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

Famous James Madison Quote

“Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death.”

James MadisonJames Madison
~ James Madison

Ratings and Comments

Joel, Rochester, MI

I'm glad we are a Republic!

Rodolfo Brennero, Montreal, QC, Canada

Democracy, the syphilis of nations, represents the theoretical dominance of the proletariat, the lowest and least valuable part of the population, and the actual dominance of the criminals who manipulate the brutish herd. All democracies are really ochlocracies, and are such lovers of peace that they periodically launch bloody jihads to destroy superior cultures, hypocritically pretending they want only to kill everyone who does not love their proletarian squalor as much as they do.

E Archer, NYC

A classic quote NOT taught in school. Wow, Rodolfo, you are my new hero! Editor, you need to add Rodolfo's quote to your site -- it cuts like a knife. Government, whether we call it democratic or republican (not the parties, but the ideological basis), must be limited. While life presents endless possibilities and opportunities, the governing powers of man over man should always have limits with which the members of society are well familiar. It should be common knowledge that our government does not 'rule.' it 'protects' our rights, our lands, our people. Our administrators are people like us -- civilians acting under contract with the People via their public administrators. While we select these administrators by election, never was it conceived that our administrators could make declarations or rules that violated our rights like 'taxing' property we already own. The majority or their supposed representatives cannot vote away our rights, our property, our labors, our resources, or our loyalties. And a limited government protects the populace and the minorities that comprise it from the 'good intentions' of those that wish not just to be administrators but RULERS. We cannot ever expect that the most greedy and powerful folks will ever stop trying to take over the world -- we must always be prepared to fight them, resist them in every way -- the fight is primarily one of temptation to live off the labors and properties of others. For what it is worth, I do not think such a culture change in America will come easy -- we will eventually pull the needles out of our arms, collars off our necks, blinders off our eyes, and trample under foot our jail keepers. ;-)

Mike, Norwalk

(-; there are those among us that would think this quote of Madison's was in favor of democracies and Madison enthusiastically helped set up the American democracy ;-) Rodolfo, nicely said.

J Carlton, Calgary

The idea of Democracy has anything "but" individual liberty as its goal.

jim k, austin

This quote is right on target.

Waffler, Smith

These guys got away from the glory of The Declaration of Indepence to flounder like the framers in esoteric arguments about slavery special interests etc. Other than for Andrew Jackson the first half of the 1800's can be seen as the Dark Ages of American politics and thinking starting with the errors of The Constitution. The best thing the floudering framers did was to include the Amendment Process. Lincoln returned the nation to its first principles and to a New Birth of freedom.

J Carlton, Calgary

Waffler you have no idea what freedom means...None! You sir are the epitome of ant-like behaviour and an apologist for all things socialist. Please, move to a country that suits your flawed ideology, you know, China, Venezuala, Romania...

Ken, Allyn, WA

Democracy is the rule of the untalented, unambitious, unintelligent, and envious majority.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Waffler is at it again. After his failed attempts to prove his point (after these many years), he's now moved on to trying to use the Amendment process and Abraham Lincoln as his scape-goat -- all while calling the founders Aristocrats. The quote is dead on, and within it shows the true thread of liberty. How can you operate a government where the power is within the people, but the minority and individual is protected? You establish a government where the majority must abide by a law they did not create -- a law that is absolute and existed before the consciousness of the masses: Natural Law. When government's premise of legitimacy is merely majoritism, no minority is safe -- no individual may enjoy the protection of his Creator given inalienable rights against the frenzied onslaught of the masses.

Waffler, Smith

The founders were right, the framers screwed up having senators appointed rather than elected, delving into the deep dark recesses of slavery and states rights etcetera. Lincoln returned the nation to the principles of the founders, The Declaration, and to a New Rebirth of Freedom.

E Archer, NYC

The first word for democracy was 'tryanny' taken from the Greek city of Tyre which after a populist revolution established a 'democracy' -- it was a bloody failure. Madison speaks of this as well as dozens of other similar accounts throughout history. Waffler does not make distinctions between 'federal' and 'national' nor does he recognize the responsibility of any person to freely choose one's way. It is a worship of power alone that one cries for majority rule FORGETTING that the rights of minorities are NOT PROTECTED by the opposing majority. Such hypocrisy is what gave rise to the democratically elected dictator Hitler. Must we repeat the same mistakes? Politics is about money and power -- all that the government does now is figure out new ways to get more money and power -- yes, they give a little away in order to garner votes but have loaded the people up with massive unpayable debts while they walk away with the money. Don't be a fool -- keep your money, it is YOURS! It is time that the States separated from this nationalist rule from Washington via NYC banksters. All freedom-loving people know who the cuplrits are, while the cuplrits say, "who me?" Get smart!

ana, forest park, il

The quote is from the Federalist, and can be found in a book by Harry Atwood called "Our Republic",1918. Madison was going on about the gross misuse of the word republic. Which tells me the war of words and propaganda started long ago and is not a recent event.

cal, lewisville, tx

It seems Madison was speaking then about Federal Democratic Republic of Amerika TODAY.

bruski, naples FL

Bring back the U.S. Constitution and we will regain our greatness.

Will it happen?


Ronw13, Yachats Or

The argument of setting the slave free, goes back for thousands of years. Some wish independence and others know the cost of responsibility. Proverbs chapter 1 deals with the matter very clearly. The entrapment of unwary free born sovereigns. Spoken by Solomon the son of David king of Israel. Truly our form of republic is better suited for a monarchy. But the experiment goes forth as a hybrid republic to lift the beggar from the dung hill. Democracies are short lived, For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

Jim G, Colorado Springs

Today we see that what Madison and the other Framers of the Constitution detested about Democracy has come to fruition. The Constitution and the Republic need to be restored


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