Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Madison on Principles

I ran across this quote from James Madison the other day, and was impressed not just by his strong defense of liberty, but by his attitude towards acting on principle as such. Indeed, it seems that much of what the Founding Fathers were able to accomplish stems from their ability to hold moral principles as absolutes. I'm still working on my ability to hold ideas as clearly and resolutely (though I'm finding the OAC to be of significant help in this regard)...
It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.

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