70 Pertinent James Madison Quotes That Can Still Inspire a Better State
The 4th President of the United States was an American statesman, diplomat, and Founding Father. A close adviser to President George Washington, James Madison earned the moniker “Father of the Constitution” for his decisive role in the ratification of the Constitution and the introduction of the Bill of Rights. As change and challenges to democracy are all around us, we need to adopt a new, fresh perspective, so here we have curated for you the most pertinent James Madison Quotes that can still inspire a better state. Reflect upon them to gain insight and broaden your outlook about the future! Ignite purpose and understanding by sharing them with friends and loved ones!
Born in 1751, into a prominent family of Virginia planters, James Madison was privately tutored before pursuing further studies in classical languages, mathematics, philosophy and geography at the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University.
A Federalist and staunch nationalist, Madison authored the “Virginia Plan”, a proposal for a supreme central government with powers separated into three branches: executive, legislative and judicial, as well as a two-chambered legislature consisting of a House of Representatives and a Senate. To secure the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Madison co-authored the Federalist Papers, a collection of essays that provided political support to the cause. However, in order to avoid extreme centralism, he drafted the Bill of Rights, a group of amendments to the Constitution that guarantees civil rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech and religion. With respect to the latter, Madison is considered the architect of separation of church and state.
A fervent patriot and a champion of expansionism, Madison helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase from France, which effectively doubled the size of the United States. Later, when he became president, he led the country into the war of 1812 with Britain, which although inconclusive, it reaffirmed America’s independence and ushered an era of prosperity and progress. At the end of his presidency, James Madison retired to his plantation, Montpelier, where he died in 1836.
Table of Contents
- Powerful Short James Madison Quotes
- Inspirational James Madison Quotes About Freedom and Tyranny
- James Madison Quotes on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
- James Madison Quotes from the Federalist Papers
- James Madison Quotes on Governance and the State
- Important James Madison Quotes on Separation of Church and State
Powerful Short James Madison Quotes
The following short James Madison quotes pack so much meaning in just a few words! Bookmark them on your phone as a dose of daily inspiration or use them as political awareness captions for your Instagram and social media posts!
- If man is not fit to govern himself, how can he be fit to govern someone else? James Madison
- The advancement of science and the diffusion of information is the best aliment to true liberty. James Madison
- The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. James Madison
- The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted. James Madison
- Public opinion sets bounds to every government, and is the real sovereign in every free one. James Madison
- Disarm the people- that is the best and most effective way to enslave them. James Madison
- Philosophy is common sense with big words. James Madison
- Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit. James Madison
- A President is impeachable if he attempts to subvert the Constitution. James Madison
- Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government. James Madison
- A bad cause seldom fails to betray itself. James Madison
- Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. James Madison
- Armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. James Madison
- Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind, and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect. James Madison
- Wherever there is interest and power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done. James Madison
- As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. James Madison
- The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. James Madison
- Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expense of other generations. James Madison
- Equal laws protecting equal rights…the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country. James Madison
- Conscience is the most sacred of all property. James Madison
- We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. James Madison
- The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money. James Madison
- All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree. James Madison
- Resistance to tyranny is service to God. James Madison
- Congress shall never disarm any citizen unless such as are or have been in actual rebellion. James Madison
- Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob. James Madison
- Ιf the people are to be our governors, they must arm themselves with knowledge. James Madison
- No error is more certain than the one proceeding from a hasty and superficial view of the subject. James Madison
- No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity. James Madison
- The problem to be solved is, not what form of government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect. James Madison
- Experience is the oracle of truth; and where its responses are unequivocal, they ought to be conclusive and sacred. James Madison
Inspirational James Madison Quotes About Freedom and Tyranny
A collection of inspirational James Madison quotes about freedom and tyranny that will provide a valuable insight into the inherent danger of the tyranny of the majority to result in despotism and coercion.
- Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant. James Madison
- If our nation is ever taken over, it will be taken over from within. James Madison
- Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both. James Madison
- Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions. James Madison
- There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. James Madison
- Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace. James Madison
- No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. James Madison
- To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. James Madison
- We are free today substantially, but the day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility. It will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few. A Republic cannot stand upon bayonets, and when the day comes when the wealth of the nation will be in the hands of a few, then we must rely upon the wisdom of the best elements in the country to readjust the laws of the nations to the changed conditions. James Madison
- The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable. James Madison
- Learned institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty. James Madison
- Temporary deviations from fundamental principles are always more or less dangerous. When the first pretext fails, those who become interested in prolonging the evil will rarely be at a loss for other pretexts. James Madison
- Despotism can only exist in darkness, and there are too many lights now in the political firmament, to permit it to remain anywhere, as it has heretofore done, almost everywhere. James Madison
James Madison Quotes on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
We have cherry-picked the best James Madison quotes on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to allow you a glimpse inside the head of the “Father of the Constitution”.
- The purpose of the Constitution is to restrict the majority’s ability to harm a minority. James Madison
- Our Constitution represents the work of the finger of Almighty God. James Madison
- The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded. James Madison
- A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. James Madison
- The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived. James Madison
- 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. James Madison
- The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. James Madison
James Madison Quotes from the Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers where a collection of articles authored by James Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton to promote the ratification of the Constitution. The following are the best James Madison quotes from the Federalist papers.
- The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. James Madison, Federalist Papers
- A good Government implies two things: first, fidelity to the object of Government, which is the happiness of the People; secondly, a knowledge of the means by which that object can be best attained. James Madison, The Federalist Papers
- Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency. James Madison, Federalist Papers
- 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. James Madison, Federalist Papers
- The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. James Madison, The Federalist Papers
James Madison Quotes on Governance and the State
The following James Madison quotes on governance and the state reflect his ideas and beliefs about the manner of governing and the necessary checks and balances on power.
- The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge the wants or feelings of the day-laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. 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. James Madison
- History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance. James Madison
- We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments. James Madison
- It is more convenient to prevent the passage of a law than to declare it void after it has passed. James Madison
- Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. James Madison
- No free country has ever been without Parties, which are a natural offspring of freedom. James Madison
Important James Madison Quotes on Separation of Church and State
Madison is considered the architect of separation of ecclesiastical and civil matters. We have handpicked the best James Madison quotes on the separation of church and state to provide insight into why an established state religion would violate peoples’ rights to religious freedom.
- The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries. James Madison
- The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed. James Madison
- In no instance have the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people. James Madison
- Every new & successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together. James Madison
- Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history. James Madison
- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. James Madison
James Madison is often underappreciated, however, he provided a blueprint for the Constitution and greater protection for individual liberties through the Bill of Rights. Ingenious and decisive, he realized the strategic value of securing the United States from foreign encroachment through the Louisiana Purchase and the annexation of East and West Florida. Although overshadowed by his more impressive predecessors, James Madison had a major influence on shaping the way the U.S. government works and did more than any other Founding Father in terms of individual liberties.
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