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Colonial Sense: Society-Lifestyle: Colonial Quotes
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A collection of notable quotations from a variety of Early Modern Era individuals. See the Guide for more details.
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I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.— Thomas Jefferson
I acknowledge, in the ordinary course of government, that the exposition of the laws and Constitution devolves upon the judicial. But I beg to know upon what principle it can be contended that any one department draws from the Constitution greater powers than another in marking out the limits of the powers of the several departments.
— Speech in the Congress of the United States, June 17, 1789
— James Madison
I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.— John Adams
I always considered an idle Life, as a real evil, but, a life of such hurry, such constant hurry, leaves us scarcely a moment for reflection or for the discharge of any other then the most immediate and pressing concerns.— Edward Rutledge
I am a Christian, that is to say a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator and, I hope, to the pure doctrine of Jesus also. — Thomas Jefferson
I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right. Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.— Henry David Thoreau
I am a Senator against my wishes and feelings, which I regret more than any other of my life.— Andrew Jackson
I am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greek and Roman leave to us.— Thomas Jefferson
I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
— On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, November 1766
— Benjamin Franklin
I am George Rogers Clark. You have just become a prisoner of the Commonwealth of Virginia.— George Rogers Clark
I am heartily rejoiced that my term is so near its close. I will soon cease to be a servant and will become a sovereign.— James K. Polk
I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too.— Thomas Jefferson
I am persuaded that a firm union is as necessary to perpetuate our liberties as it is to make us respectable; and experience will probably prove that the National Government will be as natural a guardian of our freedom as the State Legislatures.
— Speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
I am principled against this kind of traffic in the human species...and to disperse the families I have an aversion.
— Letter to Robert Lewis, August 18, 1799
— George Washington
I am sorry to think that you do not get a man's most effective criticism until you provoke him. Severe truth is expressed with some bitterness.— Henry David Thoreau
I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials.— George Mason
I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them. — Samuel Adams
I begin to grow heartily tired of the etiquette and nonsense so fashionable in this city.— George Mason
I believe and I say it is true Democratic feeling, that all the measures of the Government are directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer.— William Henry Harrison
I believe in one God, the first and great cause of goodness. I also believe in Jesus Christ, the rebirth of the world. I also believe in the Holy Ghost, the comforter.— Daniel Morgan
I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.— Thomas Paine
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
— Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin (1802)
— Thomas Jefferson
I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.— Thomas Jefferson
I call the mind free which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith...— William Ellery
I call you to witness that I was the first member of the Congress who ventured to come out in public, as I did in January 1776, in my Thoughts on Government ... in favor of a government with three branches and an independent judiciary. This pamphlet, you know, was very unpopular. No man appeared in public to support it but yourself. — John Adams
I can never consent to being dictated to.— John Tyler
I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.— George Washington
I can truly say I had rather be at Mount Vernon with a friend or two about me, than to be attended at the Seat of Government by the Officers of State and the Representatives of every Power in Europe.
— Letter to David Stuart, June 15, 1790
— George Washington
I cannot consent that my mortal body shall be laid in a repository prepared for an Emperor or a King. My republican feelings and principles forbid it; the simplicity of our system of government forbids it.— Andrew Jackson
I cannot consent to be led three or four hundred leagues out of my route, without its being by force of arms.— Zebulon Pike
I cannot live without books.— Thomas Jefferson
I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.
— 4 Annals of Congress 179 (1794)
— James Madison
I conceive that the great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by false estimates they have made of the value of things.— Benjamin Franklin
I consider the people who constitute a society or a nation as the source of all authority in that nation — Thomas Jefferson
I contend that the strongest of all governments is that which is most free.— William Henry Harrison
I could dwell on the importance of piety and religion; of industry and frugality; of prudence, economy, regularity and an even government; all which are essential to the well-being of a family. But I have not Time. I cannot however help repeating Piety, because I think it indispensible. Religion in a Family is at once its brightest Ornament & its best Security. The first Point of Justice, says a Writer I have met with, consists in Piety; Nothing certainly being so great a Debt upon us, as to render to the Creator & Preserver those Acknowledgments which are due to Him for our Being, and the hourly Protection he affords us.
— Letter to Thomas Wells, November 22, 1780
— Samuel Adams
I deem one of the essential principles of our government: equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political — Thomas Jefferson
I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.— Henry David Thoreau
I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.— Benjamin Franklin
I differ materially from Capt. Lewis, in my account of the numbers, manners, and morals of the Sioux.— Zebulon Pike
I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.— Thomas Jefferson
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.— Thomas Jefferson
I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution. And if that is not the guide in expounding it, there may be no security
— Letter to Henry Lee, June 25, 1824
— James Madison
I feel in the depths of my soul that it is the highest, most sacred, and most irreversible part of my obligation to preserve the union of these states, although it may cost me my life.— Andrew Jackson
I find that he is happiest of whom the world says least, good or bad.— Thomas Jefferson
I find that I agree fully with my good friend Patrick Henry when he said it cannot be emphasized too strongly or to often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on The Gosple of Jesus Christ.— Edward Rutledge
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.— Thomas Jefferson
I further believe that all must be saved through the merits of Christ.— Daniel Morgan
I gave my parole once, and it has been shamefully violated by the British Government; I shall not give another to people on whom no faith can be reposed.— Christopher Gadsden
I give my signature to many Bills with which my Judgment is at variance.... From the Nature of the Constitution, I must approve all parts of a Bill, or reject it in total. To do the latter can only be Justified upon the clear and obvious grounds of propriety; and I never had such confidence in my own faculty of judging as to be over tenacious of the opinions I may have imbibed in doubtful cases.
