founding father quotes

The Framers [of the Constitution] were cynical about the future of democracy. They studied failed democracies like Greece and Rome. They read Demosthenes. They designed a Constitution on the assumption that democracy might well deteriorate into demagoguery, and they created these complicated systems in order to filter the will of the people from being directly expressed. So all of these new media technologies – the idea of presidents tweeting directly to the people would’ve appalled [James] Madison, who thought direct communication between representatives and the people was the main potential source of tyranny, to be avoided. All of these filtering mechanisms are being undermined by technology, by reforms over the years, by the growing populist forces that are sweeping the world, and maintaining these Madisonian values in the face of these populist forces is something that liberals and conservatives increasingly should converge around.
—  Jeffrey Rosen, President of the National Constitution Center, with Terry Gross
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December 14th 1780: Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler marry

On this day in 1780, Founding Father Alexander Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler. Hamilton was born to a troubled family in the British West Indies, and moved to America as a teenager for an education. However, as the American colonies teetered on the brink of revolution, Hamilton found himself drawn to the Patriot cause. Soon into the war, Hamtilon became the assistant and adviser to General George Washington. It was during this time that he met and married Elizabeth Schuyler, who came from a prominent New York family. Elizabeth, or Eliza, was known for her sharp wit, and Hamilton was immediately smitten with her. The couple married in 1780, and went on to have eight children. As Hamilton’s career progressed, Eliza was his chief companion and helped him with his political writings. Hamilton was a fierce advocate of a strong central government, penning the majority of the Federalist Papers which supported the ratification of the Constitution, and became the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton and Schuyler’s marriage was not without its trials; in 1797 the so-called Reynolds Pamphlet was published, revealing Hamilton’s affair with a woman named Maria Reynlds. In 1801, their nineteen-year-old son Philip was killed in a duel defending his father’s honour. Just three years after losing her son, Elizabeth was widowed when Alexander was killed by Aaron Burr in a duel. Elizabeth then devoted her life to philanthropy and preserving Hamiton’s legacy; in 1806, she founded New York’s first private orphanage. By the mid-nineteenth century, Elizabeth was one of the last living links to the revolutionary era, making her a very famous figure. In 1848, during the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the Washington Monument, Elizabeth rode in the procession with President James K. Polk and future presidents James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton died in 1854, aged 97, fifty years after her husband’s death.

“With my last idea; I shall cherish the sweet hope of meeting you in a better world. Adieu best of wives and best of Women. Embrace all my darling Children for me.”
- Alexander Hamilton to Elizabeth Schuyler, just days before his death

Theodosia [Prevost Burr] had been reconciled to her fate. She had even joked about it to her son John Bartow two years before. Anything was “preferable to dying on the road,” she wrote, and then, with comic timing, “indeed to dying anywhere.” But she did die–and not just anywhere: she died at home without her husband. We do not know what her last moments were like, nor is it possible to predict what might have happened if Theodosia had not been lost so soon after Aaron’s career began. She was forty-eight, ten years older than he, and their twelve years of marriage were, by all accounts, loving. Now Burr would have to go on without his most trusted political aide she had been a keen observer, adept at judging his peers on the national scene. Had she lived, she might have more quickly unmasked his enemies–a skill Burr certainly was to need… “Poor Coln Burr had Lost his Wife”, the soon-to-be Mrs. Madison heard from a relative. He had not only lost his wife; he had lost his best ally in the political wars to come.
—  Fallen Founder: Aaron Burr, page 127
Rise early, that by habit it may become familiar, agreeable, healthy, and profitable. It may, for a while, be irksome to do this, but that will wear off; and the practice will produce a rich harvest forever thereafter; whether in public or private walks of life.
— 
I love you, but I love a historical figure who has been dead for over 200 years more.
—  me, probably

Inequality of rights is created by a combination in one part of the community to exclude another part from its rights. Whenever it be made an article of a constitution, or a law, that the right of voting, or of electing and being elected, shall appertain exclusively to persons possessing a certain quantity of property, be it little or much, it is a combination of the persons possessing that quantity to exclude those who do not possess the same quantity. It is investing themselves with powers as a self-created part of society, to the exclusion of the rest.

It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves; and in this view of the case, pardoning the vanity of the thing, aristocracy is a subject of laughter.

Thomas Paine, Dissertation on the First Principles of Government, July, 1795

Masonic labor is purely a labor of love. He who seeks to draw Masonic wages in gold and silver will be disappointed. The wages of a Mason are earned and paid in their dealings with one another; sympathy that begets sympathy, kindness begets kindness, helpfulness begets helpfulness, and these are the wages of a Mason.
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Reminder that Alexander Hamilton wrote a fifty page letter to express how offended he was when Adams got elected.

(for those times you thought you wrote too much for that assignment or dm to “waddup”.)

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it’s protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it’s protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.

Thomas Jefferson, The Autobiography, 1821

There’s a million things I haven’t done, but just you wait, just you wait…

-Hamilton

Hamilton Lyrics that are Actually Quotes (Part 6)

“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” NOT ACTUALLY OUR HAMILTON

Often misattributed (sorry LMM), and was actually said by Alex Hamilton, a British journalist of no relation in a 1978 radio broadcast. Still, it’s technically a lyric based on a historical quote, so I’ll allow it here!

More quotes here

I concluded at length however to begin a manufacture of nails, which needs little or no capital, and I now employ a dozen little boys from 10. to 16. years of age, overlooking all the details of their business myself, and drawing from it a profit on which I can get along till I can put my farms into a course of yielding profit.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Jean Nicolas DeMeunier, April 29, 1795

The boys he “employed” were actually slaves, and we know now that he had even the youngest whipped to make them work.