James Wilson

That men ought to be governed, seems to have been agreed on all hands: the reason is, that, without government, they could never attain any high or permanent share of perfection or happiness. But the question has been ― by whom should they be governed? And this has been made a question, by reason of two others ― by whom can they be governed? ― are they capable of governing themselves?

James Wilson (September 14, 1742August 21, 1798) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, twice elected to the Continental Congress, a major force in the drafting of the nation's Constitution, a leading legal theoretician and one of the six original justices appointed by George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States.

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  • The executive power is better to be trusted when it has no screen. Sir, we have a responsibility in the person of our President; he cannot act improperly, and hide either his negligence or inattention; he cannot roll upon any other person the weight of his criminality; no appointment can take place without his nomination; and he is responsible for every nomination he makes... far from being above the laws, he is amenable to them in his private character as a citizen, and in his public character by impeachment.
  • To the Constitution of the United States the term SOVEREIGN, is totally unknown.
  • Man, fearfully and wonderfully made, is the workmanship of his all perfect Creator: A State; useful and valuable as the contrivance is, is the inferior contrivance of man; and from his native dignity derives all its acquired importance.
  • Let a state be considered as subordinate to the people: But let everything else be subordinate to the state.
  • By a State I mean, a complete body of free persons united together for their common benefit, to enjoy peaceably what is their own, and to do justice to others.

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Last modified on 13 April 2014, at 10:56