FOUNDERS CORNER: LIMITED GOVERNMENT AND FEDERALISM 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. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce;...
Liberty Letters, James Madison VICES OF THE POLITICAL SYSTEM OF THE UNITED STATES, 16 APRIL 1787 James Madison to George Washington (also, a copy taken by permission by Daniel Carroll and sent to Charles Carroll of Carrollton) 1. Failure of the States to comply with the Constitutional requisitions. This evil has been so...
Liberty Letters, James Madison, 26 June 1787 In order to judge of the form to be given to this institution, it will be proper to take a view of the ends to be served by it. These were first to protect the people against their rulers: secondly to protect 〈the...
Liberty Letters, James Madison, 1772 My dear Billey, You moralize so prettily that if I were to judge from some parts of your letter of October 13 I should take you for an old Philosopher that had experienced the emptiness of Earthly Happiness. And I am very glad that you have...
Liberty Letters, James Madison, 1783 Let it be remembered, finally, that it has ever been the pride and boast of America, that the rights for which she contended were the rights of human nature. By the blessing of the Author of these rights on the means exerted for their defense,...
Liberty Letters, James Madison Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is...
Liberty Letters, James Madison, 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. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with...
Liberty Letters, Constitutional Convention of 1787 On June 1, 1787 in the early days of the Constitutional Convention the Founders entered upon a discussion of the creation of an executive officer (that is, a President of the United States) with executive power (something sorely lacking under the Articles of Confederation,...
Liberty Letters, James Madison Notwithstanding the security for future repose which the United States ought to find in their love of peace and their constant respect for the rights of other nations, the character of the times particularly inculcates the lesson that, whether to prevent or repel danger, we ought...
Liberty Letters, James Madison, 1788 One of the principal objections inculcated by the more respectable adversaries to the constitution, is its supposed violation of the political maxim, that the legislative, executive and judiciary departments ought to be separate and distinct. In the structure of the federal government, no regard, it...
Liberty Letters, James Madison The management of foreign relations appears to be the most susceptible of abuse of all the trusts committed to a Government, because they can be concealed or disclosed, or disclosed in such parts and at such times as will best suit particular views; and because the...
LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL Wrote American Founder, James Madison: Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from acts...
Liberty Letters, James Madison I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks--no form of government can render...
Liberty Letters, James Madison I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks--no form of government can render...
Liberty Letters, James Madison No government of human device and human administration can be perfect; that that which is the least imperfect is therefore the best government; that the abuses of all other governments have led to the preference of republican government as the best of all governments, because the...
Liberty Letters, James Madison to Thomas Jefferson ... You will herewith receive the result of the Convention, which continued its Session till the 17th. of September. I take the liberty of making some observations on the subject which will help to make up a letter, if they should answer no...
LIBERTY LETTERS, JAMES MADISON Would it be wonderful if, under the pressure of all these difficulties, the convention should have been forced into some deviations from that artificial structure and regular symmetry which an abstract view of the subject might lead an ingenious theorist to bestow on a Constitution planned...
Liberty Letters, James Madison Whatever may be the judgment pronounced on the competency of the architects of the Constitution, or whatever may be the destiny of the edifice prepared by them, I feel it a duty to express my profound and solemn conviction, derived from my intimate opportunity of observing...
Liberty Letters, James Madison Whatever may be the judgment pronounced on the competency of the architects of the Constitution, or whatever may be the destiny of the edifice prepared by them, I feel it a duty to express my profound and solemn conviction, derived from my intimate opportunity of observing...
Liberty Letters, James Madison On March 18, 1786, James Madison wrote Thomas Jefferson regarding the Constitutional Convention's warm-up, a commercial convention in Annapolis, discussing the desperate need for a more unified nation, focusing this letter on the matter of commerce: A quorum of the deputies appointed by the Assembly for a...
Liberty Letters Quote of the Day, James Madison I do not conceive that power is given to the President and Senate to dismember the empire, or to alienate any great, essential right. I do not think the whole legislative authority have this power. Source: Jonathan Elliot, ed. and comp., The Debates...
Liberty Letters Quote of the Day, James Madison If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies...
Liberty Letters Quote of the Day, James Madison 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, and debts, and...
Liberty Letters Quote of the Day, James Madison 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, and debts, and...
Liberty Letters, James Madison A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country. Source: James Madison, Selected Quotes
Liberty Letters, James Madison It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority...
Liberty Letters, James Madison, Regarding Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 (Commerce) The defect of power in the existing confederacy, to regulate the commerce between its several members, is in the number of those which have been clearly pointed out by experience. To the proofs and remarks which former papers...
Liberty Letters, James Madison, 1788 No political truth is certainly of greater intrinsic value, or is stamped with the authority of more enlightened patrons of liberty, than that ... he accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and...
Liberty Letters, James Madison: 1787 Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations. _____________________ Source: James Madison, as quoted in "Elliot's Debates" 3:87.  
Liberty Letters Quote of the Day, James Madison It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freemen of America did not wait...