Zitate von James Madison

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James Madison

Geburtstag: 16. März 1751
Todesdatum: 28. Juni 1836

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James Madison war von 1809 bis 1817 der vierte Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten und einer der Gründerväter der Vereinigten Staaten. Den Ideen der Aufklärung verpflichtet, war er Autor großer Teile der Verfassung der Vereinigten Staaten und entwarf die Bill of Rights. Unter Präsident Thomas Jefferson diente er als Außenminister und war unter anderem für den Louisiana Purchase verantwortlich. Während seiner Amtszeit als Präsident führte er die Vereinigten Staaten zwischen 1812 und 1815 im Britisch-Amerikanischen Krieg.

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Zitate James Madison

„Mr. Madison was not a little surprised to hear this implicit confidence urged by a member who, on all occasions, had inculcated so strongly the political depravity of men, and the necessity of checking one vice and interest by opposing to them another vice and interest.“

—  James Madison
Context: Two objections had been raised against leaving the adjustment of the representation, from time to time, to the discretion of the Legislature. The first was, they would be unwilling to revise it at all. The second, that, by referring to wealth, they would be bound by a rule which, if willing, they would be unable to execute. The first objection distrusts their fidelity. But if their duty, their honor, and their oaths, will not bind them, let us not put into their hands our liberty, and all our other great interests; let us have no government at all. In the second place, if these ties will bind them we need not distrust the practicability of the rule. It was followed in part by the Committee in the apportionment of Representatives yesterday reported to the House. The best course that could be taken would be to leave the interests of the people to the representatives of the people. Mr. Madison was not a little surprised to hear this implicit confidence urged by a member who, on all occasions, had inculcated so strongly the political depravity of men, and the necessity of checking one vice and interest by opposing to them another vice and interest. If the representatives of the people would be bound by the ties he had mentioned, what need was there of a Senate? What of a revisionary power? But his reasoning was not only inconsistent with his former reasoning, but with itself. At the same time that he recommended this implicit confidence to the Southern States in the Northern majority, he was still more zealous in exhorting all to a jealousy of a western majority. To reconcile the gentleman with himself, it must be imagined that he determined the human character by the points of the compass. The truth was, that all men having power ought to be distrusted, to a certain degree. The case of Pennsylvania had been mentioned, where it was admitted that those who were possessed of the power in the original settlement never admitted the new settlements to a due share of it. England was a still more striking example. Madison's notes (11 July 1787) http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_711.asp<!-- Reports of Debates in the Federal Convention (11 July 1787), in The Papers of James Madison (1842), Vol. II, p. 1073 --> Variants:

„On a view of all circumstances I have judged it most prudent not to force Billey back to Virginia even if it could be done“

—  James Madison
Context: On a view of all circumstances I have judged it most prudent not to force Billey back to Virginia even if it could be done; and have accordingly taken measures for his final separation from me. I am persuaded his mind is too thoroughly tainted to be a fit companion for fellow slaves in Virginia. The laws here do not admit of his being sold for more than 7 years. I do not expect to get near the worth of him; but cannot think of punishing him by transportation merely for coveting that liberty for which we have paid the prices of so much blood, and have proclaimed so often to be the right, and worthy the pursuit of every human being. Letter to James Madison, Sr. (8 September 1783) https://books.google.com/books?id=-IrnXiH2lbAC&pg=PA11&dq=%22Madison%22+%22coveting+that+liberty+for+which+we+have+paid%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAGoVChMI_ab6o9vWxwIVCmg-Ch1jIgiE#v=onepage&q=%22Madison%22%20%22coveting%20that%20liberty%20for%20which%20we%20have%20paid%22&f=false

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„To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations having correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere neutrality toward belligerent nations; to prefer in all cases amicable discussion and reasonable accommodation of differences to a decision of them by an appeal to arms; to exclude foreign intrigues and foreign partialities, so degrading to all countries and so baneful to free ones; to foster a spirit of independence too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender our own, too liberal to indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves and too elevated not to look down upon them in others“

