Quotations From JAMES MADISON


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  • In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men ... you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, p. 322, ed. Clinton Rossiter, New York (1961). The Federalist, No. 51 (February 6, 1788).
  • Union of Religious Sentiments begets a surprising confidence and Ecclesiastical Establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the Execution of Mischievous Projects.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Madison to William Bradford, January 24, 1794. W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 1, p. 106, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).
  • Pray for the Liberty of the Conscience to revive among us.... Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize, every expanded prospect.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Madison to William Bradford, April 1, 1794. W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 1, p. 113, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).
  • [Urging the national government] to eradicate local prejudices and mistaken rivalships to consolidate the affairs of the states into one harmonious interest.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. "Consolidation" (December 3, 1791). W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14, p. 139, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).
  • It is to the press mankind are indebted for having dispelled the clouds which so long encompassed religion, for disclosing her genuine lustre, and disseminating her salutary doctrines.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Virginia Report of 1800 (January 7, 1800). W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 17, p. 347, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).
  • 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.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Madison to George Tucker, June 27, 1836. Madison Papers, Library of Congress. On his fifty-year friendship with Thomas Jefferson.

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  • 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.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Madison to Albert Picket, September 1821. Madison Papers, Library of Congress.
  • Despotism can only exist in darkness, and there are too many lights now in the political firmament to permit it to remain anywhere, as it has heretofore done, almost everywhere.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Madison to Lafayette, November 25, 1820. Madison Papers, Library of Congress.
  • Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as by the abuses of power.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, p. 330, ed. Clinton Rossiter, New York (1961). The Federalist, No. 53 (February 9, 1788).

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  • I should not regret a fair and full trial of the entire abolition of capital punishment.
    James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. president. Madison to G.F.H. Crockett, November 6, 1823. Madison Papers, Library of Congress.
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