Quotes


Below are some quotes from our Founding Fathers, which have been categorized for “easy access”.  You’ll notice that some quotes are repeated.  This is due to their relevance to more than one issue.

Let the discerning mind judge correctly the relevance of each quote to the topic for which it has been associated.

Resource for quotes by various people - www.brainyquote.com

Check out these by Thomas Sowell on economy: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomas_sowell.html

Abuse of Power

George Washington

”Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.” – George Washington

Debt & Spending

George Washington

”Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

Democracy

Thomas Jefferson

A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”Thomas Jefferson

Education

Thomas Jefferson

Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital.”Thomas Jefferson

”Bodily decay is gloomy in prospect, but of all human contemplations the most abhorrent is body without mind.”Thomas Jefferson

”Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”Thomas Jefferson

”Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”Thomas Jefferson

”He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”Thomas Jefferson

“History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.”Thomas Jefferson

Foreign Policy

George Washington

 “A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.” – George Washington

”Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.” – George Washington

”Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.” – George Washington

”There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate, upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.” – George Washington

”True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity, before it is entitled to the appellation.” – George Washington

“It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.”Thomas Jefferson

”Friendship is but another name for an alliance with the follies and the misfortunes of others. Our own share of miseries is sufficient: why enter then as volunteers into those of another?”Thomas Jefferson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Government / Governing

"If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation."

--Samuel Adams, letter to Elbridge Gerry, 
November 27, 1780 

 

George Washington

”Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington

”My observation is that whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty... it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.” – George Washington

“Over grown military establishments are under any form of government

 inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.” – George Washington

”The administration of justice is the firmest pillar of government.” – George Washington

“The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.” – George Washington

“A government is like fire, a handy servant, but a dangerous master.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

”A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.”Thomas Jefferson

”Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.”Thomas Jefferson

”Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”Thomas Jefferson

“History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.”Thomas Jefferson

Honor

George Washington

”My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” – George Washington

Human Nature

George Washington

”Mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their own government.” – George Washington

”My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.” – George Washington

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

”Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”Thomas Jefferson

Integrity / Morality

George Washington

”Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” – George Washington

”Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.” – George Washington

”I have no other view than to promote the public good, and am unambitious of honors not founded in the approbation of my Country.” – George Washington

”I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” – George Washington

”It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” – George Washington

”Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.” – George Washington

”Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.” – George Washington

”Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse.” – George Washington

The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.” – George Washington

”Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.” – George Washington

“Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.” – George Washington

Nothing is a greater stranger to my breast, or a sin that my soul more abhors, than that black and detestable one, ingratitude.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

”A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.”Thomas Jefferson

“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.”Thomas Jefferson

”Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.”Thomas Jefferson

”Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”Thomas Jefferson

”Don't talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.”Thomas Jefferson

”He who knows best knows how little he knows.”Thomas Jefferson

”Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind.”Thomas Jefferson

”Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”Thomas Jefferson

Law & Order

George Washington

”Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals.” – George Washington

Leadership

George Washington

”Lenience will operate with greater force, in some instances than rigor. It is therefore my first wish to have all of my conduct distinguished by it.” – George Washington

”Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive.” – George Washington

”We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.” – George Washington

“Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” – George Washington

”When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen.” – George Washington

There is a Destiny which has the control of our actions, not to be resisted by the strongest efforts of Human Nature.” – George Washington

When you beat my pitch, young gentlemen, I'll try again.” – George Washington

But lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.” – George Washington

”I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

”All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”Thomas Jefferson

”Always take hold of things by the smooth handle.”Thomas Jefferson

”An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry.”Thomas Jefferson

”An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes.”Thomas Jefferson

”As our enemies have found we can reason like men, so now let us show them we can fight like men also.”Thomas Jefferson

”Delay is preferable to error.”Thomas Jefferson

”Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”Thomas Jefferson

”Every generation needs a new revolution.”Thomas Jefferson

Legislation

George Washington

”Bad seed is a robbery of the worst kind: for your pocket-book not only suffers by it, but your preparations are lost and a season passes away unimproved.” – George Washington

”Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.” – George Washington

Liberty

George Washington

”It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.” – George Washington

”Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” – George Washington

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.” – George Washington

The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

”All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”Thomas Jefferson

”Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.”Thomas Jefferson

”I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too.”Thomas Jefferson

Military - Discipline

George Washington

”Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.” – George Washington

”Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession.” – George Washington

”Nothing can be more hurtful to the service, than the neglect of discipline; for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army the superiority over another.” – George Washington

Military - Readiness

George Washington

 “If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.” – George Washington

”To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” – George Washington

"The hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are Freemen, fighting for the blessings of Liberty - that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men."--George Washington, General Orders, August 23, 1776

 

Militia

Thomas Jefferson

”For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.”Thomas Jefferson

Rebellion

George Washington

“I earnestly pray that the Omnipotent Being who has not deserted the cause of America in the hour of its extremest hazard, will never yield so fair a heritage of freedom a prey to "Anarchy" or "Despotism".” – George Washington

