Constitutional Emergency

"We have heard of the impious doctrine in the old world, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the new, in another shape -- that the solid happiness of the people is to be sacrificed to the views of political institutions of a different form? 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."

--James Madison, Federalist No. 45

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"Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness."

--James Wilson, Of the Study of the Law in the United States, 1790
"It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from his government"
-- Thomas Paine

"How fortunate for governments that the people they govern don't think."
-- Adolph Hitler
"I am commonly opposed to those who modestly assume the rank of champions of liberty, and make a very patriotic noise about the people. It is the stale artifice which has duped the world a thousand times, and yet, though detected, it is still successful. I love liberty as well as anybody. I am proud of it, as the true title of our people to distinction above others; but ... I would guard it by making the laws strong enough to protect it."

--Fisher Ames, letter to George Richard Minot, 1789
"Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday and St. Tuesday, will soon cease to be holidays. Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them."

--Benjamin Franklin, letter to Collinson, 1753
"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
"Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition."

--Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, Query 19, 1781
"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value."

--Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 1, 1776
"Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms
each man against his own bosom? Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia.
Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an
American ... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or
state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People."

-- Tench Coxe, 1788
"Can you then consent to be the only sufferers by this revolution, and retiring from the field, grow old in poverty, wretchedness and contempt? Can you consent to wade through the vile mire of dependency, and owe the miserable remnant of that life to charity, which has hitherto been spent in honor? If you can -- GO -- and carry with you the jest of tories and scorn of whigs -- the ridicule, and what is worse, the pity of the world. Go, starve, and be forgotten!"

--George Washington, letter to the Officers of the Army, 1783
"[W]hy give through agents whom we know not, to persons whom we know not, and in countries from which we get no account, where we can do it at short hand, to objects under our eye, through agents we know, and to supply wants we see?"

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Michael Megear, 1823
"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency."

--George Washington, First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789
"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."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Charles Jarvis, 1820

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