United States Founding Fathers
James Madison
Quotes

Abuse of Judicial Power

  1. "I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution. And if that be not the guide in expounding it, there can be no security for a consistent and stable, more than for a faithful, exercise of its powers. ... What a metamorphosis would be produced in the code of law if all its ancient phraseology were to be taken in its modern sense."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "The Writings of James Madison", Gaillard Hunt, editor (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1910), Vol. IX, p. 191, to Henry Lee on June 25, 1824.

  2. "[R]efusing or not refusing to execute a law, to stamp it with its final character. ... makes the Judiciary department paramount in fact to the Legislature, which was never intended and can never be proper>."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "Letters and Other Writings of James Madison", (New York: Published by Order of Congress, 1884), Vol I, p. 194, from his remarks on Mr. Jefferson’s “Draught of a Constitution for Virginia,” sent from New York to Mr. John Brown, Kentucky, October 1788. Commenting on the judiciary placing its own meaning on laws or striking them down, not because they were unconstitutional, but because they disagreed with them.

Acknowledgment of Christ by Public Officials

  1. "I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "The Papers of James Madison", William T. Hutchinson, editor (Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1962), Vol. I, p. 66, to William Bradford on September 25, 1773.

Blackstone

  1. "I very cheerfully express my approbation of the proposed edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "Letters and Other Writings of James Madison", (New York: R. Worthington, 1884), Vol. III, p. 233, to Littell and Henry on October 18, 1821.

Civil Society

  1. "Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "A Memorial and Remonstrance Presented to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia at their Session in 1785 in Consequence of a Bill Brought into that Assembly for the Establishment of Religion", (Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, 1786), p. 4.

Constitution

  1. "You give me a credit to which I have no claim in calling me "the writer of the Constitution of the United States". This was not, like the fabled Goddess of Wisdom, the offspring of a single brain. It ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "The Letters and Other Writings of James Madison", (New York: R. Worthington, 1884), Vol. IV, pp. 341-342, to William Cogswell on March 10, 1834.

Constitutional Interpretation

  1. "But the great objection drawn from the source to which the last arguments would lead us is that the Legislature itself has no right to expound the Constitution; that wherever its meaning is doubtful, you must leave it to take its course until the Judiciary is called upon the declare its meaning. I acknowledge, in the ordinary course of government, that the exposition of the laws and Constitution devolves upon the Judiciary. But I beg to know upon what principle it can be contended that any one department draws from the Constitution greater powers than another in marking out the limits of the powers of the several departments."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States", (Washington, D. C.: Gales and Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, p. 520, James Madison on June 17, 1789. Speaking about the right of the legislative and executive branches being able to interpret the Constitution under their own sphere of power and prohibiting the judiciary from interpreting the Constitution for the other branches.

  2. "Nothing has yet been offered to invalidate the doctrine that the meaning of the Constitution may as well be ascertained by the Legislative as by the Judicial authority."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (Washington, D. C.: Gales and Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, p. 568, James Madison on June 18, 1789.

Declaration of Independence

  1. "Given under my hand and the seal of the United States at the city of Washington, the 9th day of August, A.D. 1809, and of the Independence of the said United States the thirty-fourth. By the President: James Madison."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, James D. Richardson, "A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897", (Authority of Congress, 1899), Vol. I, p. 473, August 9, 1809. The fact that the Presidents of the United States dated their documents from the country's independence indicates that the Declaration, with its moral values, is the foundational document of the Constitution. Article VII of the Constitution indicates this as well.

Democracy

  1. "[D]emocracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison, "The Federalist on the New Constitution", (Philadelphia: Benjamin Warner, 1818), p. 53, #10, James Madison.

Dependence on God and the People

  1. "But the source to which I look or the aids which alone can supply my deficiencies is in the well-trained intelligence and virtue of my fellow-citizens, and in the counsels of those representing them in the other departments associated in the care of the national interests. In these my confidence will under every difficulty be best placed, next to that which we have all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and guidance of that Almighty Being whose power regulates the destiny of nations, whose blessings have been so conspicuously dispensed to this rising Republic, and to whom we are bound to address our devout gratitude for the past, as well as our fervent supplications and best hopes for the future."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, First Inaugural Address

Duty

  1. "It is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other."

