The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. -- Tenth Amendment
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take but as for me; give me liberty or give me death!" (Patrick Henry)
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests." (Patrick Henry)
"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." (Patrick Henry)
"It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts... For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it." (Patrick Henry)
"Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles." (Patrick Henry)
Are you willing to spend time studying the issues, making yourself aware, and then conveying that information to family and friends? Will you resist the temptation to get a government handout for your community? Realize that the doctor's fight against socialized medicine is your fight. We can't socialize the doctors without socializing the patients. Recognize that government invasion of public power is eventually an assault upon your own business. If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he'll eat you last. -- Ronald Reagan, A Time for Choosing
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done. (Ronald Reagan, A Time For Choosing, 1964)
The disadvantageous circumstances on our part, under which the War was undertaken, can never be forgotten--The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving--where the unparalleled perseverence of the Armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement, for the space of eight long years was little short of a standing Miracle. (Washington's Farewell Address to the Army, 2 November 1783)
It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the Delegates from so many different States ... should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well founded objections. (George Washington, letter to Marquis de Lafayette, February 7, 1788)
It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn. (George Washington, letter to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, September 5, 1789)
"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action." (George Washington)
"We have, as you very justly observe, abundant reason to thank Providence for its many favorable interpositions in our behalf. It has at times been my only dependence, for all other resources seemed to have failed us." (George Washington, Letter to William Gordon, March, 1781)
THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Thomas Paine, The Crisis, December 23, 1776.
"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." (Thomas Jefferson)
I have so much faith in the general government of the world by PROVIDENCE, that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance to the welfare of millions now existing, and to exist in the posterity of a great nation, should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent and beneficent Ruler, in whom all inferior spirits live and move and have their being." (Benjamin Franklin, The Federal Gazette & the Philadelphia Evening Post of April 8, 1788)
"The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks . . . is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding . . . how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?" (Benjamin Franklin, during the debates in the Framing Convention, 1787)
"Nothing less than that superintending hand of Providence, that so miraculously carried us through the war (in my humble opinion), could have brought it [the Constitution] about so complete, upon the whole." (Charles Pinckney, one of the Framers, 1788)
"For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system, which, without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests." (Alexander Hamilton, Framing Convention, 1788).
"acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness." (Resolution, U.S. House of Representatives, September 25, 1789 recommending that the President proclaim a day of Thanksgiving to God and prayer by the people of the entire nation)
The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world. (James Madison)
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. (James Madison, Federalist No. 45, January 26, 1788)
In short, the government of each state is, and is to be, sovereign and supreme in all matters that relate to each state only. It is to be subordinate barely in those matters that relate to the whole; and it will be their own FAULTS, if the several states suffer the federal sovereignty to interfere in the things of their respective jurisdictions. (John Dickinson (Fabius), Letter III, 1788)
As to the idea, that this superintending sovereign will must of consequence destroy the subordinate sovereignties of the several states, it is begging a concession of the question, by inferring, that a manifest and great usefulness must necessarily end in abuse; and not only so, but it requires an extinction of the principle of all society: for the subordinate sovereignties, or, in other words, the undelegated rights of the several states, in a confederation, stand upon the very same foundation with the undelegated rights of individuals in a society, the federal sovereign will being composed of the subordinate sovereign wills of the several confederated states. As some persons seem to think, a bill of rights is the best security of rights, the sovereignties of the several states have this best security by the proposed constitution, and more than this best security, for they are not barely declared to be rights, but are taken into it as component parts for their perpetual preservation--by themselves. In short, the government of each state is, and is to be, sovereign and supreme in all matters that relate to each state only. It is to be subordinate barely in those matters that relate to the whole; and it will be their own faults if the several states suffer the federal sovereignty to interfere in things of their respective jurisdictions. An instance of such interference with regard to any single state, will be a dangerous precedent as to all, and therefore will be guarded against by all, as the trustees or servants of the several states will not dare, if they retain their senses, so to violate the independent sovereignty of their respective states, that justly darling object of American affections, to which they are responsible, besides being endeared by all the charities of life. (John Dickinson (Fabius), Letter III, 1788)
A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people. (James Madison)
The Constitution does not protect the sovereignty of States for the benefit of the States or state governments as abstract political entities, or even for the benefit of the public officials governing the States. To the contrary, the Constitution divides authority between federal and state governments for the protection of individuals. State sovereignty is not just an end in itself: "Rather, federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power." (Justice Sandra Day O'Connor)
There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America. (Otto von Bismarck, first Chancellor of the German Empire formed in 1871)
