Tag Archives: founding fathers

George Washington on National Debt

“As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen, which we ourselves ought to bear.”

— George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

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February 16, 2009 · 12:15 pm

John Adams on Government

“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”

— John Adams, Notes for an Oration at Braintree (1772)

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February 14, 2009 · 10:04 am

Thomas Jefferson on History

“History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.”

— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Norvell, 14 June 1807

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July 6, 2007 · 1:28 pm

Thomas Jefferson on Past and Future

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, 1 August 1816

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July 6, 2007 · 1:27 pm

George Washington on Honesty

“I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs that honesty is always the best policy.”

— George Washington, Farewell Address, 19 September 1796

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June 28, 2007 · 2:31 pm

John Jay on Government

“Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government; and it is equally undeniable that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights, in order to vest it with requisite powers.”

— John Jay, The Federalist, No. 2

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June 28, 2007 · 1:53 am

Alexander Hamilton on Conversion

“For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.”

— Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist, No. 1

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June 28, 2007 · 1:48 am