founding father quotes


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

Let prejudices, unreasonable jealousies, and local interest yield to reason and liberality. Let us look to our National character, and to things beyond the present period. No Morn ever dawned more favourable than ours did - and no day was ever more clouded than the present. Wisdom, & good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm.

George Washington, letter to James Madison, November 5, 1786

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 love you, but I love a historical figure who has been dead for over 200 years more.
—  me, probably

The mistake has proceeded from not attending with due care to the mischiefs that may be occasioned by obstructing the progress of governments at certain critical seasons. When the concurrence of a large number is required by the constitution to the doing of any national act, we are apt to rest satisfied that all is safe, because nothing improper will be likely to be done; but we forget how much good may be prevented, and how much ill may be produced, by the power of hindering the doing what may be necessary, and of keeping affairs in the same unfavorable posture in which they may happen to stand at particular periods.

Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 22, December 14, 1787

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


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

In the year 1785 a Bill was introduced under the auspices of Mr Henry, imposing a General tax for the support of “Teachers of the Christian Religion.” It made a progress threatening a Majority of votes in its favor. As an expedient to defeat it, we proposed that it should be postponed to another Session, and printed in the mean time for public consideration. Such an appeal, in a case so important and so unforeseen, could not be resisted. With a view to arouse the people, it was thought proper, that a Memorial should be drawn up, the task being assigned to me, to be printed & circulated through the State for a general signature. The experiment succeeded. The Memorial was so extensively signed by the various Religious sects, including a considerable portion of the Old Hierarchy, that the projected innovation was crushed; and under the influence of the popular sentiment, thus called forth, the well known Bill prepared by Mr Jefferson for “Establishing Religious freedom,” passed into a law, as it now stands, in our Code of Statutes.

James Madison, letter to Lafayette, November, 1826


… the devil doesn’t come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns. He comes as everything you’ve ever wished for

-Tucker Max