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Quotes of the day: Alexander Hamilton

Published Saturday, January 11, 2014 @ 6:09 AM EST
Jan 11 2014

Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 (or 1757) – July 12, 1804) was a founding father of the United States, chief of staff to General George Washington, one of the most influential interpreters and promoters of the Constitution, the founder of the nation's financial system, and the founder of the first American political party. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A fondness for power is implanted in most men, and it is natural to abuse it when acquired.

A national debt, if not excessive, will be to us as a national blessing. It will be a powerful cement of our union.

And it is long since I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.

Civil liberty is only natural liberty, modified and secured by the sanctions of civil society.

Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things.

I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man.

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.

Inequality will exist as long as liberty exists. It unavoidably results from that very liberty itself.

It is a maxim deeply ingrafted in that dark system, that no character, however upright, is a match for constantly reiterated attacks, however false.

Laws are a dead letter without courts to expound and define their true meaning and operation.

Let us recollect that peace or war will not always be left to our option; that however moderate or unambitious we may be, we cannot count upon the moderation, or hope to extinguish the ambition of others.

Men are rather reasoning than reasonable animals, for the most part governed by the impulse of passion.

Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.

Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.

Remember civil and religious liberty always go together: if the foundation of the one be sapped, the other will fall of course.

The passions of a revolution are apt to hurry even good men into excesses.

The system, though it may not be perfect in every part, is, upon the whole, a good one; is the best that the present views and circumstances of the country will permit; and is such an one as promises every species of security which a reasonable people can desire.

There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

To produce the desirable changes, as early as may be expedient, may therefore require the incitement and patronage of government.

Unless your government is respectable, foreigners will invade your rights; and to maintain tranquillity you must be respectable; even to observe neutrality you must have a strong government.

We must make the best of those ills which cannot be avoided.

Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.

Categories: Alexander Hamilton, Quotes of the day


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