Alexander Hamilton quotes:

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  • The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased.

  • A well adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous.

  • Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of man will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.

  • There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.

  • It's not tyranny we desire; it's a just, limited, federal government.

  • Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.

  • You should not have taken advantage of my sensibility to steal into my affections without my consent.

  • The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.

  • In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.

  • It is the advertiser who provides the paper for the subscriber. It is not to be disputed, that the publisher of a newspaper in this country, without a very exhaustive advertising support, would receive less reward for his labor than the humblest mechanic.

  • A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.

  • There are seasons in every country when noise and impudence pass current for worth; and in popular commotions especially, the clamors of interested and factious men are often mistaken for patriotism.

  • Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.

  • The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact. The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right.

  • Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.

  • To my utter astonishment I saw an airship descending over my cow lot. It was occupied by six of the strangest beings I ever saw. They were jabbering together, but we could not understand a word they said...

  • Nobody expects to trust his body overmuch after the age of fifty.

  • Let us recollect that peace or war will not always be left to our option; that however moderate or unambitious we may be, we cannot count upon the moderation, or hope to extinguish the ambition of others.

  • Real firmness is good for anything; strut is good for nothing.

  • The idea of governing at all times by the simple force of law (which we have been told is the only admissible principle of republican government) has no place but in the reveries of those political doctors whose sagacity disdains the admonitions of experimental instruction.

  • Can any reasonable man be well disposed toward a government which makes war and carnage the only means of supporting itself?

  • The rights of neutrality will only be respected when they are defended by an adequate power. A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral.

  • The truth is, after all the declamations we have heard, that the Constitution is itself, in every rational sense, and to every useful purpose, A BILL OF RIGHTS.

  • When the sword is once drawn, the passions of men observe no bounds of moderation.

  • We must make the best of those ills which cannot be avoided.

  • Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates.

  • In the usual progress of things, the necessities of a nation in every stage of its existence will be found at least equal to its resources.

  • Men are rather reasoning than reasonable animals, for the most part governed by the impulse of passion.

  • The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact. The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right."

  • Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of man will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint."

  • Civil liberty is only natural liberty, modified and secured by the sanctions of civil society.

  • But as the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States.

  • It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system, that the state governments will in all possible contingencies afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority.

  • Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have lies in this; when I have a subject in hand, I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it. Then the effort that I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.

  • Nothing is more natural to men in office, than to look with peculiar deference towards that authority to which they owe their official existence.

  • It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.

  • A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.

  • There is something so far-fetched and so extravagant in the idea of danger to liberty from the militia that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with raillery; whether to consider it as a mere trial of skill, like the paradoxes of rhetoricians; as a disingenuous artifice to instil prejudices at any price; or as the serious.

  • The first duty of society is justice.

  • Industry is increased, commodities are multiplied, agriculture and manufacturers flourish: and herein consists the true wealth and prosperity of a state.

  • The natural effect of low interest is to increase trade and industry; because undertakings of every kind can be prosecuted with greater advantage.

  • The tendency of a national bank is to increase public and private credit. The former gives power to the state, for the protection of its rights and interests: and the latter facilitates and extends the operations of commerce among individuals. Industry is increased, commodities are multiplied, agriculture and manufacturers flourish: and herein consists the true wealth and prosperity of a state.

  • The State governments possess inherent advantages, which will ever give them an influence and ascendancy over the National Government, and will for ever preclude the possibility of federal encroachments. That their liberties, indeed, can be subverted by the federal head, is repugnant to every rule of political calculation.

  • A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever may be its theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.

  • The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of the citizens from foreign bias and prejudice; and on that love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education and family.

  • A republic of this kind, able to withstand an external force, may support itself without any internal corruptions. The form of this society prevents all manner of inconveniences.

  • If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.

  • When you assemble from your several counties in the Legislature, were every member to be guided only by the apparent interest of his county, government would be impracticable. There must be a perpetual accomodation and sacrifice of local advantage to general expediency.

  • The proposed Constitution, so far from implying an abolition of the State governments, makes them constituent parts of the national sovereignty, by allowing them a direct representation in the Senate, and leaves in their possession certain exclusive and very important portions of sovereign power. This fully corresponds, in every rational import of the terms, with the idea of a federal government.

  • There is one transcendant advantage belonging to the province of the State governments . . . -I mean the ordinary administration of criminal and civil justice.

