Founding Father Quotes That Still Resonate Today
Founding Father Quotes That Still Resonate Today
“The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitution of government. But the Constitution which at any times exists, ’til changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all.” George Washington (1732–1799). The first President of the United States, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers. (Gilbert Stuart/Library of Congress)

“The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitution of government. But the Constitution which at any times exists, ’til changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all.” George Washington (1732–1799). The first President of the United States, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers. (Gilbert Stuart/Library of Congress)

“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”

John Adams (1735–1826). The second president of the United States after serving as the first vice president of the United States and one of the Founding Fathers. (Painting by Gilbert Stuart)

“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” John Adams (1735–1826). The second president of the United States after serving as the first vice president of the United States and one of the Founding Fathers. (Painting by Gilbert Stuart)

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826).  The main author of the Declaration of Independence, the third president of the United States, and one of the Founding Fathers. (Portrait by Matthew Harris Jouett)

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826). The main author of the Declaration of Independence, the third president of the United States, and one of the Founding Fathers. (Portrait by Matthew Harris Jouett)

“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

James Madison (1751–1836). The fourth president of the United States. Author of the Bill of Rights and hailed as the

“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” James Madison (1751–1836). The fourth president of the United States. Author of the Bill of Rights and hailed as the "Father of the Constitution." (Portrait by John Vanderlyn)

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty.”

Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790). One of the founding fathers of the United States. A polymath, known as one of the major figures of the American Enlightenment and in physics for his discoveries in electricity. (Portrait by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis)

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty.” Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790). One of the founding fathers of the United States. A polymath, known as one of the major figures of the American Enlightenment and in physics for his discoveries in electricity. (Portrait by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis)

“Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.”

Samuel Adams (1722–1803). A leader in the American Revolution and one of the founding fathers who laid out the principles of American republicanism. (Portrait by John Singleton Copley)

“Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.” Samuel Adams (1722–1803). A leader in the American Revolution and one of the founding fathers who laid out the principles of American republicanism. (Portrait by John Singleton Copley)

"Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." Thomas Paine (1736–1809). One of the founding fathers of the United States, a political activist, author and political theorist. His writings had a significant influence at the start of the American Revolution. He inspired the Patriots in 1778 to declare independence from Britain. (Portrait by Auguste Millière)

“United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.”

Patrick Henry (1736–1799). An attorney and politician. He became the orator dung the independence movement of Virginia  and he led the opposition to the Stamp Act. (Portrait by George Bagby Matthews)

“United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.” Patrick Henry (1736–1799). An attorney and politician. He became the orator dung the independence movement of Virginia and he led the opposition to the Stamp Act. (Portrait by George Bagby Matthews)

“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.”

Alexander Hamilton (1755/1757–1804). Chief of staff of General Washington and a founding father of the United States. He was one of the most influential interpreters of the Constitution, the founder of the financial system and the first American political party. 
(Portrait by John Trumbull)

“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.” Alexander Hamilton (1755/1757–1804). Chief of staff of General Washington and a founding father of the United States. He was one of the most influential interpreters of the Constitution, the founder of the financial system and the first American political party. (Portrait by John Trumbull)

George Washington                                              

“The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitution of government. But the Constitution which at any times exists, ’til changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all.”

“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”  

“Remember that it is the actions, and not the commission, that make the officer, and that there is more expected from him, than the title.”

John Adams

“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”

“All the perplexities, confusions, and distress in America arise, not from defects in their constitution or confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.”

Thomas Jefferson
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

“Most bad government has grown out of too much government.”

James Madison  

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

“We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.”

“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

Benjamin Franklin

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty.”

Samuel Adams

“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”

“Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.”

Thomas Paine

“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 furnish the means by which we suffer.”

“Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.”

Patrick Henry

“United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.”

“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.”

Alexander Hamilton

“The members of the Legislative department … are numerous. They are distributed and dwell among the people at large. Their connections of blood, of friendship, and of acquaintance embrace a great proportion of the most influential part of the society. … they are more immediately the confidential guardians of their rights and liberties.”

“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.”

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