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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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O earth, what changes hast thou seen! — Alfred, Lord Tennyson
O Lord, help me not to despise or oppose what I do not understand. — William Penn
O love, if I regret the age when one savors you, it is not for the hour of pleasure, but for the one that follows it. — Jean-Jacques Rousseau
O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical, no longer a democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?
— speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778
— Patrick Henry
Objects of the most stupendous magnitude, and measure in which the lives and liberties of millions yet unborn are intimately interested, are now before us. We are in the very midst of a revolution the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations
— Letter to William Cushing, June 9, 1776
— John Adams
Observe all men, thyself most.— Benjamin Franklin
Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.
— Farewell Address, September 19, 1796
— George Washington
Of a very different nature, tho' only one degree better than the other reasoning, is all that sublimity of nonsense and alarm, that has been thundered against it in every shape of metaphoric terror, on the subject of a bill of rights, the liberty of the press, rights of conscience, rights of taxation and election, trials in the vicinity, freedom of speech, trial by jury, and a standing army. These last are undoubtedly important points, much too important to depend on mere paper protection. For, guard such privileges by the strongest expressions, still if you leave the legislative and executive power in the hands of those who are or may be disposed to deprive you of them you are but slaves.
— The Countryman, November 22, 1787
— Roger Sherman
Of all human powers operating on the affairs of mankind, none is greater than that of competition.— Henry Clay
Of all the cares or concerns of government, the direction of war most peculiarly demands those qualities which distinguish the exercise of power by a single hand. The direction of war implies the direction of the common strength; and the power of directing and employing the common strength, forms a usual and essential part in the definition of the executive authority.
— Federalist No. 74, March 25, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens... Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for live, in the sense of religious obligations desert and oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education ... reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. — George Washington
Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.— James Madison
Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character.— Henry Clay
Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.— Thomas Paine
Of all virtues and dignities of the mind, goodness is the greatest, being the character of the Deity; and without it, man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing. — Francis Bacon
Of puns it has been said that those who most dislike them are those who are least able to utter them.— Edgar Allan Poe
Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants
— Federalist No. 1, October 27, 1787
— Alexander Hamilton
Oh for a fleet that could look the pourdest power in Europe in the face, on this our rightful Western Ocean! But alas, it must be left to posterity -- at the age of 50 I can't expect to view it unless from above.— Edward Rutledge
Oh, do not read history, for that I know must be false. — Robert Walpole
Oh, eternal and everlasting God, direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb and purge my heart by the Holy Spirit. Daily, frame me more and more in the likeness of thy son, Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time obtain the resurrection of the justified unto eternal life. Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind and let the world be filled with the knowledge of thy son, Jesus Christ.
— Personal Prayer Book
— George Washington
Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new.— Henry David Thoreau
Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.— John Adams
On every unauthoritative exercise of power by the legislature must the people rise in rebellion or their silence be construed into a surrender of that power to them? If so, how many rebellions should we have had already? — Thomas Jefferson
On examining the new proposed constitution, there can be no question but that there is authority enough lodged in the proposed Federal Congress, if abused, to do the greatest injury. And it is perfectly idle to object to it, that there is no bill of rights, or to propose to add to it a provision that a trial by jury shall in no case be omitted, or to patch it up by adding a stipulation in favor of the press, or to guard it by removing the paltry objection to the right of Congress to regulate the time and manner of elections.
— The Countryman, November 22, 1787
— Roger Sherman
On landing at New York I caught the yellow fever. The kind man who commanded the ship that brought me from France took charge of me and placed me under the care of two Quaker ladies. To their skillful and untiring care I may safely say I owe my life. — John James Audubon
On no further occasion present a flag or medal to an Indian.— Zebulon Pike
On receiving from the people the sacred trust twice confided on my illustrious predecessor, and which he has discharged so faithfully and so well, I know that I can not expect to perform the arduous task with equal ability and success.— Martin Van Buren
On the 17th of May, the Delos put out to sea. I was immediately affected with sea-sickness, which, however, lasted but a short time. I remained on deck constantly, forcing myself to exercise. — John James Audubon
On the diffusion of education among the people rest the preservation and perpetuation of our free institutions.— Daniel Webster
On the distinctive principles of the Government ... of the U. States, the best guides are to be found in... The Declaration of Independence, as the fundamental Act of Union of these States.
— Letter to Thomas Jefferson, February 8, 1825
— James Madison
On the other hand, the duty imposed upon him to take care, that the laws be faithfully executed, follows out the strong injunctions of his oath of office, that he will "preserve, protect, and defend the constitution." The great object of the executive department is to accomplish this purpose; and without it, be the form of government whatever it may, it will be utterly worthless for offence, or defence; for the redress of grievances, or the protection of rights; for the happiness, or good order, or safety of the people.
— Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
— Joseph Story
Once the state has been founded, there can no longer be any heroes. They come on the scene only in uncivilized conditions.— Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary.— Edgar Allan Poe
One brave deed makes no hero. — John Greenleaf Whittier
One country, one constitution, one destiny.— Daniel Webster
One day I caught four Dolphins, how much I have gazed at these beautiful creatures... as they changed their hue in twenty varieties of richest arrangement of tints. — John James Audubon
One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.— Thomas Paine
One great object of the Constitution was to restrain majorities from oppressing minorities or encroaching upon their just rights.— James K. Polk
One hundred and seventy-three despots would surely be as oppressive as one.
— Federalist No. 48, February 1, 1788
— James Madison
One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something.— Henry David Thoreau
One man with courage is a majority.— Thomas Jefferson
One man with courage makes a majority.— Andrew Jackson
One must maintain a little bittle of summer, even in the middle of winter.— Henry David Thoreau
One of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one's house. A man's house is his castle.
— On the Writs of Assistance, 1761
— James Otis Jr.
One of the surest ways of forming good combinations in war would be to order movements only after obtaining perfect information of the enemy's proceedings. In fact, how can any man say what he should do himself; if he is ignorant what his adversary is about?— Antoine-Henri Jomini
One problem with ideas, however valid, is that they are static and impersonal, whereas a person is active and dynamic.— William Hull
One today is worth two tomorrows.— Benjamin Franklin
One travels more usefully when alone, because he reflects more.— Thomas Jefferson
Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. — Benjamin Franklin
Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail.— Thomas Jefferson
Only he is successful in his business who makes that pursuit which affords him the highest pleasure sustain him.— Henry David Thoreau
Only nine States have been represented since my arrival 'till within three days. There are now Eleven States barely represented. This tardiness in the States or their Delegates, besides retarding the most important Business makes it exceeding fatiguing to those that do attend.— William Whipple Jr.
Only that day dawns to which we are awake.— Henry David Thoreau
Only the most acute and active animals are capable of boredom. - A theme for a great poet would be God's boredom on the seventh day of creation.— Lewis Cass
Opportunity makes a thief. — Francis Bacon
Ordinary readers, forgive my paradoxes: one must make them when one reflects; and whatever you may say, I prefer being a man with paradoxes than a man with prejudices. — Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Our affections as well as our bodies are in perpetual flux. — Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!
— Letter to James Warren, March 31, 1779
— George Washington
Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.
— A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, 1779
— Thomas Jefferson
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.— John Adams
Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of. Our enemies are numerous and powerful; but we have many friends, determining to be free, and heaven and earth will aid the resolution. On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves.
— Boston Massacre Oration, March 6, 1775
— Joseph Warren
Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.— Thomas Jefferson
Our country may be likened to a new house. We lack many things, but we possess the most precious of all - liberty!— James Monroe
Our country presents on every side the evidences of that continued favor under whose auspices it, has gradually risen from a few feeble and dependent colonies to a prosperous and powerful confederacy.— Martin Van Buren
Our country right or wrong.— Stephen Decatur Jr.
Our Creator would never have made such lovely days, and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal.— Nathaniel Hawthorne
Our fates are in the hands of An Almighty God, to whom I can with pleasure confide my own; he can save us, or destroy us; his Councils are fixed and cannot be disappointed, and all his designs will be Accomplished.— Abraham Clark
Our government is founded upon the intelligence of the people. I for one do not despair of the republic. I have great confidence in the virtue of the great majority of the people, and I cannot fear the result.— Andrew Jackson
Our greatest evils flow from ourselves. — Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.— Thomas Jefferson
Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed by them.— Henry David Thoreau
Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end.
— Walden
— Henry David Thoreau
Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify.
— Walden and Other Writings
— Henry David Thoreau
Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them; for those experiences have left an indelible impression, and we are ever and anon reminded of them.— Henry David Thoreau
Our most intimate friend is not he to whom we show the worst, but the best of our nature.— Nathaniel Hawthorne
Our necessities never equal our wants.— Benjamin Franklin
Our officers and men behaved like men who are determined to be free. — Anthony Wayne
Our political machine, composed of thirteen independent sovereignties, have been perpetually operating against each other and against the federal head ever since the peace.— Henry Knox
Our relations with the other powers of Europe have experienced no essential change since the last session.— James Monroe
Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.— Henry David Thoreau
Our unalterable resolution would be to be free. They have attempted to subdue us by force, but God be praised! in vain. Their arts may be more dangerous then their arms. Let us then renounce all treaty with them upon any score but that of total separation, and under God trust our cause to our swords.
— Letter to James Warren, April 16, 1776
— Samuel Adams
Our will is always for our own good, but we do not always see what that is. — Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die. — Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.— George Washington
Owing to the difficulty of obtaining horses, Mr. Henry returns from this place. In descending the Mississippi I will request him to pay his respects to you.— Zebulon Pike

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