  • The variety of more minute interests, which will necessarily fall under the superintendence of the local administrations . . . cannot be particularized without involving a detail too tedious and uninteresting to compensate for the instruction it might afford.

  • I confess I am at a loss to discover what temptation the persons entrusted with the administration of the general government could ever feel to divest the States of the authorities of that description. The regulation of the mere domestic police of a State appears to me to hold out slender allurements to ambition.

  • It may be laid down as a general rule, that their confidence in and obedience to a government, will be commonly proportioned to the goodness or badness of its administration . . . . Various reasons have been suggested in the course of these papers, to induce a probability that the general government will be better administered than the particular governments.

  • The Convention probably foresaw what it has been a principal aim of these papers to inculcate that the danger which most threatens our political welfare is, that the state governments will finally sap the foundations of the Union.

  • It will be well to advert to the proportion between the objects that will require a federal provision in respect to revenue; and those which will require a state provision. We shall discover that the former are altogether unlimited; and that the latter are circumscribed within very moderate bounds.

  • The scheme of separate confederacies, which will always multiply the chances of ambition, will be a never failing bait to all such influential characters in the State administrations as are capable of preferring their own emolument and advancement to the public weal.

  • A fondness for power is implanted in most men, and it is natural to abuse it when acquired.

  • Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its influence.

  • If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government.

  • Constitutions of civil government are not to be framed upon a calculation of existing exigencies, but upon a combination of these with the probable exigencies of ages, according to the natural and tried course of human affairs. Nothing, therefore, can be more fallacious than to infer the extent of any power, proper to be lodged in the national government, from an estimate of its immediate necessities.

  • We are attempting, by this Constitution, to abolish factions, and to unite all parties for the general welfare.

  • The standard of good behavior for the continuance in office of the judicial magistracy is certainly one of the most valuable of the modern improvements in the practice of government.

  • ...great Ambition, unchecked by principle, or the love of Glory, is an unruly Tyrant...

  • Let Americans disdain to be the instruments of European greatness! Let the thirteen States, bound together in a strict and indissoluble Union, concur in erecting one great American system, superior to the control of all transatlantic force or influence, and able to dictate the terms of the connection between the old and the new world!

  • The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.

  • Those who do not industrialize become hewers of wood and hawkers of water

  • What bitter anguish would not the people of Athens have often escaped if their government had contained so provident a safeguard against tyranny of their own passions? Popular liberty might then have escaped the indelible reproach of decreeing to the same citizens the hemlock on one day and statutes the next.

  • The natural cure for an ill-administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men.

  • The inhabitants of territories, often the theatre of war, are unavoidably subject to frequent infringements on their rights, which serve to weaken their sense of those rights; and by degrees, the people are brought to consider the soldiery not only as their protectors but as their superiors.

  • . . . [The Judicial Branch] may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.

  • Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that, in a government in which they are separated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them.

  • And it proves, in the last place, that liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have everything to fear from its union with either of the other departments.

  • [T]hough individual oppression may now and then proceed fro the courts of justice, the general liberty of the people can never be endangered from that quarter . . .

  • Good and wise men, in all ages, have embraced a very dissimilar theory. They have supposed that the deity, from the relations we stand in to himself and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution whatever. This is what is called the law of nature....Upon this law depend the natural rights of mankind.

  • [Imeachable conduct is] misconduct by public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.

  • To cherish and stimulate the activity of the human mind, by multiplying the objects of enterprise, is not among the least considerable of the expedients, by which the wealth of a nation may be promoted.

  • A national debt if it is not excessive will be to us a national blessing; it will be powerfull cement of our union. It will also create a necessity for keeping up taxation to a degree which without being oppressive, will be a spur to industry;

  • [If you understood the natural rights of mankind,] [y]ou would be convinced that natural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator to the whole human race, and that civil liberty is founded in that, and cannot be wrested from any people without the most manifest violation of justice.

  • Upon this law, depend the natural rights of mankind, the supreme being gave existence to man, together with the means of preserving and beatifying that existence. He endowed him with rational faculties, by the help of which, to discern and pursue such things, as were consistent with his duty and interest, and invested him with an inviolable right to personal liberty, and personal safety.

  • Even to observe neutrality you must have a strong government.

  • [W]ar is a question, under our constitution, not of Executive, but of Legislative cognizance. It belongs to Congress to say whether the Nation shall of choice dismiss the olive branch and unfurl the banners of War.

