Alexander Hamilton Quotes

Alexander Hamilton

US (Scottish-born) lawyer & politician (1755 - 1804)

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Experience teaches that men are often so much governed by what they are accustomed to see and practice, that the simplest and most obvious improvements, in the most ordinary occupations, are adopted with hesitation, reluctance, and by slow gradations. Men would resist changes, so long as even a bare support could be ensured by an adherence to ancient courses, and perhaps even longer.

Categorized under Change

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A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.

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Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.

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It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.

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Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.

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When men exercise their reason coolly and freely on a variety of distinct questions, they inevitably fall into different opinions on some of them. When they are governed by a common passion, their opinions, if they are to be called, will be the same.

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Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit. In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature, where the weaker individual is not secured against the violence of the stronger; and as, in the latter state, even the individuals are prompted, by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government which may protect the weak as well as themselves; so, in the former state, will the more powerful factions or parties be gradually induced, by a like motive to wish for a government which will protect all parties, the weaker as well as the more powerful.

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A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.

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Laws are a dead letter without courts to expound and define their true meaning and operation.

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The changes in the human condition are uncertain and frequent. Many, on whom fortune has bestowed her favours, may trace their family to a more unprosperous station; and many who are now in obscurity, may look back upon the affluence and exalted rank of their ancestors.

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Every man ought to be supposed a knave, and to have no other end, in all his actions, but private interest. By this interest we must govern him, and by means of it, make him cooperate to public good, notwithstanding his unsatiable avarice and ambition.

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The same state of the passions which fits the multitude, who have not sufficient stock of reason and knowledge to guide them, for opposition to tyranny and oppression, very naturally leads them to a contempt and disregard of all authority.

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It is long since I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.

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Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.

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