James MadisonJames Madison, (1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President

James Madison Quote

“There is not a more important and fundamental principle in legislation, than that the ways and means ought always to face the public engagements; that our appropriations should ever go hand in hand with our promises. To say that the United States should be answerable for twenty-five millions of dollars without knowing whether the ways and means can be provided, and without knowing whether those who are to succeed us will think with us on the subject, would be rash and unjustifiable. Sir, in my opinion, it would be hazarding the public faith in a manner contrary to every idea of prudence.”

James MadisonJames Madison
~ James Madison

Speech in Congress, 22 April 1790

Ratings and Comments

jim k, austin

I suspect that he is referring to saddling future generations with debt due to excessive spending by the government. Of course, this is exactly what liberals , of both parties, are doing now.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Sadly the Bushes never read or followed this sage advice. For them it was always cut the ways and means spend spend spend and sell bonds (the debt and the deficit). They and Reagan too have "hazarded the public faith in a manner contrary to every idea of prudence". In plainer words to the extent of 11 trillion dollars.

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  • Reply
RBESRQ    1/22/09

Well said James - we need three things NOW, ethics, ethics, and ethics. How dare congress provide banks with billions without public engagement - why isn't the ways and means providing us with understandable accountability. It's amazing, we say nothing about what is currently happening with our tax dollars and yet give someone free health care and you scream to high heaven.You right-wing, fundamentalist, libertarian, fascists need a history lesson - we praise Jesus for healing the sick and providing food for the hungry and yet when government does it all hell breaks loose. Prudence indeed but not hypocrisy and mediocrity.

Mike, Norwalk

Robert, thanks for making that distinction. It is a preponderance of religion to offer moral direction, heal the sick, feed the hungry, cloth the naked, etc. not government's. De jure government in the U.S. is strictly limited to doing that which the sovereigns laid out in the Constitution. Now that the Supreme Court has declared the current body (government) to have inherent rights - no longer being a government of, by, of for the people, freedom and liberty are relegated to historical relics. The executive and legislative branches following suit complete the de facto foreign despot. The new despot is a theocratic socialism, claiming religious morality in merging religious and political responsibilities and duties (We The People now vote for individuals to represent the despot, as is averse to representing the sovereign individual). The new theocratic despot, along with its patrons, must isolate, find fault with, and eliminate all competing religions, philosophies, practices, and thought. Thus, the theocratic despot's need to allocate sufficient appropriations to secure its ways and means, its public engagements and its otherwise promises.

E Archer, NYC

10 stars! Too funny! We sure have come a long way, baby... My goodness, we are now just voting for money -- forget about lawful governance, now all we want is to 'get our fair share.' And Congress is deficit-spending more than ever before, guaranteeing massive inflation and delaying the inevitable corrections necessary. We have the most irresponsible government ever in American history seemingly intent on our economic destruction and the embrace of nationalism which is the forehorse to fascism.

Robert Edwards, Somewhere in Europe

Yes, 10 stars - what happened to those days of prudence and integrity? have they been lost forever in the land theycall Free. I think the brave have long left these shores. Where are these men and women today, we need men and women who will fight for what is right, not those who for a shilling will sell the honor, and not those who shout political rhetoric from their armchair..... America has been at war since Dec 1941 - we spend over a trillion on the military and more when you include all the other secret covert operations. America has become a war machine dependent on causing havoc throughout the East then going in with their corporate army to soak up the resources and then leaving behind them a total desert of human strife and destruction. Why does NO ONE say enough is enough and kill this grotesque war machine we call America... The beginning of economic destruction was over a hundred years ago 1913 and we are all paying the price of it today...... We may have burn then rise from the ashes...

Ronw13, Yachats Or

Wow, the socialist bight and devour the Upright, fundamental, individual sovereign and their principals of sound wisdom. Liberty and Freedom for all, without respect of persons. We choice to give by freewill, but never to our own destruction. As for others, look to your own nation and observe who is in bed with the money changers, kicking their own neighbor to the curb. This America is a relatively new resource, plundered for the sake of Europe. Considering what has been done with their resources down through the ages, and their enslaving mentality of the masses ! It is no wonder through passiveness and prosperity, such a nation founded upon Freedom and Liberty would be taken advantage of at the point of a gun ! Socialism forced upon a once free people.

E Archer, NYC

Robert, I am confused -- who are you referring to as 'we' when you say 'we spend over a trillion' and then 'kill this grotesque war machine we call America' ? Either you are with 'us' or against 'us.' ;-) Aren't you a Brit who moved to the US for a while and now is 'somewhere is Europe'? You don't sound like an American. I agree that the US military has become an occupying force around the world -- but this is not America, there is a difference between America and its federal government.

The issue is the centralization of power -- Americans have almost no control over their servant government as the power of the coin has been taken over by the racketeers that now pull the strings in every country in the world -- except, mind you, the Arab nations still using the gold dinar. Funny how that fact hardly ever makes the news. The Arabs can't print up money like the West -- which makes it hard to fight wars against those that do.

But to give Robert some credit, Americans ought to know that the US is not held in very high esteem by those outside of the US. The military imperialism is more than obvious to everyone else except Americans living in a bubble. America is not loved as it once was because of what we have allowed our government to do -- we are certainly guilty by not enforcing the Constitutional rules our servant government must follow. Wars may not be waged without a declaration of war from the Congress, not the president. This has gone on TOO long. And Americans are paying a hefty price for our own lack of integrity, for it starts with the individual and emanates from there.

Now, how many wars have the British waged? How many are they waging now? They are right beside the US, so perhaps you might consider taking responsibility for your own country's imperialism (literally). I have never heard a 'progressive' say, "I am responsible for the condition and quality of my life." Only blame, blame, blame...

Robert Edwards, Somewhere in Europe

Archer, as much as I like you in this case you have it mostly incorrect. Lets deal with the situation at hand otherwise it would take pages to discuss. America is the military arm, Israel is the money and the Vatican is the religion and all three are complicit.
The total dis - oops gotago friends have arrived... will get back tomorrow... Take care and be well....

Ronw13, Yachats Or

You will never reform the unjust ! On the other hand you have the Core. Minority yes, but true to Core. And the family unit considered. Where does your castle lie ? Where do your children hope, in the just cause ? Of ? Nomadic tribes make a way. Liberty ? By what means ? Please, help honest reason, for all humanity's sake ? Must each generation suffer the loss of all, forever ? At least Robert, you see the players ! Doctrine remains to be seen !


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