The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. The person of the King of Great Britain is sacred and inviolable: There is no constitutional tribunal to which he is amenable, no punishment to which he can be subjected without involving the crisis of a national revolution.
Government is frequently and aptly classed under two descriptions-a government of force, and a government of laws; the first is the definition of despotism-the last, of liberty.
A share in the sovereignty of the state, which is exercised by the citizens at large, in voting at elections is one of the most important rights of the subject, and in a republic ought to stand foremost in the estimation of the law…That portion of the sovereignty, to which each individual is entitled, can never be too highly prized. It is that for which we have fought and bled…
The law… dictated by God Himself is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this.
Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known and less fixed?
…that standing army can never be formidable (threatening) to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in the use of arms.
Laws are a dead letter without courts to expound and define their true meaning and operation.
It may be said that the power of preventing bad laws includes that of preventing good ones; and may be used to the one purpose as well as to the other. But this objection will have little weight with those who can properly estimate the mischiefs of that inconstancy and mutability in the laws, which form the greatest blemish in the character and genius of our governments.
Take mankind as they are, and what are they governed by? Their passions.
If mankind were to resolve to agree in no institution of government, until every part of it had been adjusted to the most exact standard of perfection, society would soon become a general scene of anarchy, and the world a desert.
We are attempting, by this Constitution, to abolish factions, and to unite all parties for the general welfare.
The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.
There are still to be found , or designing men, who stand ready to advocate the paradox of perpetual peace between the states, though dismembered and alienated from each other . . . . The genius of republics, say they, is pacific; the spirit of commerce has a tendency to soften the manners of men, and to extinguish those inflammable humours which have so often kindled into wars. Commercial republics, like ours, will never be disposed to waste themselves in ruinous contentions with each other. They will be governed by mutual interest, and will cultivate a spirit of mutual amity and concord.