285. [W]e must not let our rulers load us with perpetual dept. We must make our elections between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds…we [will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers. And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent…till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery. And the foreshores [sic] of this frightful team is public dept. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.
- President Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826
289. A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
- James Madison, letter to W. T. Barry, Aug. 4, 1822
292. Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted bastardized form of illegitimate government.
- James Madison, 1751-1836, Primary Author of the Constitution