"[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."
"The United States is a republic, and a republic is a state in which the people are the boss. That means us. And if the big shots in Washington don't do like we vote, we don't vote for them, by golly, no more."
"The contented and economically comfortable have a very discriminating view of government. Nobody is ever indignant about bailing out failed banks and failed savings and loans associations.... But when taxes must be paid for the lower middle class and poor, the government assumes an aspect of wickedness."
"Wags try to invent new stories to tell about the legislature, and end by telling the old one about the senator who explained his unaccustomed possession of a large roll of bills by saying that someone pushed it over the transom while he slept. The expression "It came over the transom," to explain any unusual good fortune, is part of local folklore."
"I have always felt that the real purpose of government is to enhance the lives of people and that a leader can best do that by restraining government in most cases instead of enlarging it at every opportunity."
"The Declaration [of Independence] was not a protest against government, but against the excess of government. It prescribed the proper role of government, to secure the rights of individuals and to effect their safety and happiness. In modern society, no individual can do this alone. So government is not a necessary evil but a necessary good."
"The wise and just man will always feel that he stands on his own feet; that he imparts strength to the state, not receives security from it; and if all went down, he and such as he would quite easily combine in a new and better constitution."
"Where is he who seeing a thousand men useless and unhappy, and making the whole region forlorn by their inaction, and conscious himself of possessing the faculty they want, does not hear his call to go and be their king?"
"A woman does not have to make decisions based on the need to survive. She can cut through issues, call shots as she sees them.... Many bad decisions are made by men in government because it is good for them personally to make bad public decisions."
"Government ... thought [it] could transform the country through massive national programs, but often the programs did not work. Too often they only made things worse. In our rush to accomplish great deeds quickly, we trampled on sound principles of restraint and endangered the rights of individuals."