  • Experience is the oracle of truth; and where its responses are unequivocal, they ought to be conclusive and sacred.

  • The same rule that teaches the propriety of a partition between the various branches of power, teaches us likewise that this partition ought to be so contrived as to render the one independent of the other.

  • Our countrymen have all the folly of the ass and all the passiveness of the sheep.

  • This balance between the National and State governments ought to be dwelt on with peculiar attention, as it is of the utmost importance. It forms a double security to the people. If one encroaches on their rights they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits by a certain rivalship, which will ever subsist between them.

  • War, like most other things, is a science to be acquired and perfected by diligence, by perserverance, by time, and by practice.

  • And it is long since I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.

  • I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me.

  • I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.

  • Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things.

  • If the maintenance of public credit, then, be truly important, the next enquiry which suggests itself is, by what means it is to be effected? The ready answer to which question is, by good faith, by a punctual performance of contracts. States, like individuals, who observe their engagements, are respected and trusted: while the reverse is the fate of those who pursue an opposite conduct.

  • The increasing remoteness of consanguinity is everyday diminishing the force of the family compact between France and Spain. And politicians have ever with great reason considered the ties of blood as feeble and precarious links of political connection.

  • It is a singular advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess. They prescribe their own limit, which cannot be exceeded without defeating the end purposed - that is, an extension of the revenue.

  • States, like individuals, who observe their engagements, are respected and trusted: while the reverse is the fate of those who pursue an opposite conduct.

  • In a government framed for durable liberty, not less regard must be paid to giving the magistrate a proper degree of authority, to make and execute the laws with rigour, than to guarding against encroachments upon the rights of the community. As too much power leads to despotism, too little leads to anarchy, and both eventually to the ruin of the people.

  • Real firmness is good for anything; strut is good for nothing

  • Ah, this is the constitution,he said. Now, mark my words. So long as we are a young and virtuous people, this instument will bind us together in mutual interests, mutual welfare, and mutual happiness. But when we become old and corrupt, it will bind no longer

  • Power over a man's subsistence is power over his will.

  • In the main it will be found that a power over a man's support (salary) is a power over his will.

  • There are men who could neither be distressed nor won into a sacrifice of their duty; but this stern virtue is the growth of few soils: And in the main it will be found, that a power over a man's support is a power over his will.

  • I would die to preserve the law upon a solid foundation; but take away liberty, and the foundation is destroyed.

  • The [president] has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction. . . .

  • If, then, the courts of justice are to be considered as the bulwarks of a limited Constitution against legislative encroachments, this consideration will afford a strong argument for the permanent tenure of judicial offices, since nothing will contribute so much as this to that independent spirit in the judges which must be essential to the faithful performance of so arduous a duty.

  • To attempt to enumerate the complicated variety of mischiefs in the whole system of the social economy, which proceed from a neglect of the maxims that uphold public credit, and justify the solicitude manifested by the House on this point, would be an improper intrusion on their time and patience.

  • After an unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America.

  • Effective resistance to usurpers is possible only provided the citizens understand their rights and are disposed to defend them.

  • And as the vicissitudes of Nations beget a perpetual tendency to the accumulation of debt, there ought to be in every government a perpetual, anxious, and unceasing effort to reduce that, which at any times exists, as fast as shall be practicable consistently with integrity and good faith.

  • To presume a want of motives for such contests . . . would be to forget that men are ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious.

  • I never expect to see a perfect work from an imperfect man.

  • Unless your government is respectable, foreigners will invade your rights; and to maintain tranquillity, it must be respectable - even to observe neutrality, you must have a strong government.

  • Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.

  • In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.

  • The nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master and deserves one.

  • The inquiry constantly is what will please, not what will benefit the people. In such a government there can be nothing but temporary expedient, fickleness, and folly.

  • A promise must never be broken.

  • To all general purposes we have uniformly been one people, each individual citizen everywhere enjoying the same national rights, privileges, and protection.

  • When a government betrays the people by amassing too much power and becoming tyrannical, the people have no choice but to exercise their original right of self-defense ?? to fight the government.

  • People sometimes attribute my success to my genius; all the genius I know anything about is hard work.

  • Give all the power to the many, they will oppress the few. Give all the power to the few, they will oppress the many.

  • The people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.

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