If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under. (Ronald Reagan)
Double---no triple--- our troubles and we'd still be better off than any other people on earth. (Ronald Reagan)
The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program. (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)
In a government of laws, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipotent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. If government becomes a lawbreaker it breeds contempt for law: it invites every man to become a law unto himself. It invites anarchy. (Supreme Court Justice Justice Louis Brandeis)
Nothing will change in Washington until it's recognized that the ultimate driving force behind most politicians is obtaining and holding power. And money from special interests drives the political process. Money and power are important only because the government wields power not granted by the Constitution. A limited, constitutional government would not tempt special interests to buy the politicians who wield power. The whole process feeds on itself. Everyone is rewarded by ignoring constitutional restraints, while expanding and complicating the entire bureaucratic state. (Ron Paul, From a speech before the US House of Representatives September 7, 2006)
One of the major reasons we've drifted from the Founders' vision of liberty in the Constitution was the division of the concept of freedom into two parts. Instead of freedom being applied equally to social and economic transactions, it has come to be thought of as two different concepts. Some in Congress now protect economic liberty and market choices, but ignore personal liberty and private choices. Others defend personal liberty, but concede the realm of property and economic transactions to government control. (Ron Paul, From a speech before the US House of Representatives September 7, 2006)
"When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both." - James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union
"With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."--James Madison, speaking of the "General Welfare" clause in the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 8)
"Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."--Thomas Jefferson
"I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That "all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people." [10th Amendment] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition." --Thomas Jefferson: National Bank Opinion, 1791.
"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on the article of the Constitution which grants a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." James Madison
"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void."Marbury vs. Madison
"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."Thomas Jefferson
"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."Thomas Jefferson
"Giving money and power to the government is like giving car keys and whiskey to teenage boys."P. J. O'Rourke
"In every event, I would rather construe so narrowly as to oblige the nation to amend, and thus declare what powers they would agree to yield, than too broadly, and indeed, so broadly as to enable the executive and the Senate to do things which the Constitution forbids." --Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1793
"The construction applied... to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which delegate to Congress a power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imports, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States," and "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof," goes to the destruction of all limits prescribed to [the General Government's] power by the Constitution... Words meant by the instrument to be subsidiary only to the execution of limited powers ought not to be construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument." --Thomas Jefferson: Draft Kentucky Resolutions, 1798
"The true barriers of our liberty are our State governments; and the wisest conservative power ever contrived by man, is that of which our Revolution and present government found us possessed."
--Thomas Jefferson to A. L. C. Destutt de Tracy, 1811.
"I have always thought that where the line of demarcation between the powers of the General and the State governments was doubtfully or indistinctly drawn, it would be prudent and praiseworthy in both parties, never to approach it but under the most urgent necessity." --Thomas Jefferson to Joseph C. Cabell, 1814.
"The States should be left to do whatever acts they can do as well as the General Government." --Thomas Jefferson to John Harvie, 1790.
"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Hammond, 1821.
"Where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy." --Thomas Jefferson: Kentucky Resolutions, 1798.
Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. --Abraham Lincoln
The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.--Patrick Henry
The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.--Benjamin Franklin
The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson.--Franklin D. Roosevelt
The federal government has taken too much tax money from the people, too much authority from the states, and too much liberty with the Constitution.--Ronald Reagan
We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds...[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers... And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for[ another]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression. -- Thomas Jefferson
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!--Benjamin Franklin
When a government takes over a people's economic life it becomes absolute, and when it has become absolute it destroys the arts, the minds, the liberties and the meaning of the people it governs.--Maxwell Anderson
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.--George Bernard Shaw
Any society that will give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.--Benjamin Franklin
A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user. --Theodore Roosevelt
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.--Abraham Lincoln
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
A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.--Edward R. Murrow
"I had rather ask an enlargement of power from the nation, where it is
found necessary, than to assume it by a construction which would make
our powers boundless." -- Thomas Jefferson to W. Nicholas, 1803.
But to expend millions
is unworthy the charge, and is using posterity with the utmost cruelty; because it is leaving them the great work to do, and a debt upon their backs from which they derive no advantage. Such a thought is unworthy a man of honor, and is the true characteristic of a narrow heart and a peddling politician." -- Thomas Paine
"A free people claim their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate" --Thomas Jefferson
"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer