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Quotes / Alexander Hamilton

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Quotes by Hamilton:

"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
— Letter to Robert Morris (August 13, 1782)

"The origin of all civil government, justly established, must be a voluntary compact, between the rulers and the ruled; and must be liable to such limitations, as are necessary for the security of the absolute rights of the latter; for what original title can any man or set of men have, to govern others, except their own consent? To usurp dominion over a people, in their own despite, or to grasp at a more extensive power than they are willing to entrust, is to violate that law of nature, which gives every man a right to his personal liberty; and can, therefore, confer no obligation to obedience."
The Farmer Refuted (February 1775)

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"The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power."
The Farmer Refuted (February 1775)

"There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself in acts of bravery and heroism."
The Farmer Refuted (February 1775)

"Let Americans disdain to be the instruments of European greatness! Let the thirteen States, bound together in a strict and indissoluble Union, concur in erecting one great American system, superior to the control of all transatlantic force or influence, and able to dictate the terms of the connection between the old and the new world!"
Federalist No. 11 (November 23, 1787)

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"I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man. The result of the deliberations of all collective bodies must necessarily be a compound, as well of the errors and prejudices, as of the good sense and wisdom, of the individuals of whom they are composed."
Federalist No. 85 (August 13 and 16, 1788)

"The system, though it may not be perfect in every part, is, upon the whole, a good one; is the best that the present views and circumstances of the country will permit; and is such an one as promises every species of security which a reasonable people can desire."
Federalist No. 85 (August 13 and 16, 1788)

"It is a maxim deeply ingrafted in that dark system, that no character, however upright, is a match for constantly reiterated attacks, however false."
Observations on Certain Documents, better known as The Reynolds Pamphlet (August 25, 1797)

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"A garden, you know, is a very usual refuge of a disappointed politician. Accordingly, I have purchased a few acres about nine miles from town, have built a house, and am cultivating a garden."
— Letter to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (December 29, 1802)

"Every day proves to me more and more that this American world was not made for me."
— Letter to Gouverneur Morris (January 27, 1802)

"I have resolved, if our interview is conducted in the usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire."
— Letter written the night before his duel with Aaron Burr (July, 10 1804)

Quotes about Hamilton:

"This I can venture to advance from a thorough knowledge of him, that there are few men to be found, of his age, who has a more general knowledge than he possesses, and none whose Soul is more firmly engaged in the cause, or who exceeds him in probity and Sterling virtue."

"I was duped... by the Secretary of the treasury, and made a fool for forwarding his schemes, not then sufficiently understood by me; and of all the errors of my political life, this has occasioned the deepest regret."
Thomas Jefferson in a letter to George Washington (9 September 1792)

"He stands at the front rank of a generation never surpassed in history, but whose countrymen seem to have never duly recognized his splendid gifts."
— James Bryce in The American Commonwealth: Vol. 3: The Party System & Public Opinion (1891)

"When America ceases to remember his greatness, America will no longer be great."
Calvin Coolidge (January 11, 1922)

"If Jefferson provided the essential poetry of American political discourse, Hamilton established the prose of American statecraft."
— Ron Chernow, in Alexander Hamilton (2004)

"Jefferson was not entirely wrong to fear Hamilton's vision for the country, for we have always been in a constant balancing act between self-interest and community, market and democracy, the concentration of wealth and power and the opening up of opportunity."
Barack Obama, in The Audacity of Hope (2006)

"There is an elegant memorial in Washington to Jefferson, but none to Hamilton. However, if you seek Hamilton's monument, look around. You are living in it. We honor Jefferson, but live in Hamilton's country, a mighty industrial nation with a strong central government."
— George Will, in Restoration: Congress, Term Limits and the Recovery of Deliberative Democracy (1992)


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