Daniel WebsterDaniel Webster, (1782-1852) US Senator

Famous Daniel Webster Quote

“Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”

Daniel WebsterDaniel Webster
~ Daniel Webster

A speech delivered at Niblo's Saloon, in New York, on the 15th of March 1837, "Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Webster", by Edwin Whipple, page 393.

Ratings and Comments


John Iler, Bethesda

This quote should be removed until it is documented. Documentation is not to be found anywhere on the Internet, but it's found everywhere. Some even attribute it to Noah Webster!

E Archer, NYC

The oldest trick in the book for acquiring Power.

J.C., Kailua

The Americans people should read this quote by Webster and then take a good hard look at our politicans.

Mike, Norwalk

I've always really liked this.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Sounds like the paradigm we find ourselves in today of reversed slavery.

J Carlton, Calgary

On this subject I came across a skit / diatribe by someone who put some thought into our situation today. I don't agree with everything he says, but it is powerful - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeYscnFpEyA&feature=related

Anon
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Anon    5/21/09

Who cares who said it? Truth speaks for itself and stands on its own without the help of anyone or anything.

jim k, austin

And there's always that nasty little item called "The law of unintended consequinces".

Waffler, Smith

Okay but we do need leaders and folk who step up to the plate even if we do not need masters. Quotes like this feed the obtuse thinking of those who believe that they are and island unto themselves.

Waffler, Smith

Good Intentions, Bad Intentions, No Intentions which would you choose.

RBESRQ
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RBESRQ    5/21/09

Dear Mr. Webster, you may be right in reality but the two cannot be associate with each other - those with good intention have good intention those who dont, dont - those meaning to be masters are always doomed. There is no misdeed in wanting to be a good leader only in megalomania.

Tom Osborne, Los Angeles, CA

Wow, what a GREAT quote! "...but they mean to govern...but they mean to be masters." So thoroughly true. Bad people WANT to be leaders, good people empower others. That's the difference between tyranny and freedom.

RBESRQ
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    RBESRQ    5/22/09

    Good Tom..

    Anonymous, cocord

    Can be found in "Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Webster", by Edwin Whipple,page 393....A SPEECH DELIVERED AT NIBLO'S SALOON, IN NEW YORK, ON THE 15TH OF MARCH, 1837.

    JFB, Granville TN

    I'm sure Adolph Hitler meant well. I am also sure he meant to be the Master. I am sure Pres. Obama means well. By forced imposition of his well meanings on those who believe otherwise, He becomes the Master. The American government, and the Pres. are supposed to lead us - not stand over us with threats of fines and prison if we disagree!

    MandateOfHeaven, Fort Collins CO

    The problem is that "good" is a subjective judgement. A president with Narcissistic Personality Disorder could, for example, force through legislation against the citizens' wishes, while being thoroughly convinced of his "wisdom" and "goodness".

    Rusty, Where the Buffalo Roam

    I must respectfully disagree with you JFB. I do not think that Hitler meant well any more than I think the Obamaster means well. I think the current office holder of President has an agenda just as Hitler did, and just as Hitler was willing to crush anyone who got in his way, by any means necessary, so is Obama.

    John Pettitt, fredericksburg, va

    This is not about leaders vs. no leaders in government. This is about the government pursuing more authority so that it can "help people" and "make people better". The truth is that the power and authority to do these things is an attempt to become your master and that such leads us to lose choices.

    PubliusToo, Twitter

    The quotes states that good intentions will be pleaded not actually intended. This is also characteristic of tyrants and three year olds when caught raiding the cookie jar. "I was bringing you one."

    John, People's Republic of Illinois.

    1. This is a real Webster quote 3-15-1837.
    2. I could not agree more with Webster.

    Patrick Henry, Red Hill

    The Founders exemplified a profound understanding of the manifold frailties that inhere in human character, foremost among which, along with its unfailingly present concomitant pride, a will to possess and consolidate power.

