Framers Quotes

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  • Until the 1930s, the Constitution served as a major constraint on federal economic interventionism. The government's powers were understood to be just as the framers intended: few and explicitly enumerated in our founding document and its amendments. Search the Constitution as long as you like, and you will find no specific authority conveyed for the government to spend money on global-warming research, urban mass transit, food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, or countless other items in the stimulus package and, even without it, in the regular federal budget.

  • The framers gave us the Second Amendment not so we could go deer or duck hunting but to give us a modicum of protection against congressional tyranny.

    Gun   Hunting   Ducks  
    Walter E. Williams (2013). “More Liberty Means Less Government: Our Founders Knew This Well”, p.188, Hoover Press
  • If you look at the minutes of the constitutional convention - which we have - Madison who was the main framer, proceeded to develop a system in which - as he put it - power would be in the hands of the wealth of the nation, the more responsible set of men and who recognize the need to protect the rights of property owners. That's why in the constitutional system, the most powerful part of the whole system is the senate.

    Powerful   Men   Rights  
    Interview with Jegan Vincent de Paul, August 15, 2012.
  • The Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to 'create' rights. Rather, they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting.

  • When a judge goes beyond [his proper function] and reads entirely new values into the Constitution, values the framers and ratifiers did not put there, he deprives the people of their liberty. That liberty, which the Constitution clearly envisions, is the liberty of the people to set their own social agenda through the process of democracy.

  • The Constitution created a framework, not a Ouija board, precisely because the Framers understood that prospect of a nation ruled for centuries by dead prophets would be the very opposite of freedom.

  • The framers of the Constitution realized that . . . there needed to be some guardian of the sober second thought, and so they created the Senate to fulfill that high and vitally important duty.

  • The framers, in their wisdom, designed the [political] system so that power's pretty disbursed.

  • It was the separation of powers upon which the framers placed their hopes for the preservation of the people's liberties. Despite this heritage, the congress has been in too many cases more than willing to walk away from its constitutional powers.

  • Let us face reality. The framers (of the Constitution) have simply been too shrewd for us. They have outwitted us. They designed separate institutions that cannot be unified by mechanical linkages frail bridges(or) tinkering. If we are to turn the founders upside down we must directly confront the Constitutional structure they erected.

  • The War between the States... produced the foundation for the kind of government we have today: consolidated and absolute, based on the unrestrained will of the majority, with force, threats, and intimidation being the order of the day. Today's federal government is considerably at odds with that envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. ... [The War] also laid to rest the great principle enunciated in the Declaration of Independence that 'Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed'.

    War   Men   America  
  • If our free society is to endure, and I know it will, those who govern must recognize that the Framers of the Constitution limited their power in order to preserve human dignity and the air of freedom which is our proudest heritage.

    Air   Order   Heritage  
    "Reason and Passion: Justice Brennan's Enduring Influence". Book by Brennan Center for Justice, 1997.
  • The framers knew that liberty is a fragile thing, and so should we.

  • The great decisions of government cannot be dictated by the concerns of religious factions. We have succeeded for 205 years in keeping the affairs of state separate from the uncompromising idealism of religious groups and we mustn't stop now. To retreat from that separation would violate the principles of conservatism and the values upon which the framers built this democratic republic.

    "Excerpts From Goldwater Remarks". Remarks in the Congressional Record, September 15, 1981.
  • It is in seeing ourselves whole that we can begin to see ways of working out our differences, of understanding our similarities and of finally forming the cohesive nation that can one day experience the 'domestic tranquility' so hoped for by the framers of the Constitution.

  • All in all, the framers would probably agree that it's better to impeach too often than too seldom. If presidents can't be virtuous, they should at least be nervous.

  • The property qualifications for federal office that the framers of the Constitution expressly chose to exclude for demonstrating an unseemly "veneration of wealth " are now de facto in force and higher than the Founding Fathers could have imagined.

    "Moyers on Democracy". Book by Bill D. Moyers. Introduction, p. 3, 2008.
  • It is time... to end the long-standing and unproductive methodological debate over 'originalism' versus 'dynamism' or 'evolution' and focus instead on how, as a substantive matter, we should interpret the Constitution in the twenty-first century, and what it has to say on questions unimaginable to our eighteenth-century Framers.

    Time   Long   Focus  
  • What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.

    Country   Freedom   Gun  
    Letter toWilliam Stephens Smith, 13 Nov. 1787
  • Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe.

    Country   Army   Gun  
    Noah Webster (1787). “An Examination Into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution Proposed by the Late Convention Held at Philadelphia: With Answers to the Principal Objections that Have Been Raised Against the System”, p.43
  • What the framers of the Constitution tried to achieve when they wrote that Constitution back in the 1700s was an independent federal judiciary. They wanted federal judges to be appointed by the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and to serve for good behavior.

  • The Framers were no more interested in binding future Americans to a set of divinely inspired commandments than any of us would wish to be bound by them.

    Wish   Inspired   Framers  
  • The Framers of the First Amendment were not concerned with preventing government from abridging their freedom to speak about crops and cockfighting, or with protecting the expressive activity of topless dancers, which of late has found some shelter under the First Amendment. Rather, the Framers cherished unabridged freedom of political communication.

    George F. Will (2003). “With a Happy Eye, But...: America and the World, 1997--2002”, p.278, Simon and Schuster
  • The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.

    Thomas Jefferson (1977). “The Portable Thomas Jefferson”, p.458, Penguin
  • The Framers of the Constitution knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny.

  • To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms.

    Richard Henry Lee (1978). “Letters from the Federal farmer to the Republican”, Univ of Alabama Pr
  • In my opinion, Chief Justice Roberts put it best during his recent confirmation hearings. And he said, and I quote, "The framers were not the sort of people, having fought a revolution to get the right of self-government to sit down and say, 'Well, let's take all the difficult issues before us and let's have the judges decide them.' That would have been the farthest thing from their mind," however, I fear that the Supreme Court forgets this advice.

  • As a framer and defender of the Constitution [Madison] had no peer.

  • When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British parliament was advised by an artful man [Sir William Keith], who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people. That it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them. But that they should not do it openly; but to weaken them and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.

    Men   Gun   America  
    George Mason's address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 14, 1788.
  • The very inclusion of the right to keep and bear arms in the Bill of Rights shows that the framers of the Constitution considered it an individual right.

    Rights   Bears   Arms  
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