92 Best James Madison Quotes from the Father of the Constitution

James Madison, born on March 16, 1751, was the fourth U.S. president and a key Founding Father.

Central to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, he co-authored the Federalist papers with Hamilton and Jay.

In the inaugural House of Representatives, Madison introduced the Bill of Rights.

He served as secretary of state during the Louisiana Purchase under Jefferson and presided over the War of 1812.


A Virginia native, Madison faced health issues but was a leading voice in the Continental Congress and Virginia politics.

His acumen in state rights and territorial issues solidified his esteemed political reputation.

In this article, I have shared the top quotes by James Madison.

Best James Madison Quotes


A public debt is a public curse. ~ James Madison.

Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. ~ James Madison.

Resistance to tyranny is service to God. ~ James Madison.

Philosophy is common sense with big words. ~ James Madison.

The most productive system of finance will always be the least burdensome. ~ James Madison.

No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. ~ James Madison.

Liberty is to faction what air is to fire… ~ James Madison.

Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant. ~ James Madison.

Every new and successful example of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance. ~ James Madison.

The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. ~ James Madison.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. ~ James Madison.

An efficient militia is authorized and contemplated by the Constitution and required by the spirit and safety of free government. ~ James Madison.

Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. ~ James Madison.

People will continue to seek justice until it is found, or until liberty is lost in the pursuit. ~ James Madison.

Famous James Madison Quotes

Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government. ~ James Madison.

The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned. ~ James Madison.

In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature. ~ James Madison.

The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world. ~ James Madison.

Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. ~ James Madison.

Experience has instructed us that no skill in the science of government has yet been able to discriminate and define, with sufficient certainty, its three great provinces the legislative, executive, and judiciary; or even the privileges and powers of the different legislative branches. ~ James Madison.

A government that does not trust it’s law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is itself unworthy of trust. ~ James Madison.

Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government. ~ James Madison.

America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat. ~ James Madison.

Wise James Madison Quotes

Among the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. ~ James Madison.

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;. ~ James Madison.

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood. ~ James Madison.

Having outlived so many of my contemporaries, I ought not to forget that I may be thought to have outlived myself. ~ James Madison.

The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable. ~ James Madison.

The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. ~ James Madison.

We have seen the mere distinction of color made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man. ~ James Madison.

Ultimate James Madison Quotes

The primary function of government is to protect the minority of the opulent from the majority of the poor. ~ James Madison.

If our nation is ever taken over, it will be taken over from within. ~ James Madison.

Landholders ought to have a share in the government to support these invaluable interests and check the other many. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. ~ James Madison.


Man is known to be a selfish, as well as a social being. ~ James Madison.

No error is more certain than the one proceeding from a hasty and superficial view of the subject. ~ James Madison.

The purpose of the Constitution is to restrict the majority’s ability to harm a minority. ~ James Madison.

Democracy is the most vile form of government. ~ James Madison.

We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all our heart. ~ James Madison.

Nothing could be more irrational than to give the people power, and to withhold from them information without which power is abused. ~ James Madison.

The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money. ~ James Madison.

Temporary deviations from fundamental principles are always more or less dangerous. When the first pretext fails, those who become interested in prolonging the evil will rarely be at a loss for other pretexts. ~ James Madison.

The very definition of tyranny is when all powers are gathered under one place. ~ James Madison.

Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob. ~ James Madison.

The express authority of the people alone could give validity to the Constitution. ~ James Madison.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land. ~ James Madison.

The religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. ~ James Madison.

The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. ~ James Madison.

The number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state. ~ James Madison.

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.

The ultimate authority resides in the people, and that if the federal government got too powerful and overstepped its authority, then the people would develop plans of resistance and resort to arms. ~ James Madison.

A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people. ~ James Madison.

Conscience is the most sacred of all property. ~ James Madison.

I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. ~ James Madison.

A standing army is one of the greatest mischief that can possibly happen. ~ James Madison.


War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. ~ James Madison.

Whenever a youth is ascertained to possess talents meriting an education which his parents cannot afford, he should be carried forward at the public expense. ~ James Madison.

You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. ~ James Madison.

Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace. ~ James Madison.

In framing a system, which we wish to last for ages, we should not lose sight of the changes which ages will produce. ~ James Madison.

Freedom has more often been lost in small steps by progressive incrementalism, than it has been by catastrophic upheavals such as violence or war. ~ James Madison.

It is vain to say that enlightened statesmen will always be able to adjust their interests. Enlightened men will not always be at the helm. ~ James Madison.

The fetters imposed on liberty at home have ever been forged out of the weapons provided for defense against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers from abroad. ~ James Madison.

The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded. ~ James Madison.

Top James Madison Quotes

Armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. ~ James Madison.

Union of religious sentiments begets a surprising confidence, and ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption; all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects. ~ James Madison.

The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty. ~ James Madison.

Torrents of blood have been spilt in the world in vain attempts of the secular arm to extinguish religious discord, by proscribing all differences in religious opinions. ~ James Madison.

It is a melancholy reflection that liberty should be equally exposed to danger whether the government have too much power or too little power and that the line which divides these extremes should be so inaccurately defined by experience. ~ James Madison.

Let me recommend the best medicine in the world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant country, in easy stages. ~ James Madison.

It is a principle incorporated into the settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute. ~ James Madison.

What is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. ~ James Madison.

All power in human hands is liable to be abused. ~ James Madison.

All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree. ~ James Madison.

Disarm the people – that is the best and most effective way to enslave them. ~ James Madison.

The Federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular, to the state legislatures. ~ James Madison.

Deep James Madison Quotes

A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. ~ James Madison.

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance. ~ James Madison.

Those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of things, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued, or concluded. ~ James Madison.

Conscience is the most sacred of all property; other property depending in part on positive law, the exercise of that, being a natural and unalienable right. ~ James Madison.

The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted. ~ James Madison.

Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ. ~ James Madison.

I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. ~ James Madison.

Toleration is not the opposite of intolerance, but is the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms. The one assumes to itself the right of withholding liberty of conscience, the other of granting it. ~ James Madison.

We have seen that the tendency of republican governments is to an aggrandizement of the legislative at the expense of the other departments. The appeals to the people, therefore, would usually be made by the executive and judiciary departments. ~ James Madison.

It is of great importance in a republic, not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers; but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. ~ James Madison.

Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions. ~ James Madison.

Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind, and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect. ~ James Madison.


If men were angels, no government would be necessary. ~ James Madison.

The civil rights of none, shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext infringed. ~ James Madison.

The nation which reposes on the pillow of political confidence, will sooner or later end its political existence in a deadly lethargy. ~ James Madison.

Bills of attainder, ex-post facto laws and laws impairing the obligation of contracts are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. ~ James Madison.

As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. ~ James Madison.

So these were the 92 top James Madison quotes on religion, government, constitution, democracy, liberty etc.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Thomas Sowell quotes and Groucho Marx quotes.

Share with others!
Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar