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James Madison Quotes

James Madison Quotes from his own writings from the years 1787 and 1788. These quotes are taken from Madison's writings in the Federalist Papers, a joint project between he, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton to explain the new Constitution to the American public and encourage them to adopt it. James Madison was an influential Founding Father after the Revolutionary War and the chief architect of the US Constitution. In these James Madison Quotes, he talks about such things as the limitations of the federal government, the fact that the new government is "federal" in nature, being a collection of sovereign states and the separation of power in the branches of government. These James Madison Quotes are listed chronologically with links to more both before and after this period at the bottom.

James Madison

James Madison

James Madison Quotes

"Is it not the glory of the people of America, that whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names, to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience? To this manly spirit, posterity will be indebted for the possession, and the world for the example of the numerous innovations displayed on the American theatre, in favor of private rights and public happiness." - Federalist Papers, No. 14, November 30, 1787

"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. They reared the fabrics of governments which have no model on the face of the globe. They formed the design of a great Confederacy, which it is incumbent on their successors to improve and perpetuate." - Federalist Papers, No. 14, November 30, 1787

"In the first place, it is to be remembered, that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws: its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any." - Federalist Papers, No. 14, November 30, 1787

"America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat." - Federalist Papers, No. 14, November 30, 1787

"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." - Federalist Papers, No. 37, January 11, 1788

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"It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution." - Federalist Papers, No. 37, January 11, 1788

"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." - Federalist Papers, No. 37, January 11, 1788

"We may define a republic to be... a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior." - Federalist Papers, No. 39, January, 1788

"The proposed Constitution... is... neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both. In its foundation it is federal, not national; in the sources from which the ordinary powers of the government are drawn, it is partly federal and partly national; in the operation of these powers, it is national, not federal; in the extent of them, again, it is federal, not national; and, finally, in the authoritative mode of introducing amendments, it is neither wholly federal nor wholly national." - Federalist Papers, No. 39, January, 1788

"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." - Federalist Papers, No. 39, January, 1788

"That the most productive system of finance will always be the least burdensome." - Federalist Papers, No. 39, January, 1788

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James Madison Quotes

Montpelier - Home of James Madison

Montpelier -
Home of James Madison

"If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior." - Federalist Papers, No. 39, January, 1788

"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." - Federalist Papers, No. 41, January, 1788

"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?" - Federalist Papers, No. 41, January, 1788

"But the mild voice of reason, pleading the cause of an enlarged and permanent interest, is but too often drowned, before public bodies as well as individuals, by the clamors of an impatient avidity for immediate and immoderate gain." - Federalist Papers, No. 42, January 22, 1788

"No axiom is more clearly established in law, or in reason, than that wherever the end is required, the means are authorized; wherever a general power to do a thing is given, every particular power necessary for doing it is included." - Federalist Papers, No. 44, January 22, 1788

"What is to be the consequence, in case the Congress shall misconstrue this part [the necessary and proper clause] of the Constitution and exercise powers not warranted by its true meaning, I answer the same as if they should misconstrue or enlarge any other power vested in them... the success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound and give effect to the legislative acts; and in a last resort a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can by the elections of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers." - Federalist Papers, No. 44, January 25, 1788

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James Madison Quotes

"We have heard of the impious doctrine in the old world, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the new, in another shape - that the solid happiness of the people is to be sacrificed to the views of political institutions of a different form? It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued; and that no form of government whatever has any other value than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object." - Federalist Papers, No. 45, January 26, 1788

"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." - Federalist Papers, No. 45, January 26, 1788

"The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security." - Federalist Papers, No. 45, January 26, 1788

"It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued; and that no form of government whatever has any other value than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object." - Federalist Papers, No. 45, January 26, 1788

"The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." - Federalist Papers, No. 46, January 29, 1788

"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." - Federalist Papers, No. 46, January 29, 1788

"But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm... But what degree of madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity." - Federalist Papers, No. 46, January 29, 1788


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