It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.
A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.
When men exercise their reason coolly and freely on a variety of distinct questions, they inevitably fall into different opinions on some of them. When they are governed by a common passion, their opinions, if they are to be called, will be the same.
Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.
Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.
A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.
Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.
The changes in the human condition are uncertain and frequent. Many, on whom fortune has bestowed her favours, may trace their family to a more unprosperous station; and many who are now in obscurity, may look back upon the affluence and exalted rank of their ancestors.
I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man.
A garden, you know, is a very usual refuge of a disappointed politician. Accordingly, I have purchased a few acres about nine miles from town, have built a house, and am cultivating a garden.
Laws are a dead letter without courts to expound and define their true meaning and operation.
It is long since I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.
Every man ought to be supposed a knave, and to have no other end, in all his actions, but private interest. By this interest we must govern him, and by means of it, make him cooperate to public good, notwithstanding his unsatiable avarice and ambition.
The same state of the passions which fits the multitude, who have not sufficient stock of reason and knowledge to guide them, for opposition to tyranny and oppression, very naturally leads them to a contempt and disregard of all authority.