Fisher Ames (April 19, 1758 – July 4, 1808) was a Representative in the United States Congress from the 1st Congressional District of Massachusetts. He was an important leader of the Federalist Party in the House, and was noted for his oratorical skill.
- The House is composed of very good men, not shining, but honest and reasonably well-informed, and in time they will be found to improve, and not to be much inferior in eloquence, science, and dignity, to the British Commons. They are patriotic enough, and I believe there are more stupid (as well as more shining) people in the latter, in proportion.
- Letter to George Richard Minot (May 27, 1789); reported in Works of Fisher Ames (1854), ed. Seth Ames, vol. 1, p. 45.
- I consider biennial elections as a security that the sober, second thought of the people shall be law.
- Speech on Biennial Elections before the Convention of Massachusetts (January 1788), reported in Seth Ames, John Thornton Kirkland, Works of Fisher Ames with a Selection from His Speeches and Correspondence (1854) p. 7.
- Madison has inserted in his amendments the increase of representatives, each State having two at least. The rights of conscience, of bearing arms, of changing the government, are declared to be inherent in the people. Freedom of the press too. There is a prodigious great dose for a medicine. But it will stimulate the stomach as little as hasty pudding. It is rather food for physic. An immense mass of sweet and other herbs and roots for diet drink.
- Letter to F.R. Minoe, June 12, 1789, reported in Life and Work of Fisher Ames, vol. I, 52-54.
- [The framers of the Constitution] “intended our government should be a republic, which differs more widely from a democracy than a democracy from a despotism.”
- In an 1805 essay titled "Mires of Democracy."
- The gentleman puts me in mind of an old hen which persists in setting after her eggs are taken away.
- Reported in Memoirs of Theophilus Parsons (1859). Ames is reported to have said this while opposing Parsons as counsel in a legal case.
- The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness, which the ambitious call, and the ignorant believe to be, liberty.
- The Dangers of American Liberty (1805), in Ames, Fisher, and Seth Ames (1854). Works of Fisher Ames: with a selection from his speeches and correspondence. Boston: Little, Brown. pp. 349.
- Liberty has never yet lasted long in a democracy; nor has it ever ended in any thing better than despotism.
- American Literature (1805), in Ames, Fisher, and Seth Ames (1854). Works of Fisher Ames: with a selection from his speeches and correspondence. Boston: Little, Brown. pp. 441.
- The rights of conscience, of bearing arms, of changing the government, are declared to be inherent in the people. Freedom of the press, too.
- Letter to George Richards Minot (June 12, 1789), reported in Fisher Ames, Seth Ames, John Thornton Kirkland, Works of Fisher Ames: With a Selection from His Speeches and Correspondence (1854), p. 54.
- Why then, if these books for children must be retained, as they will be, should not the bible regain the place it once held as a school book ? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. The reverence for the sacred book, that is thus early impressed, lasts long; and, probably, if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind.
- Published in Palladium (January 1801), reported in Fisher Ames, John Thornton Kirkland, Works of Fisher Ames (1809), p. 134-35.
- It was said by Fisher Ames that “falsehood proceeds from Maine to Georgia, while truth is pulling on his boots”.
- Niles' Weekly Register (7 May 1831) 40:163
- Fisher Ames expressed the popular security more wisely, when he compared a monarchy and a republic, saying, "that a monarchy is a merchantman, which sails well, but will sometimes strike on a rock, and go to the bottom; whilst a republic is a raft, which would never sink, but then your feet are always in water."
- Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1844): Politics
- “But differ greatly in the sequel.” --Fisher Ames, when confronted with the declaration that all men are created equal