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TOPIC: Constitution Quotes

Quotes:


"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 which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State."

Source: The Federalist Papers: Federalist #45 'The Alleged Danger From the Powers of the Union to the State Governments Considered' Independent Journal (newspaper) January 26, 1788
Author: Madison, James
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"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Source: A letter written to the officers of the first brigade of the third division of the militia of Massachusetts, 11 October, 1798
Author: Adams, John
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"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings and blood of their ancestors; and capable, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence. The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity; its foundations are solid; its compartments are beautiful as well as useful; its arrangements are full of wisdom and order; and its defenses are impregnable from without. It has been reared for immortality, if the work of man may ever justly aspire to such a title. It may, nevertheless, perish in an hour by the folly, or corruption, or negligence of its only keepers, THE PEOPLE. Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them."

Source: 'Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States; with a Preliminary Review of the Constitutional History of the Colonies and States, Before the Adoption of the Constitution.' Vol. 2 1833 (pg. 687 in edition 3 1858)
Author: Story, Joseph
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"Let the history of the Grecian and Italian republics warn us of our dangers. The national constitution is our last, and our only security. United we stand, divided we fall."

Source: 'Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States; with a Preliminary Review of the Constitutional History of the Colonies and States, Before the Adoption of the Constitution.' Vol. 2 1833 (pg. 687 in edition 3 1858)
Author: Story, Joseph
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"The people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it. It is the creature of their will, and lives only by their will. But this supreme and irresistible power to make or to unmake resides only in the whole body of the people, not in any subdivision of them. The attempt of any of the parts to exercise it is usurpation and ought to be repelled by those to whom the people have delegated their power of repelling it."

Source: Cohens vs Virginia 1821 (Chief Justice John Marshall)
Author: Marshall, John
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"The turn will come when we entrust the conduct of our affairs to men who understand that their first duty as public officials is to divest themselves of the power they have been given. It will come when Americans, in the hundreds of communities throughout the nation, decide to put the man in office who is pledged to enforce the Constitution and restore the Republic. Who will proclaim in a campaign speech: "I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' 'interests,' I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."

Source: 'The Conscience of a Conservative;' Victor Publishing Company, Shepherdsville, Ky., p. 17 (Chapter 2: Perils of Power)
Author: Goldwater, Barry
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"The constitution supposes, what the History of all Govts. demonstrates, that the Ex. is the branch of power most interested in war, & most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legisl: But the Doctrines lately advanced strike at the root of all these provisions, and will deposit the peace of the Country in that Department which the Constitution distrusts as most ready without cause to renounce it."

Source: A letter written to Thomas Jefferson, April 2, 1798, regarding President John Adams' authority during the Quasi-War with France (quote written as original with abbreviations).
Author: Madison, James
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I can only say that while I have considered the preservation of the constitutional power of the General Government to be the foundation of our peace and safety at home and abroad, I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, not only essential to the adjustment and balance of the general system, but the safeguard to the continuance of a free government. I consider it as the chief source of stability to our political system, whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it. I need not refer one so well acquainted as you are with American history, to the State papers of Washington and Jefferson, the representatives of the federal and democratic parties, denouncing consolidation and centralization of power, as tending to the subversion of State Governments, and to despotism.

Source: Excerpt from letter written by Robert E. Lee to Sir John Dalberg-Acton (aka Lord Acton), from Lexington, Virginia, December 15, 1866.
Author: Lee, Robert E.
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Similar Quotes:

"Mr. President:
I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them; for having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others."
Author: Benjamin Franklin
Source: Speech to the Constitutional Convention, September 17, 1787
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"We engage in the election the same as in any other principle; you are to vote for good men, and if you do not do this it is a sin; to vote for wicked men, it would be sin. Choose the good and refuse the evil. Men of false principles have preyed upon us like wolves upon helpless lambs. Damn the rod of tyranny; curse it. Let every man use his liberties according to the constitution. Don't fear man or devil; electioneer with all people, male and female, and exhort them to do the thing that is right. We want a President of the U.S., not a party President, but a President of the whole people; for a party President disfranchises the opposite party. Have a President who will maintain every man in his rights."
Author: Hyrum Smith
Source: History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.15, p.323
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