— Letter to Edmund Pendleton, September 23, 1793
— George Washington
I give no more paroles to British officers.— Christopher Gadsden
I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?
— Federalist No. 84, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
I go on the principle that a public debt is a public curse.— James Madison
I grew convinced that truth, sincerity, and integrity in dealings between man and man were of the utmost importance to the felicity of life.... Revelation had indeed, no weight with me as such; but I entertained an opinion that, though certain actions might not be bad because they were forbidden by it, or good because it commanded them, yet probably those actions might be forbidden because they were bad for us, or commanded because they were beneficial to us, in their own natures.
— Autobiography (1771)
— Benjamin Franklin
I guess I don't so much mind being old, as I mind being fat and old.— Benjamin Franklin
I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.
— Letter to Francis Van der Kamp, May 28, 1788
— George Washington
I had rather be right than be President.— Henry Clay
I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.— Henry David Thoreau
I have a great deal of company in the house, especially in the morning when nobody calls.— Henry David Thoreau
I have accepted a seat in the [Massachusetts] House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and to the ruin of our children. I give you this warning that you may prepare your mind for your fate.
— Letter to Abigail Adams, May 1770
— John Adams
I have alternately been called an Aristocrat and a Democrat. I am neither. I am a Christocrat.
— In a letter to friend David Ramsay, 1789
— Benjamin Rush
I have always been afraid of banks.— Andrew Jackson
I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.— Henry David Thoreau
I have always considered marriage as the most interesting event of one`s life, the foundation of happiness or misery.
— Letter to Burwell Bassett, May 23, 1785
— George Washington
I have always done my duty. I am ready to die. My only regret is for the friends I leave behind me.— Zachary Taylor
I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks.— Henry David Thoreau
I have found that hollow, which even I had relied on for solid.— Henry David Thoreau
I have from my Youth been indefatigable studious to gain and treasure up in my Mind all useful and desirable Knowledge, especially such as tends to improve the Mind, and enlarge the Understanding.
— Silence Dogood Letter #3 - April 30, 1722
— Benjamin Franklin
I have great satisfaction in stating that our relations with France, Russia, and other powers continue on the most friendly basis.— James Monroe
I have heard something said about allegiance to the South. I know no South, no North, no East, no West, to which I owe any allegiance.— Henry Clay
I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.— Henry David Thoreau
I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will.— Henry David Thoreau
I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office.— Thomas Jefferson
I have no doubt but that the misery of the lower classes will be found to abate whenever the Government assumes a freer aspect and the laws favor a subdivision of Property.— James Madison
I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.— Thomas Jefferson
I have no other view than to promote the public good, and am unambitious of honors not founded in the approbation of my Country.— George Washington
I have not yet begun to fight!— John Paul Jones
I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is the Christian Religion. If they had that and I had not given them one shilling they would have been rich; and if they had not that and I had given them all the world, they would be poor.— Patrick Henry
I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.
— Letter to the General Committee of the United Baptist Churches in Virginia, May, 1789
— George Washington
I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.— Thomas Jefferson
I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another.— Thomas Jefferson
I have seen how the foundations of the world are laid, and I have not the least doubt that it will stand a good while.— Henry David Thoreau
I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
— To Dr. Benjamin Rush (23 Sept. 1800)
— Thomas Jefferson
I have thought fit, according to the ancient and laudable Practice of our renowned ancestors, to appoint a day of PUBLIC THANKSGIVING to God, for the great benefits which HE has been pleased to bestow upon us, in the Year past. And I do by advice and consent of the Council, appoint THURSDAY the Nineteenth day of November next, to be observed as a DAY of PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAISE throughout this Commonwealth: Calling upon the Ministers of the Gospel of all Denominations, with their respective Congregations to assemble on that Day to offer to God, their unfeigned Gratitude, for his great Goodness to the People of the United States in general, and of this Commonwealth in particular.
— Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving, October 14, 1795
— Samuel Adams
I have thought there was some advantage even in death, by which we mingle with the herd of common men.— Henry David Thoreau
I haven't heard anything or seen anything out there that would lead me to believe that all of a sudden there's an unexpected drop in PCs.— Daniel Morgan
I hope Congress, before they adjourn will take into very serious Consideration the necessary Amendments of the Constitution. Those whom I call the best - the most judicious & disinterested Federalists, who wish for the perpetual Union, Liberty & Happiness of the States & their respective Citizens, many of them if not all are anxiously expecting them. They wish to see a Line drawn as clearly as may be, between the federal Powers vested in Congress and the distinct Sovereignty of the several States upon which the private & personal Rights of the Citizens depend. Without such Distinction there will be Danger of the Constitution issuing imperceptibly and gradually into a consolidated Government over all the States: which, although it may be wished for by some was reprobated in the Idea by the highest Advocates for the Constitution as it stood without Amendments. I am fully persuaded that the population of the U S living different Climates, of different Education and Manners, and possessed of different Habits & feelings under one consolidated Government can not long remain free, or indeed remain under any kind of Government but despotism.
— Letter to Elbridge Gerry, August 22, 1789
— Samuel Adams
I hope our people will keep up their courage. i have not doubt of their finally succeeding by the blessing of GOD, nor have I any doubt that so good a cause will fail of that blessing
— Letter to an unknown correspondent (25 Oct. 1776)
— Benjamin Franklin
I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.— Thomas Jefferson
I hope that I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man
— To Alexander Hamilton, 1788
— George Washington
I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.— Thomas Jefferson
I hope, some day or another, we shall become a storehouse and granary for the world.
