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...Property Rights

James Madison

Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.

Where there is an excess of liberty, the effect is the same, tho' from an opposite cause.

National Gazette,
March 29, 1792

Noah Webster

Let the people have property, and they will have power – a power that will for ever be exerted to prevent a restriction of the press, an abolition of trial by jury, or the abridgement of any other privilege.

National Gazette,
March 29, 1792

The principle circumstances, which render liberty secure, are a spirit of liberty among the people – a general diffusion of knowledge – a general distribution of property – a militia of freemen – and a fair representation in the supreme Legislature...In most of the American states, property is more equally divided among the great body of the people, than it is in any other country. Our laws and customs, which divide great estates among all the children of the deceased owner; the way being open for industrious men, who are born to no inheritance, to acquire property; and the plenty and cheapness of land, will long cause property to be diffused among the people at large...Men in such a situation feel the dignity of human nature, and scorn to be dependent on the will of a tyrant. When they exercise the important right of choosing men to act for them in a public capacity, they will act independently; we may reasonably presume, they will choose those who will be faithful to their country.

“The Republican”
Connecticut Courant
Hartford, Connecticut,
January 7, 1788

James Madison

Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.

National Gazette,
March 29, 1792

Simeon Baldwin

The laws of every nation will wear the complexion if the constitution, and in a good government, will uniformly promote the great objects of political society; the protection of the estates, families, persons, fame, and lives of the subjects.

New Haven Connecticut
July 4, 1788

James Winthrop

It is universally agreed, that the object of every just government is to render the people happy, by securing their persons and possessions from wrong.

“Agrippa” XII
Massachusetts Gazette,
January 11, 1788

James Madison

That government is instituted, and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

Speech on Proposed Constitutional Amendments
June 8, 1789