    - Virginia Bill of Rights, "The Proceedings of the Convention of Delegates, Held at the Capitol in the City of Williamsburg, in the Colony of Virginia, on Monday the 6th of May, 1776", (Williamsburg: Alexander Purdie, 1776), p. 103. Madison on the Committee on May 16, 1776; the “Declaration of Rights” passed June 12, 1776. Madison was on the committee that wrote the 1776 Virginia Bill of Rights and specifically approve this clause.

Federalist Papers

  1. "The “Federalist” may fairly enough be regarded as the most authentic exposition of the heart of the federal Constitution as understood by the body which prepared and the authority which accepted it."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "The Writings of James Madison", Gaillard Hunt, editor (New York and London: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1910), Vol. IX, p. 219, to Thomas Jefferson on February 8, 1825.

First Amendment - Religion

  1. "The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States", (Washington, D. C.: Gales and Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, p. 451, James Madison, June 8, 1789. Madison's proposed wording for the first amendment's clauses on religion.

  2. "AUGUST 15, 1789. Mr. [Peter] Sylvester [of New York] had some doubts. ... He feared it [the First Amendment] might be thought to have a tendency to abolish religion altogether. ... Mr. [Elbridge] Gerry [of Massachusetts] said it would read better if it was that "no religious doctrine shall be established by law." ... Mr. [ James] Madison [of Virginia] said he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that "Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law." ... [T]he State[s] ... seemed to entertain an opinion that under the clause of the Constitution . . . it enabled them [Congress] to make laws of such a nature as might ... establish a national religion; to prevent these effects he presumed the amendment was intended. ... Mr. Madison thought if the word “national” was inserted before religion, it would satisfy the minds of honorable gentlemen. ... He thought if the word “national” was introduced, it would point the amendment directly to the object it was intended to prevent."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States", (Washington, D. C.: Gales and Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, pp. 757-759, August 15, 1789.

God in Government

  1. "No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events and of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States. ... And to the same Divine Author of every good and perfect gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, James D. Richardson, "A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897", (Published by Authority of Congress, 1899), Vol. I, p. 561. March 4, 1815.

David Hume

  1. "bungling lawgiver"

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "Letters and Other Writings of James Madison", (New York: R. Worthington, 1884), Vol. IV, p. 58, to N. P. Trist in February 1830.

  2. "manifestly erroneous"

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "Letters and Other Writings of James Madison", (New York: R. Worthington, 1884), Vol. IV, p. 464, from his “Essay on Money.”

Law

  1. "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; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "The Federalist Papers", #62, Kopel, Halbrook, Korwin, "Supreme Court Gun Cases", (Bloomfield Press, Phoenix, AZ., 2004) p. 11; "The Federalist", (Regnery Publishing, Washington DC, 1998), pp. 471-472, February 29, 1788, Hamilton

  2. "A law violating a constitution established by the people themselves would be considered by the judges as null and void."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "The Papers of James Madison", Henry D. Gilpin, editor (Washington: Langtree & O’Sullivan, 1840), Vol. II, p. 1184, James Madison at the Constitutional Convention Monday, July 23, 1787.

National Day of Thanksgiving

  1. "I do therefore issue this my proclamation, recommending to all who shall be piously disposed to unite their hearts and voices in addressing at one and the same time their vows and adorations to the Great Parent and Sovereign of the Universe ... to render Him thanks for the many blessings He has bestowed on the people of the United States."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, James D. Richardson, "A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897", (Published by Authority of Congress, 1899), Vol. I, p. 532. July 23, 1813.

Salvation

  1. "[A] watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, "The Papers of James Madison", William T. Hutchinson, editor (Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1962), Vol. I, p. 66, to William Bradford on September 25, 1773.

Separation of Powers

  1. "The preservation of a free government requires not merely that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be universally maintained but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great barrier which defends the rights of the people. The rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment exceed the commission from which they derive their authority and are tyrants. The people who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them and are slaves."

    - James Madison, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of the United States House of Representatives helping to frame the Bill of Rights, 4th President of the United States under the Constitution, A Memorial and Remonstrance Presented to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia at their Session in 1785 in Consequence of a Bill Brought into that Assembly for the Establishment of Religion (Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, 1786), pp. 4-5.

Party of 1776 - "No King but King Jesus" - www.partyof1776.net