—  James Madison
Context: p>I repair to the post assigned me with no other discouragement than what springs from my own inadequacy to its high duties. If I do not sink under the weight of this deep conviction it is because I find some support in a consciousness of the purposes and a confidence in the principles which I bring with me into this arduous service...To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations having correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere neutrality toward belligerent nations; to prefer in all cases amicable discussion and reasonable accommodation of differences to a decision of them by an appeal to arms; to exclude foreign intrigues and foreign partialities, so degrading to all countries and so baneful to free ones; to foster a spirit of independence too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender our own, too liberal to indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves and too elevated not to look down upon them in others; to hold the union of the States as the basis of their peace and happiness; to support the Constitution, which is the cement of the Union, as well in its limitations as in its authorities; to respect the rights and authorities reserved to the States and to the people as equally incorporated with and essential to the success of the general system; to avoid the slightest interference with the right of conscience or the functions of religion, so wisely exempted from civil jurisdiction; to preserve in their full energy the other salutary provisions in behalf of private and personal rights, and of the freedom of the press; to observe economy in public expenditures; to liberate the public resources by an honorable discharge of the public debts; to keep within the requisite limits a standing military force, always remembering that an armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics — that without standing armies their liberty can never be in danger, nor with large ones safe; to promote by authorized means improvements friendly to agriculture, to manufactures, and to external as well as internal commerce; to favor in like manner the advancement of science and the diffusion of information as the best aliment to true liberty; to carry on the benevolent plans which have been so meritoriously applied to the conversion of our aboriginal neighbors from the degradation and wretchedness of savage life to a participation of the improvements of which the human mind and manners are susceptible in a civilized state — as far as sentiments and intentions such as these can aid the fulfillment of my duty, they will be a resource which can not fail me.</p

„The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge the wants or feelings of the day-laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages.“

—  James Madison
Context: The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge the wants or feelings of the day-laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe, — when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability. Statement (26 June 1787) as quoted in Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787 http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/yates.asp by Robert Yates

„Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression.“

—  James Madison
Context: Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments, the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents. Letter to Thomas Jefferson (17 October 1788) http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1937&chapter=118854&layout=html&Itemid=27, as quoted in James Madison : The Writings, 1787-1790 http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1937&Itemid=27 Vol. 5 (1904)]

„Your anticipations with regard to the slavery among us were the natural offspring of your just principles and laudable sympathies; but I am sorry to say that the occasion which led to them proved to be little fitted for the slightest interposition on that subject.“

—  James Madison
Context: Your anticipations with regard to the slavery among us were the natural offspring of your just principles and laudable sympathies; but I am sorry to say that the occasion which led to them proved to be little fitted for the slightest interposition on that subject. A sensibility, morbid in the highest degree, was never more awakened among those who have the largest stake in that species of interest, and the most violent against any governmental movement in relation to it. The excitability at the moment, happened, also, to be not a little augmented by party questions between the South and the North, and the efforts used to make the circumstance common to the former a sympathetic bond of co-operation. I scarcely express myself too strongly in saying, that any allusion in the Convention to the subject you have so much at heart would have been a spark to a mass of gunpowder. It is certain, nevertheless, that time, the “great Innovator,” is not idle in its salutary preparations. The Colonization Society are becoming more and more one of its agents. Outlets for the freed blacks are alone wanted for a rapid erasure of the blot from our Republican character. Letter to Lafayette (1 February 1830), published in Letters and Other Writings of James Madison (1867), Vol. IV, p. 60 https://books.google.com/books?id=ugpFAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA60#v=twopage&q&f=false<!-- also quoted in The Last of the Fathers: James Madison and the Republican Legacy (1989), by Drew R. McCoy, Cambridge University Press, p. 252 -->

„But what is Government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?“

—  James Madison
Context: The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of Government. But what is Government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? Federalist No. 51 (6 February 1788)

„Attempts to enforce by legal sanctions, acts obnoxious to so great a proportion of Citizens, tend to enervate the laws in general, and to slacken the bands of Society. If it be difficult to execute any law which is not generally deemed necessary or salutary, what must be the case, where it is deemed invalid and dangerous?“

—  James Madison
Context: Attempts to enforce by legal sanctions, acts obnoxious to so great a proportion of Citizens, tend to enervate the laws in general, and to slacken the bands of Society. If it be difficult to execute any law which is not generally deemed necessary or salutary, what must be the case, where it is deemed invalid and dangerous? And what may be the effect of so striking an example of impotency in the Government, on its general authority? § 13

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„With respect to the words "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them.“

—  James Madison
Context: With respect to the words "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. If the words obtained so readily a place in the "Articles of Confederation," and received so little notice in their admission into the present Constitution, and retained for so long a time a silent place in both, the fairest explanation is, that the words, in the alternative of meaning nothing or meaning everything, had the former meaning taken for granted. Letter to James Robertson (20 April 1831)

„Mr. MADISON thought it would be proper, before a choice shd. be made between a unity and a plurality in the Executive, to fix the extent of the Executive authority; that as certain powers were in their nature Executive, and must be given to that departmt. whether administered by one or more persons, a definition of their extent would assist the judgment in determining how far they might be safely entrusted to a single officer.“