— Letter to Marquis de Lafayette, June 19, 1788
— George Washington
I know but one code of morality for men, whether acting singly or collectively. He who says I will be a rouge when I act in company with a hundred others, but an honest man when I act alone, will be believed in former assertion, but not in the latter… if the morality of one man produces a just line of conduct in him, acting individually, why should not the morality of one hundred men produce a just line of conduct in them, acting together?
— 1789
— Thomas Jefferson
I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of Constitutional power.
— To William C. Jarvis, 1820
— Thomas Jefferson
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.— Henry David Thoreau
I know that the acquisition of Louisiana has been disapproved by some ... that the enlargement of our territory would endanger its union.... The larger our association the less will it be shaken by local passions; and in any view is it not better that the opposite bank of the Mississippi should be settled by our own brethren and children than by strangers of another family?— Thomas Jefferson
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
— Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
— Henry David Thoreau
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.— Thomas Jefferson
I like the noise of democracy.— James Buchanan
I look upon death to be as necessary to our constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning.— Benjamin Franklin
I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.— Thomas Paine
I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.— Henry David Thoreau
I mean, my friend, to let you know how deeply I am impressed with a sense of the importance of Amendments; that the good people may clearly see the distinction, for there is a distinction, between the federal powers vested in Congress and the sovereign authority belonging to the several States, which is the Palladium (the protection) of the private and personal rights of the citizens.
— Letter to Richard Henry Lee, August 24, 1789
— Samuel Adams
I mistrust the judgment of every man in a case in which his own wishes are concerned.— Daniel Webster
I must not write a word to you about politics, because you are a woman.— John Adams
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
— Letter to Abigail Adams, 1780
— John Adams
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.— Thomas Jefferson
I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man.
— Federalist No. 85, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.— Henry David Thoreau
I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. — John Muir
I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.— Thomas Jefferson
I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.
— Circular letter of farewell to the Army, June 8, 1783
— George Washington
I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn. — Henry David Thoreau
I own myself the friend to a very free system of commerce, and hold it as a truth, that commercial shackles are generally unjust, oppressive and impolitic it is also a truth, that if industry and labour are left to take their own course, they will generally be directed to those objects which are the most productive, and this in a more certain and direct manner than the wisdom of the most enlightened legislature could point out.
— Speech to the Congress, April 9, 1789
— James Madison
I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.— Thomas Jefferson
I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.
— Letter to Abigail Adams, November 2, 1800, upon moving into the White House
— John Adams
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.— Thomas Jefferson
I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.— Henry David Thoreau
I reflected in my Mind on the extream Folly of those Parents, who, blind to their Childrens Dulness, and insensible of the Solidity of their Skulls, because they think their Purses can afford it, will needs send them to the Temple of Learning, where, for want of a suitable Genius, they learn little more than how to carry themselves handsomely, and enter a Room genteely, (which might as well be acquir’d at a Dancing-School,) and from whence they return, after Abundance of Trouble and Charge, as great Blockheads as ever, only more proud and self-conceited.
— Silence Dogood, No. 4
— Benjamin Franklin
I rejoice in a belief that intellectual light will spring up in the dark corners of the earth; that freedom of enquiry will produce liberality of conduct; that mankind will reverse the absurd position that the many were, made for the few; and that they will not continue slaves in one part of the globe, when they can become freemen in another.
— Draft of First Inaugural Address, April 1789
— George Washington
I retired from public Business from a thorough Conviction that it was not in my Power to do any Good, and very much disgusted with Measures, which appeared to me inconsistent with common Policy and Justice.— George Mason
I saw few die of hunger; of eating, a hundred thousand.— Benjamin Franklin
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.
— Walden
— Henry David Thoreau
I should have no objection to go over the same life from its beginning to the end: requesting only the advantage authors have, of correcting in a second edition the faults of the first.— Benjamin Franklin
I should not regret a fair and full trial of the entire abolition of capital punishment.— James Madison
I stand in awe of my body.— Henry David Thoreau
I thank God that I have lived to see my country independent and free. She may long enjoy her independence and freedom if she will. It depends on her virtue. — Samuel Adams
I therefore beg that you would indulge me with the liberty of declining the arduous trust.— Christopher Gadsden
I think also, that general virtue is more probably to be expected and obtained from the education of youth, than from exhortations of adult persons; bad habits and vices of the mind being, like diseases of the body, more easily prevented than cured. I think moreover, that talents for the education of youth are the gift of God; and that he on whom they are bestowed, whenever a way is opened for use of them, is as strongly called as if he heard a voice from heaven... — Benjamin Franklin
I think he [Jefferson] had one more vote than any other, and that placed him at the head of the committee. I had the next highest number, and that placed me second. The committee met, discussed the subject, [of the Declaration of Independence] and then appointed Mr. Jefferson and me to make the draught, I suppose because we were the two first on the list. The subcommittee met. Jefferson proposed to me to make the draught. Adams: I will not. Jefferson: You should do it. Adams: Oh! no. Jefferson Why will you not? You ought to do it. Adams: I will not. Jefferson: Why? Adams: Reasons enough. Jefferson: What can be your reasons?
— To Thomas Jefferson concerning the drafting of the Declaration, June 1775
— John Adams
I think with the Romans, that the general of today should be a soldier tomorrow if necessary.— Thomas Jefferson
I think with you , that nothing is more important for the public weal, than to form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue. Wise and good men are in my opinion, the strength of the state; more so than riches or arms... — Benjamin Franklin
I tread in the footsteps of illustrious men... in receiving from the people the sacred trust confided to my illustrious predecessor.— Martin Van Buren
I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.— Thomas Jefferson
I trust that the proposed Constitution afford a genuine specimen of representative government and republican government; and that it will answer, in an eminent degree, all the beneficial purposes of society.
— Speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health, and the liberties of man. — Thomas Jefferson
I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up.— Benjamin Franklin
I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.— George Washington
I want to go to sea.— Joshua Barney
I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way.— Thomas Jefferson
I was born an American; I will live an American; I shall die an American.— Daniel Webster
I was informed... that some... were dreaming and wished to return.— Zebulon Pike
I was more independent than any farmer in Concord, for I was not anchored to a house or farm, but could follow the bent of my genius, which is a very crooked one, every moment.— Henry David Thoreau
I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.
— On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
— Henry David Thoreau
I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love.
— First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789
— George Washington
I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its successful experiment that corruption has been imputed to many members of the House of Representatives, and the rights of the people have been bartered for promises of office.— Andrew Jackson
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.
— Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
— Henry David Thoreau
I will venture to assert that no combination of designing men under heaven will be capable of making a government unpopular which is in its principles a wise and good one, and vigorous in its operations.
— Speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
I wish from my soul that the legislature of this State could see a policy of a gradual Abolition of Slavery.
— Letter to Lawrence Lewis, August 4, 1797
— George Washington
I wish I knew where to get a good one myself; for I find cold Sheets extreamly disagreeable.— George Mason
I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way.— John Paul Jones
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.— Thomas Jefferson
I would rather be right than President.— Henry Clay
I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.— Henry David Thoreau
I would sincerely regret, and which never shall happen whilst I am in office, a military guard around the President.— Andrew Jackson
I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.— Thomas Jefferson
I've got big shoes to fill. This is my chance to do something. I have to seize the moment.— Andrew Jackson
If a man constantly aspires is he not elevated?— Henry David Thoreau
If a man could have half of his wishes, he would double his troubles.— Benjamin Franklin
If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him.— Benjamin Franklin
If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.— Henry David Thoreau
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.— Thomas Jefferson
If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security. If standing armies are dangerous to liberty, an efficacious power over the militia in the same body ought, as far as possible, to take away the inducement and the pretext to such unfriendly institutions. If the federal government can command the aid of the militia in those emergencies which call for the military arm in support of the civil magistrate, it can the better dispense with the employment of a different kind of force. If it cannot avail itself of the former, it will be obliged to recur to the latter. To render an army unnecessary will be a more certain method of preventing its existence than a thousand prohibitions upon paper.
— Federalist No. 29, January 10, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.— Benjamin Franklin
If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.... [But lacking these] you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself — James Madison
If by the liberty of the press were understood merely the liberty of discussing the propriety of public measures and political opinions, let us have as much of it as you please: But if it means the liberty of affronting, calumniating and defaming one another, I, for my part, own myself willing to part with my share of it, whenever our legislators shall please so to alter the law and shall chearfully consent to exchange my liberty of abusing others for the privilege of not being abused myself.
— An Account of the Supremest Court of Judicature in Pennsylvania, viz. The Court of the Press, September 12, 1789
— Benjamin Franklin
If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.
— Letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792
— James Madison
If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product to the treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds. This forms a complete barrier against any material oppression of the citizens by taxes of this class, and is itself a natural limitation of the power of imposing them.
— Federalist No. 21, 1787
— Alexander Hamilton
If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experienced Patriots to prevent its Ruin.
— Letter to James Warren, October 24, 1780
— Samuel Adams
If fear is cultivated it will become stronger, if faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery.— John Paul Jones
If free governments the rulers are the servants, and the people their superiors and sovereigns. For the former, therefore, to return among the latter was not to degrade but to promote them.
— Convention debate (26 July 1787)
— Benjamin Franklin
If God is just, I tremble for my country.— Thomas Jefferson
If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.
— Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789
— George Washington
If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.— Henry David Thoreau
If I seem to boast more than is becoming, my excuse is that I brag for humanity rather than for myself.— Henry David Thoreau
If in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates.
— 1796 - Farewell Address
— George Washington
If it be asked what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer, the genius of the whole system, the nature of just and constitutional laws, and above all the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.
— Federalist No. 57, February 19, 1788
— James Madison
If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last.... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.
— Essay in the American Daily Advertiser, Aug 28, 1794
— Alexander Hamilton
If it is surely the means to the highest end we know, can any work be humble or disgusting? Will it not rather be elevating as a ladder, the means by which we are translated?— Henry David Thoreau
If laws acting upon private interests can not always be avoided, they should be confined within the narrowest limits, and left wherever possible to the legislatures of the States.— Martin Van Buren
If mankind were to resolve to agree in no institution of government, until every part of it had been adjusted to the most exact standard of perfection, society would soon become a general scene of anarchy, and the world a desert.
— Federalist No. 65, March 7, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
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.
— Letter to Elbridge Gerry, November 27, 1780
— Samuel Adams
If men through fear, fraud or mistake, should in terms renounce and give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the great end of society, would absolutely vacate such renunciation; the right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of Man to alienate this gift, and voluntarily become a slave.
— Rights of the Colonists, 1772
— John Adams
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 in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.
— Federalist No. 51, February 8, 1788
— James Madison
If misery loves company, misery has company enough.— Henry David Thoreau
If my acceptance of the office of Governor would serve my country, though my administration would be attended with the loss of personal credit and reputation, I would cheerfully undertake it.— Christopher Gadsden
If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information and benevolence.... — John Adams
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.— Henry David Thoreau
If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.— Benjamin Franklin
If success attends my steps, honor and glory await my name-if defeat, still shall it be said we died like brave men, and conferred honor, even in death, on the American Name.— Zebulon Pike
If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.
