British Constitution Quotes

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  • There is no good government but what is republican. That the only valuable part of the British constitution is so; for the true idea of a republic is "an empire of laws, and not of men." That, as a republic is the best of governments, so that particular arrangement of the powers of society, or in other words, that form of government which is best contrived to secure an impartial and exact execution of the law, is the best of republics.

    Men   Law   Ideas  
  • Like the British Constitution, she owes her success in practice to her inconsistencies in principle.

    Thomas Hardy (2013). “Delphi Complete Works of Thomas Hardy (Illustrated)”, p.1305, Delphi Classics
  • I do believe that General Washington had not a firm confidence in the durability of our government. He was naturally distrustful of men, and inclined to gloomy apprehensions; and I was ever persuaded that a belief that we must at length end in something like a British constitution, had some weight in his adoption of the ceremonies of levees, birthdays, pompous meetings with Congress, and other forms of the same character, calculated to prepare us gradually for a change which he believed possible, and to let it come on with as little shock as might be to the public mind.

    Believe   Character   Men  
    Thomas Jefferson (1829). “Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies: From the Papers of Thomas Jefferson”, p.237
  • The British Constitution has always been puzzling and always will be.

    Biography/Personal Quotes,
  • Like the British constitution, cricket was not made: it has 'grown'.

    1945 English Cricket.
  • I am a man of peace. I am longing and working and praying for peace, but I will not surrender the safety and security of the British constitution. You placed me in power eighteen months ago by the largest majority accorded to any party for many, many years. Have I done anything to forfeit that confidence? Cannot you trust me to ensure a square deal to secure even justice between man and man?

    Party   Men   Squares  
    Speech on BBC radio on the General Strike on May 08, 1926. "Baldwin: A Biography". Book by Keith Middlemas and John Barnes, p. 415, 1969.
  • Our duty is very simple and plain. We want to serve the community, and in our own humble way to serve the Empire. We believe in the righteousness of the cause, which it is our privilege to espouse. We have an abiding faith in the mercy of the Almighty God, and we have firm faith in the British Constitution. That being so, we should fail in our duty if we wrote anything with a view to hurt.

    Hurt   Believe   Humble  
    Mahatma Gandhi (1960). “1903-1905”
  • The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.

  • Absolute monarchy,... is the easiest death, the true Euthanasia of the BRITISH constitution.

    David Hume (1862). “Essays moral, political, and literary. (Life of the author, etc.).”, p.32
  • [The British constitution] presumes more boldly than any other the good sense and the good faith of those who work it.

  • If Aristotle, Livy, and Harrington knew what a republic was, the British constitution is much more like a republic than an empire. They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men. If this definition is just, the British constitution is nothing more or less than a republic, in which the king is first magistrate. This office being hereditary, and being possessed of such ample and splendid prerogatives, is no objection to the government's being a republic, as long as it is bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend.

    Kings   Men   Voice  
    John Adams (2015). “The Works of John Adams Vol. 4: Novanglus, Thoughts on Government, Defence of the Constitution I”, p.90, Jazzybee Verlag
  • is not only the general principles of justice that are infringed, or at least set aside, by the exclusion of women, merely as women, from any share in the representation; that exclusion is also repugnant to the particular principles of the British Constitution. It violates one of the oldest of our constitutional maxims...that taxation and representation should be co-extensive. Do not women pay taxes?

    John Stuart Mill (1867). “Speech of John Stuart Mill, M.P., on the Admission of Women to the Electoral Franchise: Spoken in the House of Commons, May 20th, 1867”, p.5
  • Vernon Bogdanor's account The Monarchy and the Constitution is written as much in the shadow of Edmund Burke as it is of Walter Bagehot. He stresses the organic development of the British constitution, prefers evolution to revolution, and thinks stability is better than strife.

  • As the British Constitution is the most subtle organism which has proceeded from progressive history, so the American Constitution is the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.

    Work   Men   Historical  
    North American Review, Sept./Oct. 1878
  • Were I to define the British constitution, therefore, I should say, it is a limited monarchy, or a mixture of the three forms of government commonly known in the schools, reserving as much of the monarchical splendor, the aristocratical independency, and the democratical freedom, as are necessary that each of these powers may have a control, both in legislation and execution, over the other two, for the preservation of the subject's liberty.

    School   Government   Two  
    John Adams, Charles Francis Adams (1851). “The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: With a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations”, p.480
  • A government of laws, and not of men.

    Men   Law   Presidential  
    "Novanglus Papers" no. 7 (1774). Almost certainly derived from James Harrington, but Adams's use of the phrase gave it wide circulation in the United States. He also used "government of laws, and not of men" in the Declaration of Rights drafted for the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780. See Cox 1; Gerald Ford 3; James Harrington 1
  • I am actually what my age and my upbringing have made me - a bourgeois who adheres to the British constitution, adheres to it rather than supports it, and the fact that this isn't dignified doesn't worry me.

    Class   Worry   Support  
    "Liberty In England", Speech (June 21, 1935), reprinted in "Abinger Harvest", 1936.
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