Protect Rights or Lose Liberties

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JAMES MONROE FIRST INAUGURAL ADDRESS TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 1817

We must support our rights or lose our character, and with it, perhaps, our liberties. A people who fail to do it can scarcely be said to hold a place among independent nations. National honor is national property of the highest value. The sentiment in the mind of every citizen is national strength.

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.

 

Common Corruption and the Fall of Government

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JAMES MONROE FIRST INAUGURAL ADDRESS TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 1817

It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin. Let us, then, look to the great cause, and endeavor to preserve it in full force. Let us by all wise and constitutional measures promote intelligence among the people as the best means of preserving our liberties.

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.

 

Thomas Jefferson Declares Equality A Sacred Principle

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THOMAS JEFFERSON FIRST INAUGURAL ADDRESS IN THE WASHINGTON, D.C., WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 1801

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions…But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle.”

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.