Relationships

George Washington

”Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” – George Washington

”Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. It is better be alone than in bad company.” – George Washington

”Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.” – George Washington

”Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.” – George Washington

“It is better to be alone than in bad company.” – George Washington

“It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company.” – George Washington

”True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity, before it is entitled to the appellation.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

”An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.”Thomas Jefferson

”Be polite to all, but intimate with few.”Thomas Jefferson

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.”Thomas Jefferson

Religion

Thomas Jefferson

”Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor - over each other.”Thomas Jefferson

”Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”Thomas Jefferson

Religion in Government

George Washington

 “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” – George Washington

”Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” – George Washington

Service

George Washington

 “It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it.” – George Washington

Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

”Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.”Thomas Jefferson

Slavery

George Washington

”I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.” – George Washington

The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.” – George Washington

Taxes

George Washington

 “It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it.” – George Washington

The American Example

George Washington

”Some day, following the example of the United States of America, there will be a United States of Europe.” – George Washington

The Constitution

George Washington

The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.” – George Washington

The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.” – George Washington

“A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.” Thomas Jefferson

The First Amendment

George Washington

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington

The Media

Thomas Jefferson

”A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”Thomas Jefferson

Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.”Thomas Jefferson

The People

George Washington

”The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

”Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.”Thomas Jefferson

The Second Amendment

George Washington

”Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth.” – George Washington

”The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good.” – George Washington

“When firearms go, all goes. We need them every hour.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.”Thomas Jefferson

War

George Washington

”War - An act of violence whose object is to constrain the enemy, to accomplish our will.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

”How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened.”Thomas Jefferson

”I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.”Thomas Jefferson

Warnings

George Washington

”Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” – George Washington

”Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession.” – George Washington

”Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.” – George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

”Force is the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism.”Thomas Jefferson

____________________________________________________________________________

MISCELLANEOUS:

When Government in our Democratic Republic serves the Few at the expense of the Majority they have compromised the Constitution of The United States; They are Treasonous to Their
Oaths of Office!

Give me liberty or give me death.
Patrick Henry

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel.

Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force.

Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.
Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778


I have not yet begun to fight!

John Paul Jones, response to enemy demand to surrender, September 23, 1779

Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we fur nish the means by which we suffer.

Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776


Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it..

Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 4, September 11, 1777

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, December 19, 1776

http://www.marksquotes.com/Founding-Fathers/Paine/index2.htm

A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow th e liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.

While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.

Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779


Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants.
Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.
The divine law, as discovered by reason and the moral sense, forms an essential part of both.

James Wilson

LNSu
"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/HardCoreJunkie

Militia
"The militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves, ... all men capable of bearing arms;..."
— "Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic", 1788 (either Richard Henry Lee or Melancton Smith).

"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 birth-right 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.

"How we burned in the prison camps later thinking: What would things have been like if every police operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive?

If during periods of mass arrests people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever was at hand?

The organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt."
— Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Prize winner and author of The Gulag Archipelago, who spent 11 years in Soviet concentration camps.

If we are ready to violate the Constitution, will the people submit to our unauthorized acts? Sir, they ought not to s ubmit; they would deserve the chains that our measures are forging for them, if they did not resist.
— Edward Livingston

Real courage is found, not in the willingness to risk death, but in the willingness to stand, alone if necessary, against the ignorant and disapproving herd. Jon Roland, 1976

A quote by the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931-2005

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person

receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give

to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get

the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the

other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work

for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress. -- John Adams

If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. -- Mark Twain

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself. -- Mark Twain

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. -- Winston Churchill

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
-- George Bernard Shaw! 

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, a debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy 

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. -- James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might best be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. -- Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
 - P.J. O'Rourke

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. -- Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. - Ronald Reagan (1986)

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. - Will Rogers

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!
-- P.J. O'Rourke

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other. -- Voltaire (1764)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you! -- Pericles (430 B.C.)

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. -- Mark Twain (1866)

Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it. -- Anonymous

The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.-- Ronald Reagan

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.-- Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man & a taxidermist is the taxidermist leaves the skin.
 -- Mark Twain

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)
 
There is no distinctly native American criminal class...save Congress. -- Mark Twain

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. -- Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. -- Thomas Jefferson

"The hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are Freemen, fighting for the blessings of Liberty - that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men."--George Washington, General Orders, August 23, 1776 

 “Think what you do when you run in debt; you give to another the power over your liberty.”  Benjamin Franklin

'Here's my strategy on the Cold War:
We win, they lose.'- Ronald Reagan

'The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'-Ronald Reagan


'The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.' Ronald Reagan

'Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.'- Ronald Reagan

'I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.' - Ronald Reagan

'The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.' - Ronald Reagan


'Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.' - Ronald Reagan

'The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.' Ronald Reagan

'It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.' - Ronald Reagan

'Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it' - Ronald Reagan

'Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book.' - Ronald Reagan

'No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.'- Ronald Reagan

'If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.'- Ronald Reagan