—  James Madison
Context: Mr. MADISON thought it would be proper, before a choice shd. be made between a unity and a plurality in the Executive, to fix the extent of the Executive authority; that as certain powers were in their nature Executive, and must be given to that departmt. whether administered by one or more persons, a definition of their extent would assist the judgment in determining how far they might be safely entrusted to a single officer. He accordingly moved that so much of the clause before the Committee as related to the powers of the Executive shd. be struck out & that after the words "that a national Executive ought to be instituted" there be inserted the words following viz. "with power to carry into effect the national laws, to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for, and to execute such other powers "not Legislative nor Judiciary in their nature," as may from time to time be delegated by the national Legislature." The words "not legislative nor judiciary in their nature" were added to the proposed amendment in consequence of a suggestion by Genl. Pinkney that improper powers might otherwise be delegated. Madison's notes (1 June 1787) http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_601.asp

„In every political society, parties are unavoidable. A difference of interests, real or supposed, is the most natural and fruitful source of them. The great object should be to combat the evil: 1. By establishing a political equality among all.“

—  James Madison
Context: In every political society, parties are unavoidable. A difference of interests, real or supposed, is the most natural and fruitful source of them. The great object should be to combat the evil: 1. By establishing a political equality among all. 2. By withholding unnecessary opportunities from a few, to increase the inequality of property, by an immoderate, and especially an unmerited, accumulation of riches. 3. By the silent operation of laws, which, without violating the rights of property, reduce extreme wealth towards a state of mediocrity, and raise extreme indigence towards a state of comfort. 4. By abstaining from measures which operate differently on different interests, and particularly such as favor one interest at the expence of another. 5. By making one party a check on the other, so far as the existence of parties cannot be prevented, nor their views accommodated. If this is not the language of reason, it is that of republicanism. "On Parties" (23 January 1792), Papers of James Madison Vol. XIV, pp. 197-8 http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch15s50.html Mr. Madison wished to relieve the sufferers, but was afraid of establishing a dangerous precedent, which might hereafter be perverted to the countenance of purposes very different from those of charity. He acknowledged, for his own part, that he could not undertake to lay his finger on that article in the Federal Constitution which granted a right of Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. Summation of Madison's remarks (10 January 1794) Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 3rd Congress, 1st Session, p. 170 http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=004/llac004.db&recNum=82; the expense in question was for French refugees from the Haitian Revolution; this summation has been paraphrased as if a direct quote: "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."

„Mr. MADISON considered the popular election of one branch of the National Legislature as essential to every plan of free Government.“

—  James Madison
Context: Mr. MADISON considered the popular election of one branch of the National Legislature as essential to every plan of free Government. He observed that in some of the States one branch of the Legislature was composed of men already removed from the people by an intervening body of electors. That if the first branch of the general legislature should be elected by the State Legislatures, the second branch elected by the first-the Executive by the second together with the first; and other appointments again made for subordinate purposes by the Executive, the people would be lost sight of altogether; and the necessary sympathy between them and their rulers and officers, too little felt. He was an advocate for the policy of refining the popular appointments by successive filtrations, but though it might be pushed too far. He wished the expedient to be resorted to only in the appointment of the second branch of the Legislature, and in the Executive & judiciary branches of the Government. He thought too that the great fabric to be raised would be more stable and durable, if it should rest on the solid foundation of the people themselves, than if it should stand merely on the pillars of the Legislatures. Madison's notes (31 May 1787) http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_531.asp

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„The Holders of one species of property have thrown a disproportion of taxes on the holders of another species. The lesson we are to draw from the whole is that where a majority are united by a common sentiment, and have an opportunity, the rights of the minor party become insecure.“

—  James Madison
Context: In all cases where a majority are united by a common interest or passion, the rights of the minority are in danger. What motives are to restrain them? A prudent regard to the maxim that honesty is the best policy is found by experience to be as little regarded by bodies of men as by individuals. Respect for character is always diminished in proportion to the number among whom the blame or praise is to be divided. Conscience, the only remaining tie, is known to be inadequate in individuals: In large numbers, little is to be expected from it. Besides, Religion itself may become a motive to persecution & oppression. — These observations are verified by the Histories of every Country antient & modern. In Greece & Rome the rich & poor, the creditors & debtors, as well as the patricians & plebians alternately oppressed each other with equal unmercifulness. What a source of oppression was the relation between the parent cities of Rome, Athens & Carthage, & their respective provinces: the former possessing the power, & the latter being sufficiently distinguished to be separate objects of it? Why was America so justly apprehensive of Parliamentary injustice? Because G. Britain had a separate interest real or supposed, & if her authority had been admitted, could have pursued that interest at our expence. We have seen the mere distinction of colour made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man. What has been the source of those unjust laws complained of among ourselves? Has it not been the real or supposed interest of the major number? Debtors have defrauded their creditors. The landed interest has borne hard on the mercantile interest. The Holders of one species of property have thrown a disproportion of taxes on the holders of another species. The lesson we are to draw from the whole is that where a majority are united by a common sentiment, and have an opportunity, the rights of the minor party become insecure. In a Republican Govt. the Majority if united have always an opportunity. The only remedy is to enlarge the sphere, & thereby divide the community into so great a number of interests & parties, that in the 1st. place a majority will not be likely at the same moment to have a common interest separate from that of the whole or of the minority; and in the 2d. place, that in case they shd. have such an interest, they may not be apt to unite in the pursuit of it. It was incumbent on us then to try this remedy, and with that view to frame a republican system on such a scale & in such a form as will controul all the evils wch. have been experienced. Madison's own notes on Madison's remarks of debate (6 June 1787) http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_606.asp

