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

James Madison Quote

“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

James MadisonJames Madison
~ James Madison

Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution, in_Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution,_ Jonathan Elliot, ed., v.3 p.87 (Philadelphia, 1836), 6 June 1788

Ratings and Comments


David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

I guess that this quote proves that Mr. Madison definitely died before the 20th Century. His idea is understandable, but the spread of totalitarian dictatorships has made it obsolete.

John McGill, Charleston, SC

This, along with almost every quote from our "Founding Fathers" holds as true today as they did during the great struggle for our independence.The totalitarian dictators would prefer these words not be repeated.

sierra white, gilbert

well i really liked what i heared about james madison but then when i heared that he died i actually my self cried i really never cry but i did!!! so those r my comments about james madison!!!

dewb, virginia beach

I really liked it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eric Whitney, Austin, TX

How apropos, how contemporary! This is just exactly the warning that Americans should heed at this juncture in our political history, when we are confronted with the hideous, corrupt, power-grasping Bush/Cheney presidency.

Anonymous, Brownstown, MI

I love that quote... so true... especially in the context of the erosion of the bill of rights....

cal, lewisville, tx

Take the peoples rights away at once and they will revolt overnight, but the US takes them away a little at a time until we have now lost a lot, but no one seems to care when they do it this way!

ebullient curmudgeon

Let's hope we heed those words; if not we will be proving Madison's words

jim k, austin

A great example is the "withholding tax". Once upon a time , for you youngsters, you paid your income tax all at once each year. Then we had World War Two and the Roosevelt gang came up with a beautiful idea to finance the war. Withhold the tax from each paycheck, a little at a time, instead once a year. Then we got that wonderful term,"take home pay".This was to be a temporary method of taxation and would end after the war. However, the Roosevelt gang figured out that taking the suckers money a little at a time was a great idea so we have this "temporary tax" is with us today. For you young people who have attended our public schools, the war ended in 1945. You probably didn't know this. The idea was not to take all their blood at once, just bleed them a little at a time and the suckers will hardly notice.

Anon
  • Reply
Anon    5/27/09

From silent encraochment to violent usurpations. Would the violence of 9/11 fall into the last catagory?

Richard, Escondido, CA

Well said. Too bad we ignore these "dead white guys" today in favor of living socialist usurpers.

sms, usa
  • Reply
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