It is a mindless philosophy that assumes that one’s private beliefs have nothing to do with public office. Does it make sense to entrust those who are immoral in private with the power to determine the nation’s moral issues and, indeed, its destiny? … The duplicitous soul of a leader can only make a nation more sophisticated in evil.
If vice and corruption prevail, liberty cannot subsist; but if virtue have the advantage, arbitrary power cannot be established.
Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.
If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?
But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks — no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.
Virtue is harder to be got than a knowledge of the world; and, if lost in a young man, is seldom recovered.
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them.
The problem with the cost of sacrificing your principles is that you don’t pay it only once.
Ability without honor is useless.