Government Quotations


 The purpose and needed limits of and on government.

What is the purpose of government? These quotations should give you an idea. The first quotation is the single most important thing on the topic of government and liberty you can ever read. We are apathetic right now. I can hear now the shackles being forged.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote
themselves largess of the public treasury. From that time on
the majority always votes for the candidates promising the
most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that
a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always
followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's
great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have
progressed through this sequence:from bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency;from complacency to apathy;
from apathy to dependency;from dependency back again to bondage."
Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (1742-1813) Scottish jurist and historian

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others."
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors, ME 2:221

"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned -- this is the sum of good government."
Thomas Jefferson

"That government is best which governs least."
Thomas Paine

"Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Albert Gallatin, 1817

"We must confine ourselves to the powers described in the Constitution, and the moment we pass it, we take an arbitrary stride towards a despotic Government."
James Jackson, First Congress, 1st Annals of Congress, 489

"You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; right derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe."
John Adams


"It is sufficiently obvious, that persons and property are the two great subjects on which Governments are to act; and that the rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. These rights cannot be separated."
James Madison, Speech at the Virginia Convention, December 2, 1829

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite."
James Madison, Federal No. 45, January 26, 1788