"Government by average opinion is merely a circuitous method of going to the devil; those who profess to lead but in fact slavishly follow this average opinion are simply the fastest runners and the loudest squeakers of the herd which is rushing blindly down to its destruction."
"The very existence of society depends on the fact that every member of it tacitly admits he is not the exclusive possessor of himself, and that he admits the claim of the polity of which he forms a part, to act, to some extent, as his master."
"[Government's] true strength consists in leaving individuals and states as much as possible to themselves--in making itself felt, not in its power, but in its beneficence, not in its control, but in its protection, not in binding the states more closely to the center, but leaving each to move unobstructed in its proper orbit."
"We are beginning a new era in our government. I cannot too strongly urge the necessity of a rigid economy and an inflexible determination not to enlarge the income beyond the real necessities of the government."
"The ambition which leads me on is an anxious desire and a fixed determination to return to the people unimpaired the sacred trust they have confided to my charge; to heal the wounds of the Constitution and preserve it from further violation; to persuade my countrymen, so far as I may, that it is not in a splendid government supported by powerful monopolies and aristocratical establishments that they will find happiness or their liberties protection, but in a plain system, void of pomp, protecting all and granting favors to none, dispensing its blessings, like the dews of Heaven, unseen and unfelt save in the freshness and beauty they contribute to produce. It is such a government that the genius of the people requires; such an [sic] one only under which our states may remain for ages to come united, prosperous, and free."
"However much we may differ in the choice of the measures which should guide the administration of the government, there can be but little doubt in the minds of those who are really friendly to the republican features of our system that one of its most important securities consists in the separation of the legislative and executive powers at the same time that each is acknowledged to be supreme, in the will of the people constitutionally expressed."
"In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society--the farmers, mechanics, and laborers--who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government."
"What more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more ... Ma wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from labor the bread it has earned."
"[I]n Great-Britain it is said that their constitution relies on the house of commons for honesty, and the lords for wisdom; which would be a rational reliance if honesty were to be bought with money, and if wisdom were hereditary."
"The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold on us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered."
"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
"It is no part of the functions of the National Government to find employment for the people, and if we were to appropriate a hundred millions for his purpose, we should only be taxing 40 millions of people to keep a few thousand employed."