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Other Quotes of the Founding Fathers

Barry Dunagan's Genealogy and Military History

In a famous incident in 1854, President Franklin Pierce was pilloried for vetoing an extremely popular bill intended to help mentally ill. The act was championed by the renowned 19th century social reformer Dorothea Dix. In the face of heavy criticism, Pierce countered: "I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for the public charity." To approve such spending, argued Pierce, "would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded."
"Study the Constitution. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislatures, and enforced in courts of justice." Abraham Lincoln
"The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it." --John Stuart Mill
"Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." -- Frederic Bastiat
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship." Professor Alexander Tytler over 200 years ago
"If Congress can determine what constitutes the general welfare and can appropriate money for its advancement, where is the limitation to carrying into execution whatever can be effected by money?" South Carolina Senator William Draden 1828
"When men get in the habit of helping themselves to the property of others, they cannot easily be cured of it." -- The New York Times, in a 1909 editoriial opposing the very first income tax
"For me to go into politics would be like sending a virgin into a house of ill-repute." H.L. Mencken
"The State is great fiction by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else." Frederic Bastiat
"Imagine, if you will, that I am an idiot. Then, imagine that I am also a Congressman. But, alas, I repeat myself." Mark Twain
"To be GOVERNED is to be kept in sight, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right, nor the wisdom, nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked, abused, clubbed, disarmed, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality." French socialist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century, trans. John Beverley Robinson (London: Freedom Press, 1923), p.294
"Classifications and distinctions based on race or color have no moral or legal validity in our society. They are contrary to our constitution and laws." Thurgood Marshall, 1947
"It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error." Robert Houghwout Jackson, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and Chief Judge at the War-Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg
"I would have government defend the life and property of all citizens equally; protect all unwilling exchange; suppress and penalize all fraud, all misrepresentation, all violence, all predatory practices; invoke a common justice under law; and keep the records incidental to these functions. Even this is a bigger assignment than governments, generally, have proven capable of. Let governments do these things and do them well. Leave all else to men in free and creative effort." Leonard E. Read, Freedom Daily, page 35, March 2001
"Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; ... The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." Frederick Douglass, U.S Marshal, son of a slave, 1857
"The moment a person forms a theory his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory." Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Charles Thompson, September 20, 1787 in The Works of Thomas Jefferson, edited Paul L. Ford, Volume 5, Page 352, New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1904