    Well did they apprehend that there exist few who are constitutionally, temperamentally, capable of exercising power, of wielding authority, with requisite discretion.

    They who want for moral stature and attendant character, necessarily, are incapable of doing so.

    Bobble, No. Ferrisburgh, VT

    However, I can't believe Dan'l never confessed to erring, since that would mean he'd been a bad master.

    ColoradoMilitiaMan, Aurora

    To J.C., Kailua - Unfortunately most Americans are Sheeple, and Sheeple tend to prefer the firm shepherd's govt oversight over everyone else's wanton exercise of Liberty. Everyone says they love Liberty, but comparatively quite few are equipped to allow its infettered practice; this is what empowers govt despots, when otherwise simple plain Liberty would rule the day.
    To Waffler Smith - (a) How do you fault my obtuse thinking and maintaining my life as an island to myself among all this societal madness? That is the perfect mindset for a lockstep Sheeple, no doubt you vote strictly partisan down-the-line, too bad Jebbie Bush won't cut it anymore. (b) I would choose CONSTITUTIONAL intentions, along with following our laws and especially The Will Of We People.
    To Tom Osborne, Los Angeles, CA - This is what I fear the most about Trump, he appears to be a megalomaniac of the greatest magnitude! I fear his proficiency as an unabashed/unapologetic bulldozer driver, and I am not hearing any regular mentioning of our Constitution nor dignified upholding of Founder's intentions among his boorish plantation master rhetoric. I cannot trust such a character with all the unConstitutional dictatorial power now vested in the criminally-operated headquarters that is now the office of POTUS.
    To -- Anonymous, cocord - THANKS, you win the daily prize! Dis-honorable mention to John Iler, Bethesda - hah - take that, naysayer!
    To Rusty, Where the Buffalo Roam - I am convinced all the Hitler/Hussein-Obama types do believe wholeheartedly (in their murderous sociopathic benevolence), that they operate in a divinely-inspired/sanctioned capacity to fulfill their devilish visions for humanity.

    Thanks for the forum!
    GOD BLESS THE LIBERTY TREE

    ColoradoMilitiaMan, Aurora

    Sorry, I overlooked the voting button again - THANKS FOR THE CRACKERJACK QUOTE!! This resounds clearly with all Patriots, but I fear that is over the head of our MSM-brainwashed intellectually-libtard-educated low-info populace at large - hence the nearly universal appeal of either a Hellary or a Trumpster, and single digits for any Constitutionalist like a Paul. We're so far off course, we'll cheer what we think is a benevolent dictator, and think we're getting a bargain...

    Ronw13, Yachats OR

    An Amazing Man, Daniel Webster, one of the sharpest razors in the box. " If we work on men's immortal minds, if we impress on them with High principles, the Just fear of God and Love for their fellow-men, we engrave on those tablets something which no time can efface, and which will brighten and brighten to all eternity."
    Daniel Webster.
    Against All Odds, the Compromise of 1850
    Peaceable Secession only comes by way of miracles.

    Ronw13, Yachats OR

    @ Bobble, some things are known in part, as confessing of Daniel's errs, confessing the Trinity, and knowingly stated, he "understood not the arithmetic of heaven." I would say that is a confession of fault and Faith, when in a state of not understanding, when others do. The knowing and unknowing reside within the same " project " ! The Walls are Up Ladies and Gentlemen, We the People must get a Roof on the house before the rains come, and what was once a Ship, has become a Temple, in need of a Roof !
    That is why so many elude to the connective tissue, but it is rarely revealed. As a builder, knowing all pieces are named and numbered. Simplicity is the key to understanding the greatest of detail. obviously there is a set of master plans. so also a project manager to oversee. All inquiry returns to the stars, science bears this out. Like minded is the New Creature.

    Editor, Liberty Quotes

    The source has been updated -- thank you, anonymous, cocord and John, People's Republic of Illinois.

    @

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