Man is not free unless government is limited.
- Ronald Reagan
It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.
- James Madison, Federalist 48, 1787
Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it.
- John Adams, A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765
The freedom and happiness of man ... [are] the sole objects of all legitimate government.
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thaddeus Kosciusko, 1810
We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816
[W]hat more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? ... 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 the bread it has earned.
- Thomas Jefferson
In Europe, charters of liberty have been granted by power. America has set the example . . . of charters of power granted by liberty.
- James Madison, Essays for the National Gazette, 1792
I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that "all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people." To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.
- Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, 1791
An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.
- James Madison, Federalist 84, 1788
A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.
- James Madison, Federalist 51, 1788
We may define a republic to be ... a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior.
- James Madison, Federalist 39, 1788
The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy.
- Benjamin Franklin, Emblematical Representations, 1774
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
- Declaration of Independence, 1776
Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. ... This being the end of government, that alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man whatever is his own.
- James Madison, Essay on Property, 1792
In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.
- Thomas Jefferson: Draft, Kentucky Res., 1798
It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all.
- Thomas Jefferson to M. D'Ivernois, 1795
The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management.
- Thomas Jefferson to S. Kercheval, 1816