„The United States, having been the first to abolish within the extent of their authority the transportation of the natives of Africa into slavery, by prohibiting the introduction of slaves and by punishing their citizens participating in the traffic, can not but be gratified at the progress made by concurrent efforts of other nations toward a general suppression of so great an evil“

—  James Madison
Context: The United States, having been the first to abolish within the extent of their authority the transportation of the natives of Africa into slavery, by prohibiting the introduction of slaves and by punishing their citizens participating in the traffic, can not but be gratified at the progress made by concurrent efforts of other nations toward a general suppression of so great an evil. They must feel at the same time the greater solicitude to give the fullest efficacy to their own regulations. With that view, the interposition of Congress appears to be required by the violations and evasions which it is suggested are chargeable on unworthy citizens who mingle in the slave trade under foreign flags and with foreign ports, and by collusive importations of slaves into the United States through adjoining ports and territories. I present the subject to Congress with a full assurance of their disposition to apply all the remedy which can be afforded by an amendment of the law. The regulations which were intended to guard against abuses of a kindred character in the trade between the several States ought also to be rendered more effectual for their humane object. James Madison's Eighth State of the Union Address (3 December 1816)<!--https://books.google.com/books?id=PsFnB7FA11YC&pg=PA200&dq=%22Rendered+impossible+by+the+prejudices+of+the+whites%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAWoVChMI8uuN6dbUxwIVBD0-Ch1EqwFq#v=onepage&q=%22Rendered%20impossible%20by%20the%20prejudices%20of%20the%20whites%22&f=false-->

„States are much at variance in the civic character giving to free persons of colour; those of most of the States, not excepting such as have abolished slavery, imposing various disqualifications, which degrade them from the rank and rights of white persons. All these perplexities develop more and more the dreadful fruitfulness of the original sin of the African trade“

—  James Madison
Context: The subject which ruffles the surface of public affairs most, at present, is furnished by the transmission of the "Territory" of Missouri from a state of nonage to a maturity for self-Government, and for a membership in the Union. Among the questions involved in it, the one most immediately interesting to humanity is the question whether a toleration or prohibition of slavery Westward of the Mississippi would most extend its evils. The human part of the argument against the prohibition turns on the position, that whilst the importation of slaves from abroad is precluded, a diffusion of those in the Country tends at once to meliorate their actual condition, and to facilitate their eventual emancipation. Unfortunately, the subject, which was settled at the last session of Congress by a mutual concession of the parties, is reproduced on the arena by a clause in the Constitution of Missouri, distinguishing between free persons of colour and white persons, and providing that the Legislature of the new State shall exclude from it the former. What will be the issue of the revived discussion is yet to be seen. The ease opens the wider field, as the Constitution and laws of the different States are much at variance in the civic character giving to free persons of colour; those of most of the States, not excepting such as have abolished slavery, imposing various disqualifications, which degrade them from the rank and rights of white persons. All these perplexities develop more and more the dreadful fruitfulness of the original sin of the African trade. Letter to General Marquis de Lafayette https://archive.org/stream/jstor-2713830/2713830_djvu.txt (25 November 1820), Montpelier

„Some degree of abuse is inseparable from the proper use of every thing; and in no instance is this more true than in that of the press. It has accordingly been decided, by the practice of the states, that it is better to leave a few of its noxious branches to their luxuriant growth, than, by pruning them away, to injure the vigor of those yielding the proper fruits.“

—  James Madison
Context: Some degree of abuse is inseparable from the proper use of every thing; and in no instance is this more true than in that of the press. It has accordingly been decided, by the practice of the states, that it is better to leave a few of its noxious branches to their luxuriant growth, than, by pruning them away, to injure the vigor of those yielding the proper fruits. And can the wisdom of this policy be doubted by any one who reflects that to the press alone, checkered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression? Report on the Virginia Resolutions, House of Representatives: Report of the Committee to whom were referred the Communications of the various States, relative to the Resolutions of the Last General Assembly of the State, concerning the Alien and Sedition Laws (20 January 1800) http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=lled&fileName=004/lled004.db&recNum=582&itemLink=D%3Fhlaw%3A25%3A.%2Ftemp%2F%7Eammem_f27H%3A%3A%230040009&linkText=1,p.571

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