— Federalist No. 33, January 3, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.— George Washington
If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.— Henry David Thoreau
If the people should elect, they will never fail to prefer some man of distinguished character, or services; some man, if he might so speak of continental reputation.— Gouverneur Morris
If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?— Thomas Jefferson
If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by the sword.— Andrew Jackson
If there is a form of government, then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?
— Thoughts on Government, 1776
— John Adams
If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.— Thomas Jefferson
If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.
— The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776
— Thomas Paine
If there should chance to be any mathematicians who, ignorant in mathematics yet pretending to skill in that science, should dare, upon the authority of some passage of Scripture wrested to their purpose, to condemn and censure my hypothesis, I value them not, and scorn their inconsiderate judgement.
— De Revolutionibus Coelestibus
— Nicolaus Copernicus
If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.— Benjamin Franklin
If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.— James Madison
If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.
— Letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779
— Samuel Adams
If we are to take for the criterion of truth the majority of suffrages, they ought to be gotten from those philosophic and patriotic citizens who cultivate their reason.— James Madison
If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy. — Thomas Jefferson
If we continue to be a happy people, that happiness must be assured by the enacting and executing of reasonable and wise laws, expressed in the plainest language, and by establishing such modes of education as tend to inculcate in the minds of youth, the feelings and habits of piety, religion and morality, and to lead them to the knowledge and love of those truly Republican principles upon which our civil institutions are founded.
— Address to the Legislature o f Massachusetts, January 16, 1795
— Samuel Adams
If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.
— Annual Message, December 1793
— George Washington
If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.— Thomas Paine
If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?— John Adams
If we go to Chihuahua we must be considered as prisoners of war?— Zebulon Pike
If we look to the history of other nations, ancient or modern, we find no example of a growth so rapid, so gigantic, of a people so prosperous and happy.— James Monroe
If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior.
— Federalist No. 39, January 1788
— James Madison
If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.— Henry David Thoreau
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
— Speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776
— Samuel Adams
If you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man indeed.— James Buchanan
If you can speak what you will never hear, if you can write what you will never read, you have done rare things.— Henry David Thoreau
If you desire many things, many things will seem few.— Benjamin Franklin
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
— Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
— Henry David Thoreau
If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher's stone.— Benjamin Franklin
If you wish to avoid foreign collision, you had better abandon the ocean.— Henry Clay
If you would be loved, love, and be loveable.— Benjamin Franklin
If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see.— Henry David Thoreau
If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.— Benjamin Franklin
If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some.— Benjamin Franklin
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.— Benjamin Franklin
If you, or Colonel Dalrymple under you, have the power to remove one regiment you have the power to remove both. It is at your peril if you refuse. The meeting is composed of three thousand people. They have become impatient. A thousand men are already arrived from the neighborhood, and the whole country is in motion. Night is approaching. An immediate answer is expected. Both regiments or none!
— Address to Acting Governor Thomas Hutchinson, the day after the Boston Massacre, March 6, 1770
— Samuel Adams
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.— John Quincy Adams
If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement, we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute.
— Rights of Man, 1791
— Thomas Paine
Ignorance and bungling with love are better than wisdom and skill without.— Henry David Thoreau
Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.— Thomas Jefferson
In a few days an officer came to our camp, under a flag of truce, and informed Hamilton, then a captain of artillery, but afterwards the aid of General Washington, that Captain Hale had been arrested within the British lines condemned as a spy, and executed that morning.— William Hull
In a government whose distinguishing characteristic should be a diffusion and equalization of its benefits and burdens the advantage of individuals will be augmented at the expense of the community at large.— Martin Van Buren
In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature.
— Federalist No. 52, February 8, 1788
— James Madison
In all our associations; in all our agreements let us never lose sight of this fundamental maxim - that all power was originally lodged in, and consequently is derived from, the people.— George Mason
In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever character composed, passion never fails to wrest the sceptre from reason. ... Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.
— Federalist No. 55, February 15, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent Measure should be taken to ward off the impending Judgements....All confidence must be withheld from the Means we use; and reposed only on that GOD who rules in the Armies of Heaven, and without whose Blessing the best human Counsels are but Foolishness--and all created Power Vanity;

It is the Happiness of his Church that, when the Powers of Earth and Hell combine against it...that the Throne of Grace is of the easiest access--and its Appeal thither is graciously invited by the Father of Mercies, who has assured it, that when his Children ask Bread he will not give them a Stone....

RESOLVED, That it be, and hereby is recommended to the good People of this Colony of all Denominations, that THURSDAY the Eleventh Day of May next be set apart as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer...to confess the sins...to implore the Forgiveness of all our Transgression...and a blessing on the Husbandry, Manufactures, and other lawful Employments of this People; and especially that the union of the American Colonies in Defense of their Rights (for hitherto we desire to thank Almighty GOD) may be preserved and confirmed....And that AMERICA may soon behold a gracious Interposition of Heaven.
— April 15, 1775
— John Hancock
In disquisitions of every kind there are certain primary truths, or first principles, upon which all subsequent reasoning must depend.
— Federalist No. 31, January 1, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
In England the judges should have independence to protect the people against the crown. Here the judges should not be independent of the people, but be appointed for not more than seven years. The people would always re-elect the good judges.— Andrew Jackson
In Europe, charters of liberty have been granted by power. America has set the example ... of charters of power granted by liberty. This revolution in the practice of the world, may, with an honest praise, be pronounced the most triumphant epoch of its history, and the most consoling presage of its happiness.
