the Govts. of the old world, the legal establishment of a particular religion and without or with very little toleration of others makes a part of the Political and Civil organization and there are few of the most enlightened judges who will maintain that the system has been favorable either to Religion or to Govt." - Letter to Jasper Adams, 1833

"You give me a credit to which I have no claim in calling me "the writer of the Constitution of the United States." This was not, like the fabled Goddess of Wisdom, the offspring of a single brain. It ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands." - Letter to William Cogswell, March 10, 1834

"Theories are the offspring of the closet; exceptions and qualifications are the lessons of experience." - Letter to Charles J. Ingersoll, December 30, 1835

Need some more James Madison Quotes?
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Montpelier - Home of James Madison

Montpelier - Home of
James Madison

"In all Governments there is a power which is capable of oppressive exercise." - Notes on Suffrage, Written at various times

"Who would rely on a fair decision from three individuals if two had an interest in the case opposed to a third? Make the number as great as you please. The impartiality will not be increased..." - Notes on Suffrage, Written at various times

"Large districts are manifestly favorable to the election of persons of general respectability and of probable attachments to the rights of property, over competitors depending on the personal solicitations practicable on a contracted theatre..." - Notes on Suffrage, Written at various times

"In a just and free government... the rights both of property and of persons ought to be effectually guarded. Will the former be so in the case of a universal and equal suffrage? Will the latter be so in the case of a suffrage confined to the holders of property?" - Notes on Suffrage, Written at various times

"The tendency of a longer period of service would be to render the body more stable in its policy, and more capable of stemming popular currents taking a wrong direction, till reason and justice could regain their ascendancy." - Notes on Suffrage, Written at various times

"No free country has ever been without parties, which are a natural offspring of freedom." - Notes on Suffrage, Written at various times

"The advice nearest to my heart and deepest in my convictions is, that the Union of the States be cherished and perpetuated." - Advice to My Country

"Believers who are in a State of Grace, have need of the word of God for their Edification and Building up therefore implies a possibility of falling. V. 32; Grace, it is the free gift of God. Luke. 12. v. 32; Giver more blessed than the Receiver. V.35; to neglect the means for our own preservation is to Tempt God: and to trust to them is to neglect him. v. 3 & Ch. 27. v. 31; Humility, the better any man is, the lower thoughts he has of himself. v. 19; Ministers to take heed to themselves & their flock. v. 28; The apostles did greater Miracles than Christ, in the matter, not manner, of them. v. 11." - Notes in Madison's personal Bible written in Acts chapter 19


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