They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare … [G]iving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly, no such universal power was meant to be given them.
[We should be] determined … to sever ourselves from the union we so much value rather than give up the rights of self-government … in which alone we see liberty, safety, and happiness.
If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation … to a continuance in union … I have no hesitation in saying, ‘let us separate.’
The Union was formed by the voluntary agreement of the states; and these, in uniting together, have not forfeited their nationality, nor have they been reduced to the condition of one and the same people will stop if one of the states chose to withdraw its name from the contract, it would be difficult to disprove its rights to do so.
And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.
Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.
Power over a man’s subsistence is power over his will.
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.