A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever may be its theory, must, in practice, be a bad government.— Joseph Story
The most revealing Joseph Story quotes that are easy to memorize and remember
Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.
One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms.
The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but ... to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.
The truth is, that, even with the most secure tenure of office, during good behavior, the danger is not, that the judges will be too firm in resisting public opinion, and in defence of private rights or public liberties; but, that they will be ready to yield themselves to the passions, and politics, and prejudices of the day.
In the next place, the state governments are, by the very theory of the constitution, essential constituent parts of the general government. They can exist without the latter, but the latter cannot exist without them.
No man can well doubt the propriety of placing a president of the United States under the most solemn obligations to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution.
I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society.
One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law... There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.
So that the executive and legislative branches of the national government depend upon, and emanate from the states. Every where the state sovereignties are represented; and the national sovereignty, as such, has no representation.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
And it is no less true, that personal security and private property rest entirely upon the wisdom, the stability, and the integrity of the courts of justice.
Marriage is treated by all civilized societies as a peculiar and favored contract. It is in its origin a contract of natural law . . . . It is the parent, and not the child of society; the source of civility and a sort of seminary of the republic.
This provision (the 4th Amendment) speaks for itself.
Its plain object is to secure the perfect enjoyment of that great right of the common law, that a man's house shall be his own castle, privileged against all civil and military intrusion.
It was under a solemn consciousness of the dangers from ecclesiastical ambition, the bigotry of spiritual pride, and the intolerance of sects... that is was deemed advisable to exclude from the national government all power to act upon the subject.
There never has been a period of history, in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundation.
There is not a truth to be gathered from history more certain, or more momentous, than this: that civil liberty cannot long be separated from religious liberty without danger, and ultimately without destruction to both. Wherever religious liberty exists, it will, first or last, bring in and establish political liberty.
It should therefore be difficult in a republic to declare war; but not to make peace.
I will not say with Lord Hale, that "The Law will admit of no rival" .
. . but I will say that it is a jealous mistress, and requires a long and constant courtship. It is not to be won by trifling favors, but by lavish homage.
The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic.
It is important also to consider, that the surest means of avoiding war is to be prepared for it in peace.
Be brief, be pointed, let your matter standLucid in order, solid and at hand;
Spend not your words on trifles but condense;Strike with the mass of thought, not drops of sense;Press to close with vigor, once begun,And leave, (how hard the task!) leave off, when done.
To secure integrity there must a lofty sense of duty and a deep responsibility to future times as well as to God.
Human wisdom is the aggregate of all human experience, constantly accumulating, and selecting, and re-organizing its own materials.
If the Constitution is a compact, then the States have a right to secede.
The constitution of the United States is to receive a reasonable interpretation of its language, and its powers, keeping in view the objects and purposes, for which those powers were conferred. By a reasonable interpretation, we mean, that in case the words are susceptible of two different senses, the one strict, the other more enlarged, that should be adopted, which is most consonant with the apparent objects and intent of the Constitution.
[The necessary and proper clause] neither enlarges any power specifically granted; nor is it a grant of any new power to Congress; But it is merely a declaration, for the removal of all uncertainty, that the means of carrying into execution those otherwise granted are included in the grant.
Without justice being freely, fully, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected. And if these, or either of them, are regulated by no certain laws, and are subject to no certain principles, and are held by no certain tenure, and are redressed, when violated, by no certain remedies, society fails of all its value; and men may as well return to a state of savage and barbarous independence.
The true test is, whether the object be of a local character, and local use;
or, whether it be of general benefit to the states. If it be purely local, congress cannot constitutionally appropriate money for the object. But, if the benefit be general, it matters not, whether in point of locality it be in one state, or several; whether it be of large, or of small extent.
At the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration [i.e., the First Amendment], the general, if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship.
He who seeks equity must do equity.
Every successive generation becomes a living memorial of our public schools, and a living example of their excellence.
Constitutions are not designed for metaphysical or logical subtleties, for niceties of expression, for critical propriety, for elaborate shades of meaning, or for the exercise of philosophical acuteness or judicial research. They are instruments of a practical nature, founded on the common business of human life, adapted to common wants, designed for common use, and fitted for common understandings.
In a general sense, all contributions imposed by the government upon individuals for the service of the state, are called taxes, by whatever name they may be known, whether by the name of tribute, tythe, tallage, impost, duty, gabel, custom, subsidy, aid, supply, excise, or other name.
Piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well being of that state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice.
A new invention to poison people ... is not a patentable invention.
A good government implies two things;
first, fidelity to the objects of the government; secondly, a knowledge of the means, by which those objects can be best attained.
Here shall the Press the People's right maintain, Unaw'd by influence and unbrib'd by gain; Here patriot Truth her glorious precepts draw, Pledg'd to Religion, Liberty, and Law.
A government, forever changing and changeable, is, indeed, in a state bordering upon anarchy and confusion.
Men, to act with vigour and effect, must have time to mature measures, and judgment and experience, as to the best method of applying them. They must not be hurried on to their conclusions by the passions, or the fears of the multitude. They must deliberate, as well as resolve.
The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpation of power by rulers. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally ... enable the people to resist and triumph over them.
How much more do they deserve our reverence and praise, whose lives are devoted to the formation of institutions, which, when they and their children are mingled in the common dust, may continue to cherish the principles and the practice of liberty in perpetual freshness and vigour.
A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government.
The First Amendment was not intended to withdraw the Christian religion as a whole from the protection of Congress.
Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.
I know of no power, indeed, of which a free people ought to be more jealous, than of that of levying taxes and duties.
No man can well doubt the propriety of placing a president of the United States under the most solemn obligations to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution. It is a suitable pledge of his fidelity and responsibility to his country; and creates upon his conscience a deep sense of duty, by an appeal, at once in the presence of God and man, to the most sacred and solemn sanctions which can operate upon the human mind.
[I]t is impossible for those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of government to foster, and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects. This is a point wholly distinct from that of the right of private judgment in matters of religion, and of the freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one's conscience.
How easily men satisfy themselves that the Constitution is exactly what they wish it to be