— George Washington
“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
— George Washington
"No government is respectable which is not just. Without unspotted purity of public faith, without sacred, public principle, fidelity and honor, no mere forms of government, no machinery of laws, can give dignity to political society."
-- Daniel Webster
"Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens."
-- George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow, 1824
"If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior."
-- James Madison, Federalist No. 39
"There is no part of the administration of government that requires extensive information and a thorough knowledge of the principles of political economy, so much as the business of taxation. The man who understands those principles best will be least likely to resort to oppressive expedients, or sacrifice any particular class of citizens to the procurement of revenue. It might be demonstrated that the most productive system of finance will always be the least burdensome."
-- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 35
"There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
-- James Madison, speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
"A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species."
-- James Madison, Essay on Property, 1792
"In a general sense, all contributions imposed by the government upon individuals for the service of the state, are called taxes, by whatever name they may be known, whether by the name of tribute, tythe, tallage, impost, duty, gabel, custom, subsidy, aid, supply, excise, or other name."
-- Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833