“Now what liberty can there be where property is taken away without consent?
[I]t is absurdly expected by the promoters of the present measures that these, with their posterity to all generations, should be easy, while their property shall be disposed of by a House of Commons at three thousand miles' distance from them, and who cannot be supposed to have the least care or concern for their real interest; who have not only no natural care for their interest, but must be in effect bribed against it, as every burden they lay on the Colonists is so much saved or gained to themselves.”
Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists, November 1772
"To preserve our independence, we must not let our politicians load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.
If we can prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people under the pretense of caring for them, the people will be much happier.”
Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816
"There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent an sudden usurpation."
James Madison, Speech at the Virginia Convention to ratify the Federal Constitution
"There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence.
I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men and become the instruments of their own undoing."
Daniel Webster, Reception at Madison
"A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader."
Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779