— National Gazette Essay, January 18, 1792
— James Madison
In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer for their purposes.
— In a letter to Horatio Spofford, 1814
— Thomas Jefferson
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. — John Muir
In forming the Senate, the great anchor of the Government, the questions as they came within the first object turned mostly on the mode of appointment, and the duration of it.
— Letter to Thomas Jefferson, October 24, 1787
— James Madison
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
In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires.— Benjamin Franklin
In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood.— Henry David Thoreau
In looking back, I see nothing to regret and little to correct.— John C. Calhoun
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.— Thomas Jefferson
In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society.— Henry David Thoreau
In my proper character, I am an officer of the United States Army.— Zebulon Pike
In no instance have... the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.— James Madison
In our nature, however, there is a provision, alike marvelous and merciful, that the sufferer should never know the intensity of what he endures by its present torture, but chiefly by the pang that rankles after it.— Nathaniel Hawthorne
In our progress toward political happiness my station is new; and if I may use the expression, I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.
— Letter to Catherine Macaulay Graham, January 9, 1790
— George Washington
In politics the middle way is none at all.— John Adams
In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.
— Federalist No. 1, October 27, 1787
— Alexander Hamilton
In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.
— Farewell Address, September 19, 1796
— George Washington
In questions of power then let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.
— Kentucky Resolutions - 1798
— Thomas Jefferson
In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practised, and, both by precept and example, inculcated on mankind.
— The Rights of the Colonists, November 20, 1772
— Samuel Adams
In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority.— James Madison
In the affairs of this world, men are saved not by faith, but by the want of it.— Benjamin Franklin
In the first place, it is to be remembered, that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws: its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.
— Federalist No. 14, November 30, 1787
— James Madison
In the first place, there is not a syllable in the plan under consideration which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution, or which gives them any greater latitude in this respect than may be claimed by the courts of every State.
— Federalist No. 81, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.— Henry David Thoreau
In the meanest are all the materials of manhood, only they are not rightly disposed.— Henry David Thoreau
In the midst of these pleasing ideas we should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.
— Inaugural Address, March 4, 1797
— John Adams
In the supposed state of nature, all men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly, the laws of the Creator. They are imprinted by the finger of God on the heart of man. Thou shall do no injury to thy neighbor, is the voice of nature and reason, and it is confirmed by written revelation.
— Having just risen from Lieutenant Governor when Governor John Hancock died, 1794
— Samuel Adams
In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, not does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defence.— James Monroe
In truth, politeness is artificial good humor, it covers the natural want of it, and ends by rendering habitual a substitute nearly equivalent to the real virtue.— Thomas Jefferson
In what concerns you much, do not think that you have companions: know that you are alone in the world.— Henry David Thoreau
In wilderness is the preservation of the world.— Henry David Thoreau
Inconsistencies of opinion, arising from changes of circumstances, are often justifiable.— Daniel Webster
Industry is increased, commodities are multiplied, agriculture and manufacturers flourish: and herein consists the true wealth and prosperity of a state.
— Report on a National Bank, December 13, 1790
— Alexander Hamilton
Industry need not wish.— Benjamin Franklin
Information is the currency of democracy.— Thomas Jefferson
Instead of noblemen, let us have noble villages of men.— Henry David Thoreau
Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.
— Farewell Address, September 19, 1796
— George Washington
Is it not a species of blasphemy to call the New Testament revealed religion, when we see in it such contradictions and absurdities.— Thomas Paine
Is it not the glory of the people of America, that whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names, to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience? To this manly spirit, posterity will be indebted for the possession, and the world for the example of the numerous innovations displayed on the American theatre, in favor of private rights and public happiness
— Federalist No. 14, November 30, 1787
— James Madison
Is the babe young? When I behold it, it seems more venerable than the oldest man.— Henry David Thoreau
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.
— Speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 20, 1788
— James Madison
It affords me sincere pleasure to be able to apprise you of the entire removal of the Cherokee Nation of Indians to their new homes west of the Mississippi.— Martin Van Buren
It already appears, that there must be in every society of men superiors and inferiors, because God has laid in the constitution and course of nature the foundations of the distinction.
— Thoughts on Government, 1776
— John Adams
It appears to be a law that you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature.— Henry David Thoreau
It appears to me that little more than common sense and common honesty in the transactions of the community at large would b necessary to make us a great and a happy nation. For if the general government lately adopted shall be arranged and administered in such a manner as to acquire the full confidence of the American people, I sincerely believe they will have greater advantages, from their natural, moral, and political circumstances, for public felicity than any other people ever possessed
— To the citizens of Baltimore, 1789
— George Washington
It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the Delegates from so many different States ... should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well founded objections.
— Letter to Marquis de Lafayette, February 7, 1788
— George Washington
It becomes all therefore who are friends of a Government based on free principles to reflect, that by denying the possibility of a system partly federal and partly consolidated, and who would convert ours into one either wholly federal or wholly consolidated, in neither of which forms have individual rights, public order, and external safety, been all duly maintained, they aim a deadly blow at the last hope of true liberty on the face of the Earth.
