-- Edmund Burke
"Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without."
-- Edmund Burke
"How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism."
--James Monroe, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
"A Constitution is not the act of a Government, but of a people constituting a government, and a government without a constitution is a power without right."
--Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791
"No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable."
-- James Madison, Federalist 62
"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
-- Samuel Adams
"Government, in my humble opinion, should be formed to secure and to enlarge the exercise of natural rights of its members, and every government, which has not this in view, as its principle object, is not a government of the legitimate kind."
-- James Wilson
"A constitution founded on these principles introduces knowledge among the people, and inspires them with a conscious dignity becoming freemen; a general emulation takes place, which causes good humor, sociability, good manners, and good morals to be general. That elevation of sentiment inspired by such a government, makes the common people brave and enterprising. That ambition which is inspired by it makes them sober, industrious, and frugal."
-- John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
"The End and Design of civil Society and Government, from this View of it’s Origin, must be to secure the Rights and Properties of it’s Members, and promote their Welfare; or in the Apostle’s words, that Men may lead quiet and peaceable Lives in Godliness and Honesty, (I Tim. 2.1.) i.e. that they may be secure in the Enjoyment of all their Rights and Properties righteously acquired, and their honest Industry quietly proffess it’s proper Rewards, and they enjoy all the Conveniencies of a social Life, to which Uprightness entitles them; and that Men may peaceably practice Godliness,—may worship & serve the Supreme Being, in the Way they believe most acceptable to him, provided they behave peaceably, and transgress not the Rules of Righteousness in their Behaviour towards others.
In all Governments, Magistrates are God’s Ministers, designed for Good to the People. The End of their Institution, is to be Instruments of Divine Providence, to secure and promote the Happiness of Society; to be Terrors to the doers of Evil,—to prevent and punish Unrighteousness, and remedy the Evils occasioned thereby; and to be a Praise, a Security and Reward to them that do well, (Rom. 13. ch.) The End and Design of Government, is to secure Men from all Injustice, Violence and Rapine, that they may enjoy their Rights and Properties; all the Advantages of Society, and peaceably practice Godliness:—that the Unjust and Rapacious may be restrained, the ill Effects of their Wickedness be prevented, the secular Welfare of all be secured and promoted."
-- Abraham Williams, An Election Sermon, Boston, 1862