James Madison Quotes from One of the Founding Fathers
December 28, 2020 7:00 AM EST
These James Madison quotes paint the picture of why he was known as The Father of the Constitution.
James Madison was the fourth president of the United States of America.
He was part of writing and putting into place the Constitution of the country.
However, he always made sure to make known that there were others involved in the process.
Madison was part of the founding of the country and implementing the laws that the government was founded on and that were put in place to keep government in check.
Even though centuries have gone by, you’ll see that the characteristics of people are still true today as they were in the late 1700s.
Keep reading these insightful James Madison quotes.
Don’t forget to also check out these Benjamin Franklin quotes on education, success & life.
Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.
Our inspirational quote category page has even more inspirational and educational quotes.
James Madison quotes on freedom and liberty
1. “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” – James Madison
2. “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” – James Madison
3. “Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant.” – James Madison
4. “Public opinion sets bounds to every government, and is the real sovereign in every free one.” – James Madison
5. “There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” – James Madison
6. “History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance.” – James Madison
7. “The purpose of the Constitution is to restrict the majority’s ability to harm a minority.” – James Madison
8. “If our nation is ever taken over, it will be taken over from within.” – James Madison
James Madison quotes on the separation of religion and government
9. “Every new & successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.” – James Madison
10. “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.” – James Madison
11. “It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded agst. by an entire abstinence of the Govt. from interference in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect agst. trespasses on its legal rights by others.” – James Madison
James Madison quotes on government
12. “Our Constitution represents the work of the finger of Almighty God.” – James Madison
13. “The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived.” – James Madison
14. “A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both.” – James Madison
15. “It is more convenient to prevent the passage of a law than to declare it void after it has passed.” – James Madison
16. “In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority.” – James Madison
17. “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one….” – James Madison
18. “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” – James Madison
19. “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” – James Madison
20. “A president is impeachable if he attempts to subvert the Constitution.” – James Madison
21. “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.” – James Madison
22. “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce. … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.” – James Madison
23. “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” – James Madison
24. “You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.” – James Madison
25. “Equal laws protecting equal rights… the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.” – James Madison
26. “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.” – James Madison
27. “Americans need not fear the federal government because they enjoy the advantage of being armed, which you possess over the people of almost every other nation.” – James Madison
28. “We are free today substantially, but the day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility. It will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few. A Republic cannot stand upon bayonets, and when the day comes when the wealth of the nation will be in the hands of a few, then we must rely upon the wisdom of the best elements in the country to readjust the laws of the nations to the changed conditions.” – James Madison
Wise James Madison Quotes
29. “The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.” – James Madison
30. “If a man is not fit to govern himself, how can he be fit to govern someone else.” – James Madison
31. “The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money.” – James Madison
32. “A bad cause seldom fails to betray itself.” – James Madison
33. “Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.” – James Madison
34. “Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.” – James Madison
35. “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws are so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” – James Madison
36. “Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties or his possessions.” – James Madison
37. “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.” – James Madison
38. “We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.” – James Madison
39. “The very definition of tyranny is when all powers are gathered under one place.” – James Madison
Thought-provoking James Madison quotes
40. “Philosophy is common sense with big words.” – James Madison
41. “America was indebted to immigration for her settlement and prosperity. That part of America which had encouraged them most had advanced most rapidly in population, agriculture and the arts.” – James Madison
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of immigration quotes that explore each side of this social issue.
42. “Having outlived so many of my contemporaries, I ought not to forget that I may be thought to have outlived myself.” – James Madison
43. “Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.” – James Madison
44. “Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expense of other generations.” – James Madison
45. “As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.” – James Madison
46. “Democracy is the most vile form of government.” – James Madison
47. “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” – James Madison
48. “The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded.” – James Madison
49. “Learned institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.” – James Madison
50. “Disarm the people – that is the best and most effective way to enslave them.” – James Madison
You might also like these Dwight D. Eisenhower quotes on life, politics and progress.
More James Madison quotes
51. “No error is more certain than the one proceeding from a hasty and superficial view of the subject.” – James Madison
52. “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.” – James Madison
53. “Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace.” – James Madison
54. “Temporary deviations from fundamental principles are always more or less dangerous. When the first pretext fails, those who become interested in prolonging the evil will rarely be at a loss for other pretexts.” – James Madison
55. “A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country.” – James Madison
56. “No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment.” – James Madison
57. “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” – James Madison
58. “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind, and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.” – James Madison
59. “All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.” – James Madison
What did you learn from these James Madison quotes?
While the past year has been chaotic when it comes to politics, it can be interesting to think about what it was like in those early days of being a country.
These James Madison quotes give a good depiction of the concerns of their day and age and what they were thinking about to try to protect freedom for the American people in the future as well.
Now it’s our job to make sure that these liberties remain in place, as our country was founded.
Do you wonder what the founding fathers like James Madison would think about our government today?