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January 07 , 2009

100 Quotes On: Before They Were Elected: Presidential Quotes



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When the United States were founded, the Presidency was a unique public office amongst a world of autocratic governments. It was designed by the framers of the Constitution to act as a populist check against the potential excesses of the legislative and judicial branches, a post that even a common man could hold.

The philosophical ruminations of America's first presidents clearly reflect their aristocratic backgrounds and a sense of self-awareness in the annals of history. With Andrew Jackson, we see the caricature emerge of the fighting president, a man who will vigorously defend the people from entrenched elites. Moving into the twentieth century, we can observe the commercialization of our soon-to-be Commanders in Chief, and how their rhetoric shifted to meet the demands of running what had become a world superpower.

The following quotes are a humble attempt to demonstrate the evolution of Americas presidents, into the leaders of today, as well as the institution of the Presidency itself.


David Romanski is a writer and filmmaker who's been living in Los Angeles for six months. He earned a BFA in screenwriting from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and is currently writing his first novel, "Goatse", due out this spring.


James Madison was one of the more involved framers of the U.S. Constitution. Much of American legal thinking is derived from The Federalist Papers, a series of argumentative pamphlets co-written by Madison which argue, among other things, for a strong federal government. At the same time, Madison drafted the Bill of Rights as a Congressman and championed its passage into law. He was elected President in 1808 and served two terms.

The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge the wants or feelings of the day-laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability.

- James Madison, in a speech to the Federal Convention, 1787. (Notes of the 1787 Federal Convention)

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Before They Were Elected: 100 Presidential Quotes

+ Introduction

+ George Washington (1789-1797)

+ John Adams (1797-1801)

+ Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)

+ ...and much more

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