James Madison Quotes

James Madison (1751-1836) was an American political theorist, Secretary of State in Jefferson’s administration, and the 4th U.S. President. Madison is considered the Father of the U.S. Constitution. He collaborated with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton to create the Federalist Papers which would support the Constitution. During the Constitution ratification process, Madison supported the idea of a strong national government, but later he changed his attitude and thought that State governments should be stronger. Madison was the author of many laws.

James Madison Quotes

Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation… Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

— James Madison

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

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.

— James Madison

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

— James Madison, In a speech at the Virginia Convention, 1788

Whenever there is an interest and power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done and not less readily by a powerful and interested Party, than by a prince.

— James Madison

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

The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.

— James Madison

It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.

— James Madison, The Federalist No. 62

An armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics — that without standing armies their liberty can never be in danger, nor with large ones safe…

— James Madison

Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace.

— James Madison

Stability in government is essential to national character and to the advantages annexed to it, as well as to that repose and confidence in the minds of the people, which are among the chief blessings of civil society.

— James Madison

Congress shall never disarm any citizen unless such as are or have been in actual rebellion.

— James Madison

Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant.

— James Madison