Whatever government is not a government of laws, is a despotism, let it be called what they may.
No power but Congress can declare war; but what is the value of this constitutional provision, if the President of his own authority may make such military movements as must bring on war? ... [T]hese remarks originate purely in a desire to maintain the powers of government as they are established by the Constitution between the different departments, and hope that, whether we have conquests or no conquests, war or no war, peace or no peace, we shall yet preserve, in its integrity and strength, the Constitution of the United States.
No power but Congress can declare war, but what is the value of this constitutional provision, if the President of his own authority may make such military movements as must bring on war?
The world is governed more by appearance than realities so that it is fully as necessary to seem to know something as to know it.
Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war in which the folly and wickedness of the government may engage itself? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest right of personal liberty? Who will show me any Constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life, and even life, itself, whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it? ... A free government with an uncontrolled power of military conscription is the most ridiculous and abominable contradiction and nonsense that ever entered into the heads of men.
I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe ... Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. -- From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing. Make them intelligent, and they will be vigilant; give them the means of detecting the wrong, and they will apply the remedy.
No man can suffer too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffer or if he fall in defense of the liberties and Constitution of his country.
Human beings will generally exercise power when they can get it, and they will exercise it most undoubtedly in popular governments under pretense of public safety.
The contest, for ages, has been to rescue Liberty from the grasp of executive power.
Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint.
The inherent right in the people to reform their government, I do not deny; and they have another right, and that is to resist unconstitutional laws without overturning the government.
No government is respectable which is not just. Without unspotted purity of public faith, without sacred public principle, fidelity, and honor, no machinery of laws, can give dignity to political society.
The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions.
We are in danger of being overwhelmed with irredeemable paper, mere paper, representing not gold nor silver; no sir, representing nothing but broken promises, bad faith, bankrupt corporations, cheated creditors and a ruined people.
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.
Love your country but fear its government.
If the Union was formed by accession of States then
the Union may be dissolved by the secession of States.
Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint; the more restraint on others to keep off from us, the more liberty we have.
Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.
Knowledge is the only fountain both of love and the principles of human liberty.