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Flashcards in quotes Deck (38)
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John Adams, Novanglus Papers, 1774, "A settled plan to

“A settled plan to deprive the people of all the benefits, blessings, and ends of the contract, to subvert the fundamentals of the constitution, to deprive them of all share in making and executing laws, will justify a revolution.”


– John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776
"I am well aware of

“I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than the means.”


Charles Carroll, letter to G.W. Parke Custis, February 20, 1829
"When I

“When I signed the Declaration of Independence I had in view not only our independence from England but the toleration of all sects.”



“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” – Preamble of the Constitution, September 17, 1787


– John Adams, Proclamation adopted by the Council of Massachusetts Bay, 1774
"As the hap...

“As the happiness of the people is the sole end of government, so the consent of the people is the only foundation of it, in reason, morality, and the natural fitness of things.”


– John Adams, Notes for an Oration at Braintree, Massachusetts, 1772
"There is dang..

“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”


– Alexander Hamilton, on the Constitution, 1788
"This representative

“This representative democracy as far as is consistent with its genius has all the features of good government.”


”—Alexander Hamilton, speech to Congress, June 21, 1788
"It has been observed taht

“It has been observed that a pure democracy, if it were practicable, would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies, in which the people themselves deliberated, never possessed one feature of good government. Their character was tyranny; their figure deformity.


– Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Hunter, 1790
"The republican is the only...

“The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.”


– Benjamin Franklin, Maxims and Morals from Dr. Franklin, 1807
"Freedom is not...

“Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.”


-- George Mason, Section I Virginia Declaration
"That all men are by nature...

“That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”


-- John Locke, Second Treatises on Government
"The laws also ought...

“The laws also ought to be designed for no other end ultimately than the good of the people.”


-- Aristotle Politics
"That man by nature cannot..."

“That man by nature cannot be a pure individualist; he lives with his fellows and reaching his highest good in his relations with him; and he must understand the structure the state of which he is a part.”


--Miracle at Philadelphia, Catherine Drinker Bowen
"Gerry...entertained no respect.."

“Gerry...entertained no great respect for the multitude--he would have called it the mobility--declared he ‘could not be blind to the danger and impropriety of throwing such a power into their hands.’”


-- Miracle at Philadelphia
"A federal government, Madis...

“A federal government, Madison told the delegates, operates on states, a national government directly on individuals.”


-- Miracle at Philadelphia
"Was this government, he asked,...."

“Was this government, he asked, to be over men or over imaginary beings called states? … Wilson had asked the same question in Congress, declaring that individuals--not states-- were the objects of governmental care.”


-- Miracle at Philadelphia
"Democracy signified

“Democracy signified anarchy; demos was not the people but the mob. When Paterson of New Jersey said ‘the democratic spirit beats high,” it was meant in derogation, not in praise.”


-- Miracle at Philadelphia
"Property was not a privilege....

“Property was not a privilege of the higher orders but a right which a man would fight to defend. Men had indeed died to defend it in the war with England.”


-- Massachusetts Circular Letter of 1768
"an essential, unalterable..."

“an essential, unalterable Right, in nature...ever held sacred and irrevocable...that what a man has honestly acquired is absolutely his own.”


--Thomas Jefferson

"The true foundation of republican

“The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen, in his person and in his property.”


--Miracle at Philadelphia
"It was the very anti...

“It was the very antithesis of Europe, this repudiation of the past.”


- George Washington
"Government is not reason; it is..."

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”


Thomas Jefferson
"No freeman shall...

"No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” --


-- John Adams
"But a Constitution of...

“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”


--Abraham Lincoln
"Don't interfere with anything....

“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”


--Samuel Adams
"A general dissolution...

“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”


--Oliver Ellsworth, The Landholder, December 10, 1787
"All good men wish..

“All good men wish the entire abolition of slavery, as soon as it can take place with safety to the public, and for the lasting good of the present wretched race of slaves. The only possible step that could be taken towards it by the convention was to fix a period after which they should not be imported.”


--John Marshall, McCullough v. Maryland, 1819
"An unlimited power to

“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.”


--Captain John Parker, commander of the militiamen at Lexington, Massachusetts, on siting British Troops (attributed), April 19, 1775
"Don't fire

“Don't fire unless fired upon. But if they want a war let it begin here.”


--James Wilson
"Far from being rivals...

“Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other. The divine law, as discovered by reason and the moral sense, forms an essential part of both.”


--James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1791
"Government, in my...

“Government, in my humble opinion, should be formed to secure and to enlarge the exercise of the natural rights of its members; and every government, which has not this in view, as its principal object, is not a government of the legitimate kind.”


--Nathan Hale, before being hanged by the British, September 22, 1776
"I only regret that

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”


--Samuel Adams, letter to Elbridge Gerry, November 27, 1780
"If men of wisdom and knowledge...

“If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation.”


-- George Washington
"A free people ought

“A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”


--Alexis de Tocqueville
"The American Republic...

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”


--Alexis de Tocqueville
"Americans are so enamo...

“Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”


― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
"Nothing is more wonderful...

“Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.”


― Alexis de Tocqueville
"Tyranny in democratic republics....

“Tyranny in democratic republics does not proceed in the same way, however. It ignores the body and goes straight for the soul. The master no longer says: You will think as I do or die. He says: You may keep your life, your property, and everything else. But from this day forth you shall be as a stranger among us. You will retain your civic privileges, but they will be of no use to you...You will remain among men, but you will forfeit your rights to humanity...Go in peace, I will not take your life, but the life I leave you with is worse than death.”