American isolationism

My policy has been, and will continue to be, while I have the honor to remain in the administration of the government, to be upon friendly terms with, but independent of, all the nations of the earth. To share in the broils of none. To fulfill our own engagements. To supply the wants, and be carriers for them all: Being thoroughly convinced that it is our policy and interest to do so.

Past, present, and future

One of the first and most leading principles on which the commonwealth and the laws are consecrated is, lest the temporary possessors and life-renters in it, unmindful of what they have received from their ancestors or of what is due to their posterity, should act as if they were the entire masters, that they should not think it among their rights to cut off the entail or commit waste on the inheritance by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of society, hazarding to leave to those who come after them a ruin instead of a habitation — and teaching these successors as little to respect their contrivances as they had themselves respected the institutions of their forefathers.

True freedom

The only freedom deserving the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.

Real motives

The real motives of liberals have nothing to do with the welfare of other people. Instead, they have two related goals — to establish themselves as morally and intellectually superior to the rather distasteful population of common people, and to gather as much power as possible to tell those distasteful common people how they must live their lives.

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Watch your ‘leaders’

The danger to all well-established free governments arises from the unwillingness of the people to believe in … the influence of designing men. … This is the old trick of those who would usurp the government of their country. In the name of democracy they speak, warning the people against the influence of wealth and the danger of aristocracy. … The tendencies of all such governments in their decline is to monarchy … and, like the false Christs whose coming was foretold by the Savior, seeks to, and were it possible would, impose upon the true and most faithful disciples of liberty. It is in periods like this that it behooves the people to be most watchful of those to whom they have intrusted power.

Descent into monarchy

There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh – get first all the people’s money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants forever. … There is a natural inclination in mankind to kingly government. … I am apprehensive … that the government of the states may, in future times, end in a monarchy.

Usurping our sovereignty

Under this Constitution … the states, respectively protected by the National Government under a mild, parental system against foreign dangers, and enjoying within their separate spheres, by a wise partition of power … It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and a usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin.