James Madison Quotes

What are your favorite James Madison quotes?

James Madison was a writer, philosopher and statesman who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He was also one of the founding fathers of the United States, who among them were great leaders and visionaries like Benjamin FranklinThomas JeffersonJohn AdamsAlexander HamiltonJames Monroe and George Washington.

President James Madison is very famous for writing The Federalist Papers which promoted the ratification of the United States Constitution.

Here are some famous James Madison quotes on government, tyranny, the bill of rights, constitution, liberty, freedom, federalism, education, democracy, the second amendment as well as checks and balances:

Famous James Madison Quotes

Famous James Madison Quotes

1. Philosophy is common sense with big words. -James Madison

2. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. -James Madison

3. The advancement of science and the diffusion of information is the best aliment to true liberty. -James Madison

4. Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind, and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect. -James Madison

5. The class of citizens who provide at once their own food and their own raiment, may be viewed as the most truly independent and happy.

James Madison

6. I should not regret a fair and full trial of the entire abolition of capital punishment. -James Madison

7. 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

8. 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

9. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. -James Madison

10. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to an uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. -James Madison

James Madison Quotes On Government

James Madison Quotes On Government

11. If men were angels, no government would be necessary. -James Madison

12. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government. -James Madison

13. You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. -James Madison

14. 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

15. 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. The preservation of a free government requires not merely that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority and are Tyrants. The people who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves. -James Madison

16. Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments, the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents.

James Madison

17. 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. -James Madison

18. 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 it’s issuance. -James Madison

19. 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

20. 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

21. 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

22. Every new and 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 shewing that religion & Government. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together. -James Madison

23. Besides the danger of a direct mixture of religion and civil government, there is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by ecclesiastical corporations. The establishment of the chaplainship in Congress is a palpable violation of equal rights as well as of Constitutional principles. The danger of silent accumulations and encroachments by ecclesiastical bodies has not sufficiently engaged attention in the U.S. -James Madison

James Madison Quotes On Tyranny

James Madison Quotes On Tyranny

24. If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. -James Madison

25. 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

26. The means of defense against. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.

James Madison

27. The means of defense against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people. -James Madison

James Madison Quotes On The Bill Of Rights

James Madison Quotes On The Bill Of Rights

28. 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

29. 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

30. 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

31. Equal laws protecting equal rights…the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.

James Madison

32. In suits at common law, trial by jury in civil cases is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature. -James Madison

33. Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man whatever is his own. -James Madison

34. It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded against. by an entire abstinence of the Govt. from interference in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect against. trespasses on its legal rights by others. -James Madison

James Madison Quotes About The Constitution

James Madison Quotes About The Constitution

35. A President is impeachable if he attempts to subvert the Constitution. -James Madison

36. The purpose of the Constitution is to restrict the majority’s ability to harm a minority. -James Madison

37. 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

38. The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. -James Madison

39. 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

40. 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

41. Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution. -James Madison

42. The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

James Madison

43. The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world. -James Madison

44. 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

45. In all the co-temporary discussions and comments, which the Constitution underwent, it was constantly justified and recommended on the ground, that the powers not given to the government, were withheld from it. -James Madison

46. You give me a credit to which I have no claim in calling me “the writer of the Constitution of the United States.” This was not, like the fabled Goddess of Wisdom, the offspring of a single brain. It ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands. -James Madison

47. With respect to the words “general welfare,” I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. -James Madison

48. The aim of every political Constitution, is or ought to be first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust. -James Madison

49. Whatever may be the judgement pronounced on the competency of the architects of the Constitution, or whatever may be the destiny of the edifice prepared by them, I feel it a duty to express my profound and solemn conviction . . . that there never was an assembly of men, charged with a great and arduous trust, who were more pure in their motives, or more exclusively or anxiously devoted to the object committed to them. -James Madison

James Madison Quotes On Liberty

James Madison Quotes On Liberty

50. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. -James Madison

51. 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

52. Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

James Madison

53. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. -James Madison

54. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country. -James Madison

55. 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

James Madison Quotes On Federalism

James Madison Quotes On Federalism

56. The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.

James Madison

James Madison Quotes On Education

James Madison Quotes On Education

57. It is certain that every class is interested in educational establishments which give to the human mind its highest improvements, and to every Country its truest and most durable celebrity. -James Madison

58. The rich man, when contributing to a permanent plan for the education of the poor, ought to reflect that he is providing for that of his own descendants; and the poor man who concurs in a provision for those who are not poor that at no distant day it may be enjoyed by descendants from himself. It does not require a long life to witness these vicissitudes of fortune.

James Madison

59. At cheaper and nearer seats of Learning parents with slender incomes may place their sons in a course of education putting them on a level with the sons of the Richest. -James Madison

60. There is no maxim, in my opinion, which is more liable to be misapplied, and which, therefore, more needs elucidation, than the current one, that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong. -James Madison

James Madison Quotes On The Second Amendment

James Madison Quotes On The Second Amendment

61. 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

62. 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

63. Liberty and order will never be perfectly safe until a trespass on the Constitution provisions for either, shall be felt with the same keenness that resents and invasion of the dearest rights. -James Madison

James Madison Quotes On Checks And Balances

James Madison Quotes On Checks And Balances

64. All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree. -James Madison

65. The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.

James Madison

66. 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

James Madison Quotes On Democracy

James Madison Quotes On Democracy

67. The growing wealth acquired by them corporations never fails to be a source of abuses. -James Madison

68. It may be concluded that a pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. -James Madison

69. The effect of a representative democracy is to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of the nation. -James Madison

70. The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens and greater sphere of country over which the latter may be extended. -James Madison

71. A pure Democracy, by which I mean a Society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the Government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of Government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party, or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is, that such Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives, as they have been violent in their deaths.

James Madison

72. Democracy is the most vile form of government. -James Madison

73. In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority. -James Madison

74. A pure democracy is a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person. -James Madison

75. Democracies have been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death. -James Madison

76. It may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more constant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves. -James Madison

77. In a democracy a common passion or interest will, in almost every case , be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert results from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. -James Madison