I own myself the friend to a very free system of commerce, and hold it as a truth, that commercial shackles are generally unjust, oppressive and impolitic — it is also a truth, that if industry and labour are left to take their own course, they will generally be directed to those objects which are the most productive, and this in a more certain and direct manner than the wisdom of the most enlightened legislature could point out.
Tag: James Madison
(1751-1836) American politician, political philosopher, and fourth President of the United States
The historical background of the Constitution
Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.
Freedom of the press
The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.
Americans are trusted with arms
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.
Conspiracy against peace
The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venal love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace.
Equal laws protecting equal rights — the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.
Protection of property
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.
First duty of citizens
It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.
Changing and voluminous laws
The internal effects of a mutable policy are […] calamitous. It poisons the blessings of liberty itself. 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; if they be repealed before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow.
The prime function of government
The prime function of government is the protection of the different and unequal faculties of man for acquiring property.