— Notes on Nullification
— James Madison
It becomes us in humility to make our devout acknowledgments to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for the inestimable civil and religious blessings with which we are favored.— James K. Polk
It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.— Thomas Jefferson
It contributes greatly towards a man's moral and intellectual health, to be brought into habits of companionship with individuals unlike himself, who care little for his pursuits, and whose sphere and abilities he must go out of himself to appreciate.— Nathaniel Hawthorne
It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.— Thomas Jefferson
It has been observed, that education has a greater influence on manners, than human laws can have. Human laws excite fears and apprehensions, least crimes committed may be detected and punished: But a virtuous education is calculated to reach and influence the heart, and to prevent crimes. A very judicious writer, has quoted Plato, who in shewing what care for the security of States ought to be taken of the education of youth, speaks of it as almost sufficient to supply the place both of Legislation and Administration. Such an education, which leads the youth beyond mere outside shew, will impress their minds with a profound reverence of the Deity, universal benevolence, and a warm attachment and affection towards their country. It will excite in them a just regard to Divine Revelation, which informs them of the original character and dignity of Man; and it will inspire them with a sense of true honor, which consists in conforming as much as possible, their principles, habits, and manners to that original character. It will enlarge their powers of mind, and prompt them impartially to search for truth in the consideration of every subject that may employ their thoughts; and among other branches of knowledge, it will instruct them in the skill of political architecture and jurisprudence; and qualify them to discover any error, if there should be such, in the forms and administration of Governments, and point out the method of correcting them.
— Address to Massachusetts Legislature as Governor, January 17, 1794
— Samuel Adams
It has been said that all Government is an evil. It would be more proper to say that the necessity of any Government is a misfortune. This necessity however exists; and the problem to be solved is, not what form of Government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect.
— To an unidentified correspondent, 1833
— James Madison
It has been thought a dangerous thing in any state to stop up the vent of griefs. Wise governments have therefore generally received petitions with some indulgence, even when but slightly founded.
— Letter to Thomas Cushing (15 Feb. 1774)
— Benjamin Franklin
It has ever been my hobby-horse to see rising in America an empire of liberty, and a prospect of two or three hundred millions of freemen, without one noble or one king among them. You say it is impossible. If I should agree with you in this, I would still say, let us try the experiment, and preserve our equality as long as we can. A better system of education for the common people might preserve them long from such artificial inequalities as are prejudicial to society, by confounding the natural distinctions of right and wrong, virtue and vice.
— Letter to Count Sarsfield, February 3, 1786
— John Adams
It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.— Henry David Thoreau
It is a common observation here [Europe] that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own. It is a glorious task assigned us by Providence, which has, I trust, given us spirit and virtue equal to it, and will at last crown it with success.
— Letter to Samuel Cooper (1 May 1777)
— Benjamin Franklin
It is a damn poor mind indeed which can't think of at least two ways to spell any word.— Andrew Jackson
It is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness and I pronounce it as certain that there was never a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.— Benjamin Franklin
It is a just observation that the people commonly intend the Public Good. This often applies to their very errors. But their good sense would despise the adulator who should pretend they always reason right about the means of promoting it.
— Federalist No. 71, March 18, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
It is a principle incorporated into the settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute.
— Letter to the Dey of Algiers, August, 1816
— James Madison
It is a singular advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess. They prescribe their own limit, which cannot be exceeded without defeating the end purposed — that is, an extension of the revenue.
— Federalist No. 21
— Alexander Hamilton
It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.— James Madison
It is a very great mistake to imagine that the object of loyalty is the authority and interest of one individual man, however dignified by the applause or enriched by the success of popular actions.
— Loyalty and Sedition, essay in The Advertiser, 1748
— Samuel Adams
It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.— Thomas Jefferson
It is an affront to treat falsehood with complaisance.— Thomas Paine
It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.— Henry David Thoreau
It is an old adage that honesty is the best policy. This applies to public as well as private life, to states as well as individuals.
— To James Madison, 1785
— George Washington
It is an unquestionable truth, that the body of the people in every country desire sincerely its prosperity. But it is equally unquestionable that they do not possess the discernment and stability necessary for systematic government. To deny that they are frequently led into the grossest of errors, by misinformation and passion, would be a flattery which their own good sense must despise.
— Speech to the Ratifying Convention of New York, June, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
It is as hard to see one's self as to look backwards without turning around.— Henry David Thoreau
It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil.— Henry David Thoreau
It is better to be alone than in bad company.— George Washington
It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are... than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.— Henry David Thoreau
It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.— George Washington
It is due to justice; due to humanity; due to truth; to the sympathies of our nature; in fine, to our character as a people, both abroad and at home, that they should be considered, as much as possible, in the light of human beings, and not as mere property. As such, they are acted upon by our laws, and have an interest in our laws.
— Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, December 2, 1829
— James Madison
It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.— Benjamin Franklin
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.— Thomas Jefferson
It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.— Thomas Paine
It is evident from the state of the country, from the habits of the people, from the experience we have had on the point itself, that it is impracticable to raise any very considerable sums by direct taxation.
— Federalist No. 12, November 27, 1787
— Alexander Hamilton
It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company.— George Washington
It is harder to preserve than to obtain liberty.— John C. Calhoun
It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.
— Federalist No. 37, January 11, 1788
— James Madison
It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are the indispensable supporters. Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that our national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
— George Washington
It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.— Thomas Jefferson
It is in the love of one's family only that heartfelt happiness is known. By a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the endearing connections of a family — Thomas Jefferson
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!— Patrick Henry
It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world. It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.— Thomas Jefferson
It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.— Thomas Jefferson
It is much easier to suppress a first desire than to satisfy those that follow.— Benjamin Franklin
It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment, independence now and independence forever.— Daniel Webster
It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.— Thomas Paine
It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.— Thomas Jefferson
It is never too late to give up our prejudices.— Henry David Thoreau
It is not a field of a few acres of ground, but a cause, that we are defending, and whether we defeat the enemy in one battle, or by degrees, the consequences will be the same.— Thomas Paine
It is not a God, just and good, but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes.— Thomas Paine
It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.— Henry David Thoreau
It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?— Henry David Thoreau
It is not everyone who asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worth of the inquiry or the deserving may suffer — George Washington
It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious.— Henry David Thoreau
It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
— Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, August 17, 1790
— George Washington
It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once finds it much easier to do it a second, and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.
— To Peter Carr, 1785
— Thomas Jefferson
It is on great occasions only, and after time has been given for cool and deliberate reflection, that the real voice of the people can be known
— Letter to Edward Carrington, May 1, 1796
— George Washington
It is one thing to be subordinate to the laws, and another [for the Executive] to be dependent on the legislative body. The first comports with, the last violates, the fundamental principles of good government; and, whatever may be the forms of the Constitution, unites all power in the same hands.
— Federalist No. 71, March 18, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty.— James Monroe
It is only when the rich are sick that they fully feel the impotence of wealth.— Benjamin Franklin
It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.— Henry David Thoreau
It is our duty still to endeavor to avoid war; but if it shall actually take place, no matter by whom brought on, we must defend ourselves. If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.— Thomas Jefferson
It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.— Henry David Thoreau
It is sufficiently obvious, that persons and property are the two great subjects on which Governments are to act; and that the rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. These rights cannot well be separated.
— Speech at the Virginia Convention, December 2, 1829
— James Madison
It is the direction and not the magnitude which is to be taken into consideration.— Thomas Paine
It is the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship.
— Thoughts on Government, 1776
— John Adams
It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.
— Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, Circa June 20, 1785
— James Madison
It is the eye of other people that ruin us. If I were blind I would want, neither fine clothes, fine houses or fine furniture.— Benjamin Franklin
It is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.
— The Rights of the Colonists, November 20, 1772
— Samuel Adams
It is the greatest of all advantages to enjoy no advantage at all.— Henry David Thoreau
It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.
— The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776
— Thomas Paine
It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.— Benjamin Franklin
It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes.— Andrew Jackson
It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued; and that no form of government whatever has any other value than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object.
— Federalist No. 45, January 26, 1788
— James Madison
It is too late to be studying Hebrew; it is more important to understand even the slang of today.— Henry David Thoreau
It is undoubtedly the Duty of all Persons to server the Country they live in, according to their abilities..
— Silence Dogood Letter #3 - April 30, 1722
— Benjamin Franklin
It is usually the imagination that is wounded first, rather than the heart; it being much more sensitive.— Henry David Thoreau
It is what a man thinks of himself that really determines his fate.— Henry David Thoreau
It is yet to be decided whether the Revolution must ultimately be considered as a blessing or a curse: a blessing or a curse, not to the present age alone, for with our fate will the destiny of unborn millions be involved.
— Circular to the States, 1783
— George Washington
It may be considered as an objection inherent in the principle, that as every appeal to the people would carry an implication of some defect in the government, frequent appeals would in great measure deprive the government of that veneration which time bestows on every thing, and without which perhaps the wisest and freest governments would not possess the requisite stability.
— Federalist No. 49, February 5, 1788
— James Madison
It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it.— George Washington
It may not be proper for me, perhaps, to let my feelings carry me further am therefore resigned to stop here, if sir, you think my particular reasons following too free, or will give offense to the House, which I would be sorry to be thought capable of intending.— Christopher Gadsden
It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us 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 more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
— Letter to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776
— John Adams
It seems proper, at all events, that by an early enactment similar to that of other countries the application of public money by an officer of Government to private uses should be made a felony and visited with severe and ignominious punishment.— Martin Van Buren
It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win.— John Paul Jones
It seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.
— Federalist No. 1, October 27, 1787
— Alexander Hamilton
It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn.
— Letter to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, September 5, 1789
— George Washington
It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.
— Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756
— John Adams
It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.— Benjamin Franklin
It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.— Thomas Jefferson
It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear.— Henry David Thoreau
It was hard to make fun of him because he seemed to have so much fun making fun of himself.— James Barron
It was remarked yesterday that a numerous representation was necessary to obtain the confidence of the people. This is not generally true. The confidence of the people will easily be gained by a good administration. This is the true touchstone.
— Speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
It was settled by the Constitution, the laws, and the whole practice of the government that the entire executive power is vested in the President of the United States.— Andrew Jackson
It was the wish of the Americans that their red brethren should remain peacefully round their own fires, and not embroil themselves in any disputes between the white people.— Zebulon Pike
It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.
— George Washington
It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.— James Madison
It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.
— Federalist No. 62, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a People always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.
— Farewell Address, September 19, 1796
— George Washington
It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it. After discriminating, therefore, in theory, the several classes of power, as they may in their nature be legislative, executive, or judiciary, the next and most difficult task is to provide some practical security for each, against the invasion of the others.
— Federalist No. 48, February 1, 1788
— James Madison
It will not be doubted, that with reference either to individual, or National Welfare, Agriculture is of primary importance. In proportion as Nations advance in population, and other circumstances of maturity, this truth becomes more apparent; and renders the cultivation of the Soil more and more, an object of public patronage.
— Eighth Annual Message to Congress, 1796
— George Washington
It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station [of President] filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue.
— Federalist No. 68, March 14, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
It would be judicious to act with magnanimity towards a prostrate foe.— Zachary Taylor
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.— Henry David Thoreau
Its soul, its climate, its equality, liberty, laws, people, and manners. My god! how little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!— Thomas Jefferson

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