"The great question of our institutions is a moral question. Shall we use our power for self-aggrandizement or for service? It has been lack of moral fibre which has been the downfall of the peoples of the past."
-- Calvin Coolidge, to the Vermont Historical Society, Montpelier, January 18, 1921
“Power is a poison well known for thousands of years. If only no one were ever to acquire material power over others! But to the human being who has faith in some force that holds dominion over all of us, and who is therefore conscious of his own limitations, power is not necessarily fatal. For those, however, who are unaware of any higher sphere, it is a deadly poison. For them there is no antidote.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, 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 venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated …."
— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to C. Hammond, July 1821
"The country is both the philosopher’s garden and his library, in which he reads and contemplates the power, wisdom and goodness of God."
-- William Penn
"If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power."
-- DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, speech, Mar. 6, 1956
"The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth."
-- George Mason
"If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power."
-- Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, 1775
"In Europe, charters of liberty have been granted by power. America has set the example ... of charters of power granted by liberty. This revolution in the practice of the world, may, with an honest praise, be pronounced the most triumphant epoch of its history, and the most consoling presage of its happiness."
-- James Madison
"I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."
-- Alexis de Tocqueville, quoted in The Spirit of America
“Nay, I believe we may advance one step farther, and affirm that the balance of power in a society accompanies the balance of property in land. The only possible way, then, of preserving the balance of power on the side of equal liberty and public virtue, is to make the acquisition of land easy to every member of society; to make a division of land into small quantities, so that the multitude may be possessed of landed estates. If the multitude is possessed of the balance of real estate, the multitude will have the balance of power, and in that case the multitude will take care of the liberty, virtue and interest of the multitude, in all acts of government. I believe these principles have been felt, if not understood, in the Massachusetts Bay, from the beginning.”
--John Adams, Letter to James Sullivan, May 26, 1776
"The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing."
-- Ronald Wilson Reagan
"Courts are the mere instruments of the law, and can will nothing ... Judicial power is never exercised for the purpose of giving effect to the will of the Judge; always for the purpose of giving effect to the will of the Legislature; or, in other words, to the will of the law."
-- John Marshall, first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court
"The construction applied ... to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which delegate Congress a power ... ought not to be construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument."
-- Thomas Jefferson, Draft Kentucky Resolutions, 1798
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
-- Thomas Jefferson, fair copy of the drafts of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798
"On every unauthoritative exercise of power by the legislature must the people rise in rebellion or their silence be construed into a surrender of that power to them? If so, how many rebellions should we have had already?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, Query 12, 1782
"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few. The hand entrusted with power becomes…the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continual oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot: only by unintermitted Agitation can a people be kept sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity."
-- Wendell PHILLIPS, 1852