Quotes supporting Principle Eleven

From The American Ideal...

"With money we will get men, said Caesar, and with men we will get money. Nor should our assembly [the Virginia Legislature] be deluded by the integrity of their own purposes, and conclude that these unlimited powers will never be abused, because themselves are not disposed to abuse them. They should look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when a corruption in this, as in the country from which we derive our origin [Great Britain], will have seized the heads of government, and be the voices of the people, and make them pay the price. Human nature is the same on every side of the Atlantic, and will be alike influenced by the same causes. The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold on us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered."

Thomas Jefferson ("Notes on the State of Virginia," 1782, Emphasis added.)

GOVERNMENT'S POWER TO TAX LIMITED TO SUPPORT ITS CONSTITUTIONAL DUTIES ONLY-(NOT ACTIVITIES AS TO USURPED POWER)

A government ought to contain in itself every power [including the power to tax] requisite to the full accomplishment of the objects committed to its care, and to the complete execution of the trusts for which it is responsible . . .

The Federalist (no. 31, by Alexander Hamilton)

AVOID, ABOVE ALL ELSE, TAXES FOR UNCONSTITUTIONAL PURPOSES

[No taxes to provide protection for Stamp-Act collectors] Indeed, we cannot too often inculcate upon you our desires, that all extraordinary grants and expensive measures may, upon all occasions, as much as possible, be avoided. The public money of this country is the toil and labor of the people . . . reasonable frugality ought to be observed. And we would recommend particularly, the strictest care and the utmost firmness to prevent all unconstitutional draughts upon the public treasury.

Instructions of Town of Braintree, Mass. (To their legislative Representative, 1765)

LIBERTY AND PROPERTY VICTIMIZED BY ARBITRARY, OPPRESSIVE TAXES

A just security to property is not afforded by that government under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species: where arbitrary taxes invade the domestic sanctuaries of the rich, and excessive taxes grind the faces of the poor . . .

James Madison (Essay, The National Gazette, 1792) (Note: full text is quoted in Part III, pages 232-233, of this study-guide.)

TO TAX ONE TO GIVE TO ANOTHER VIOLATES "THE FIRST PRINCIPLE OF ASSOCIATION"

[The tax system must] be equally and fairly applied to all. To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare [give] to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, "the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it." If the overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all [of his kin] in equal degree; and the better, as this enforces a law of nature, while extra-taxation violates it. (Emphasis his.)

Thomas Jefferson (Note in Destutt de Tracy's Political Economy, 1816)

CONFISCATORY TAXES ON INCOME AND ESTATES MAKE THE PEOPLE "A PROPERTY"

. . . Great Britain claims a right to take away nine-tenths of our estates ---have we a right to the remaining tenth? No.--To say we have, is a "traiterous" position, denying her supreme legislature. So far from having property, according to these late found novels, we are ourselves a property. (Emphasis and spelling per original.)

John Dickinson (In Pa. Provincial Convention, 1774)

SLAVERY THROUGH CONFISCATORY TAXES

Let these truths be indelibly impressed on our minds--that we cannot be HAPPY, without being FREE--that we cannot be free, without being secure in our property--that we cannot be secure in our property [under a system of taxation without representation, permitting no safeguard against confiscatory taxes] . . .

[Continuing about government's grasping property by taxes] But if when we plow--sow--reap--gather--and thresh--we find, that we plow--sow --reap--gather--and thresh for others, whose PLEASURE is to be the SOLE LIMITATION how much they shall take, and how much they shall leave, WHY should we repeat the unprofitable toil?--Horses and oxen are content with that portion of the fruits of their work, which their owners assign them, in order to keep them strong enough to raise successive crops; but even these beasts will not submit to draw for their masters, until they are subdued by whips and goads.

Let us take care of our rights, and we therein take care of our prosperity. "SLAVERY IS EVER PRECEDED BY SLEEP." [As to officials who usurp power] . . . if we are not affected by any reverence for the memory of our ancestors, who transmitted to us that freedom in which they had been blest--if we are not animated by any regard for posterity, to whom, by the most sacred obligations, we are bound to deliver down the invaluable inheritance--THEN, indeed, [any official, or his tool, however low] is a personage whom it may be dangerous to offend. (Emphasis per the original.)

John Dickinson (See above)

A TAX WITH A BUILT-IN LIMIT

It is a signal advantage of taxes on articles of consumption, that they contain in their own nature a security against excess . . . If duties are too high they lessen the consumption--the collection is eluded; and the product to the treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds. This forms a cornpleat barrier against any material oppression of the citizens, by taxes of this class, and is itself a natural limitation of the power of imposing them.

The Federalist (No. 21, by Alexander Hamilton)

PUBLIC DEBT A PUBLIC CURSE

. . . a Public Debt is a Public curse, and in a Rep Govt. a greater than in any other.

James Madison (Letter to Henry Lee, 1790) (Note: "Rep Govt" means that of a Republic.)

POSTERITY--VICTIMS OF DEBTS CREATED BY PRECEDING GENERATIONS

As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit . . . use it as sparingly as possible . . . ; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt . . . in time of Peace . . . discharge the Debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen which we ourselves ought to bear.

President George Washington, Farewell Address

NO GENERATION HAS A RIGHT TO BURDEN THE NEXT WITH VAST PUBLIC DEBT

What is to hinder them [the government] from creating a perpetual debt? The laws of nature, I answer. The earth belongs to the living, not to the dead. The will and the power of man expire with his life, by nature's law . . . Each generation has the usufruct of the earth during the period of its continuance. When it ceases to exist, the usufruct passes on to the succeeding generation, free and unincumbered . . . [No generation has a right] . . . to bind the succeeding generation . . . [with vast public debts]

Thomas Jefferson (Letter to J. W. Eppes, 1813)

A FUNDAMENTAL MAXIM: CREATION OF PUBLIC DEBT SHOULD ALWAYS BE ACCOMPANIED BY THE MEANS OF EXTINGUISHMENT

Persuaded, as the Secretary is, that the proper funding of the present debt will render it a national blessing, yet he is so far from acceding to the position, in the latitude in which it is sometimes laid down, that "public debts are public benefits"--a position inviting to prodigality and liable to dangerous abuse--that he ardently wishes to see it incorporated as a fundamental maxim in the system of public credit of the United States, that the creation of debt should always be accompanied with the means of extinguishment. This he regards as the true secret /or rendering public credit immortal. (Emphasis added.)

Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton (First Report on the Public Credit, 1790)