Monday, March 16, 2009

James Madison's Birthday

In honor of James Madison's birthday today:
"Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own...

That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest...

That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where arbitrary restrictions, exemptions, and monopolies deny to part of its citizens that free use of their faculties, and free choice of their occupations, which not only constitute their property in the general sense of the word; but are the means of acquiring property so called...

A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward other species: where arbitrary taxes invade the domestic sanctuaries of the rich, and excessive taxes grind the faces of the poor...

If the United States mean to obtain or deserve the full praise due to wise and just government, they will equally respect the rights of property, and the property in rights: they will rival the government that most sacredly guards the former; and by repelling its example in violating the latter, will make themselves a pattern to that and all other governments."
-James Madison, "Property", National Gazette
and,

In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison stood on the floor of the House to object saying:
“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, 4 Annals of Congress 179, 1794

1 comment:

Lee S. said...

Hi Jeff, reading this post makes me realize how much more I need to read and learn about the founding fathers of America, and history in general, and all the rest that goes with it. I find American history particularly intersting and enjoy American literature.

But you know I really do believe that the more i learn, the more I realize i don't know! cheers Lee