What a perversion of the normal order of things! ... to make power the primary and central object of the social system, and Liberty but its satellite.
Nothing is so contagious as opinion, especially on questions which, being susceptible of very different glosses, beget in the mind a distrust of itself.
I consider the difference between a system founded on
the legislatures only, and one founded on the people, to be the true difference between a league or treaty and a constitution.
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.
There is not a shadow of right in the general government to intermingle with religion. Its least interference with it would be a most flagrant usurpation.
Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.
Toleration is not the opposite of intolerance, but is the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms. The one assumes to itself the right of withholding liberty of conscience, the other of granting it.
The governments of Europe are afraid to trust the people with arms. If they did, the people would certainly shake off the yoke of tyranny, as America did.
The most common and durable source of faction has been the various and unequal distribution of property.
People will continue to seek justice until it is found, or until liberty is lost in the pursuit.
Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
A standing army is one of the greatest mischief that can possibly happen.
Bills of attainder, ex-post facto laws and laws impairing the obligation of contracts are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation.
The safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which all such institutions must be sacrificed.
The protection of these faculties is the first object of government.
Liberty is to faction what air is to fire.
Liberty is to faction, what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.
Democracies have been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death.
Where a majority are united by a common sentiment, and have an opportunity, the rights of the minor party become insecure.
The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venal love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace.
A victorious and powerful ally is but another name for a master.
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.
I should not regret a fair and full trial of the entire abolition of capital punishment.
Any reading not of a vicious species must be a good substitute for the amusements too apt to fill up the leisure of the labouring classes.
The personal right to acquire property, which is a natural right, gives to property, when acquired, a right to protection, as a social right.
The number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state.
The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived.
The rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted.
A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.
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.
A sincere and steadfast co-operation in promoting such a reconstruction of our political system as would provide for the permanent liberty and happiness of the United States.
America was indebted to immigration for her settlement and prosperity. That part of America which had encouraged them most had advanced most rapidly in population, agriculture and the arts.
To the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression.
Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.
The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money.
Wherever there is interest and power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done.
Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.
Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.... During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.
The loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or imagined, from abroad.
All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.
The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.
What prudent merchant will hazard his fortunes in any new branch of commerce when he knows not that his plans may be rendered unlawful before they can be executed?
The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.
A pure democracy is a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person.
A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country.
In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority.
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.
Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.
Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expense of other generations.
Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power.
It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.
As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other, and the former will be objects to which the latter attach themselves.
By rendering the labor of one, the property of the other, they cherish pride, luxury, and vanity on one side; on the other, vice and servility, or hatred and revolt.
The capacity of the female mind for studies of the highest order cannot be doubted, having been sufficiently illustrated by its works of genius, of erudition, and of science.
What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of Liberty and Learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual and surest support?
The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world.