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 a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men; so that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.
Source: James Madison, Elliots’ Debates 3:536-7.
Liberty Letters is a project of The Moral Liberal’s, Editor in Chief, Steve Farrell. Copyright © 2012 Steve Farrell.