-- James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1791
"There is not in the whole science of politics a more solid or a more important maxim than this -- that of all governments, those are the best, which, by the natural effect of their constitutions, are frequently renewed or drawn back to their first principles."
-- James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1791
"But while property is considered as the basis of the freedom of the American yeomanry, there are other auxiliary supports; among which is the information of the people. In no country, is education so general -- in no country, have the body of the people such a knowledge of the rights of men and the principles of government. This knowledge, joined with a keen sense of liberty and a watchful jealousy, will guard our constitutions and awaken the people to an instantaneous resistance of encroachments."
--Noah Webster, On Education of Youth in America, 1790
Samuel Adams: "When once they lose their virtue then [they] will be ready to surrender their liberties"
"A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader."
-- Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1779
"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
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"In disquisitions of every kind there are certain primary truths, or first principles, upon which all subsequent reasoning must depend."
-- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 31, 1788
“I would rather be beaten and be a man than to be elected and be a little puppy dog. I have always supported measures and principles and not men. I have acted fearless[ly] and independent and I never will regret my course. I would rather be politically buried than to be hypocritically immortalized.”
-- Davy Crockett
_"Without wishing to damp the ardor of curiosity or influence the freedom of inquiry, I will hazard a prediction that, after the most industrious and impartial researches, the longest liver of you all will find no principles, institutions or systems of education more fit in general to be transmitted to your posterity than those you have received from your ancestors...
The general Principles, on which the Fathers Atchieved Independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite, and these Principles only could be intended by them in their Address, or by me in my Answer. And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all those Sects were united: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty, in which all those young Men United, and which had United all Parties in America, in Majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her Independence. Now I will avow, that I then believed, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System. I could therefore safely say, consistently with all my then and present Information, that I believed they would never make Discoveries in contradiction to these general Principles."
-- John Adams, letter to the young men of the Philadelphia, 1798
"Every man, and every body of men on earth, possesses the right of self-government."