Government Quotes

If you want to understand your government, don't begin by reading the Constitution. It conveys precious little of the flavor of today's statecraft. Instead, read selected portions of the Washington telephone directory containing listings for all the organizations with titles beginning with the word National

George Will

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time.

Winston Churchill

Our government... teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy

Louis Brandeis

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys

P.J. O'Rourke

The way people in democracies think of the government as something different from themselves is a real handicap. And, of course, sometimes the government confirms their opinion

Lewis Mumford

I think serving your government is the greatest thing in the world.

Alphonso Jackson

Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force

Thomas Jefferson

The purpose of a written constitution is to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights.

Thomas Jefferson

The only greater evil than separation... is living under a government of discretion

Thomas Jefferson

When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated

Thomas Jefferson

It is sufficiently obvious, that persons and property are the two great subjects on which Governments are to act; and that the rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. These rights cannot be separated

James Madison

That the principle and construction contended for by sundry of the state legislatures, that the general government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism; since the discretion of those who administer the government, and not the constitution, would be the measure of their powers: That the several states who formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under colour of that instrument, is the rightful remedy.

Thomas Jefferson

We still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping at the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised to furnish new pretenses for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute

Thomas Paine

We must confine ourselves to the powers described in the Constitution, and the moment we pass it, we take an arbitrary stride towards a despotic Government

James Jackson

the true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best . . . (for) when all government . . . shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as . . . oppressive as the government from which we separated

Thomas Jefferson
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