Your search for "what it means to be american" returned 100 results from 34 Founders.
Thomas Jefferson:"When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred."source: A Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life, February 21, 1825.anger, what to do when provoked, peace-making, to act and not react
Samuel Adams:"The true patriot therefore, will enquire into the causes of the fears and jealousies of his countrymen; and if he finds they are not groundless, he will be far from endeavoring to allay or stifle them: On the contrary, constrain'd by the Amor Patriae and from public views, he will by all proper means in his power foment and cherish them: He will, as far as he is able, keep the attention of this fellow citizens awake to their grievances; and not suffer them to be at rest, till the causes of their just complaints are removed. --At such a time Philanthrop's Patriot [a King's man] may be "very cautious of charging the want of ability or integrity to those with whom any of the powers of government are entrusted": But the true patriot, will constantly be jealous of those very men: Knowing that power, especially in times of corruption, makes men wanton; that it intoxicates the mind; and unless those with whom it is entrusted, are carefully watched, such is the weakness or the perverseness of human nature, they will be apt to domineer over the people, instead of governing them, according to the known laws of the state, to which alone they have submitted. If he finds, upon the best enquiry, the want of ability or integrity; that is, an ignorance of, or a disposition to depart from, the constitution, which is the measure and rule of government & submission, he will point them out, and loudly proclaim them: He will stir up the people, incessantly to complain of such men, till they are either reform'd, or remov'd from that sacred trust, which it is dangerous for them any longer to hold. "source: Essay in the Boston Gazette, 1771.patriotism, truth, corruption, power, power of free speech, removal from office
Patrick Henry:"Is life so dear, or peaceful so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"source: Speech at the Virginia Convention (There is some question whether Henry ever used these words, which were first reported five decades later by his biographer William Wirt.) March 23, 1775.liberty, slavery, sacrifice, freedom
Thomas Jefferson:"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."source: Thomas Jefferson, letter to his nephew Peter Carr, from Paris, August 10, 1787; Merrill D. Peterson, ed., Thomas Jefferson: Writings, New York: Library of America, 1994, pp. 900-906.question, belief, God, pondering, religion
Thomas Jefferson:"No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands]" "source: PROPOSED Virginia CONSTITUTION. FORD ED., ii, 27. (June, 1776.)Right to Bare Arms, Second Amendment, 2nd Amendment
James Madison:"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree."source: Speech to the Constitutional Convention, July 11, 1787.power, trust, authority, balance of power, corruption, deals
Gouverneur Morris:"For avoiding the extremes of despotism or anarchy ... the only ground of hope must be on the morals of the people. I believe that religion is the only solid base of morals and that morals are the only possible support of free governments."source: "A Diary of the French Revolution", (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1939), Vol. II, p. 172, April 29, 1791; Vol. II, p. 452, to Lord George Gordon, June 28, 1792Religion, Morals, Freedom, avoid despotism, avoid anarchy
John Witherspoon:"Pure democracy cannot subsist long nor be carried far into the departments of state, it is very subject to caprice and the madness of popular rage."source: The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. VII, p. 101, Lecture 12 on Civil Society.Democracy, Bad Government, anarchy
Zephaniah Swift:"It may generally be remarked that the more a government resembles a pure democracy the more they abound with disorder and confusion."source: Zephaniah Swift, A System of the Laws of the State of Connecticut (Windham: John Byrne, 1795), Vol. I, p. 19. Democracy, Bad Government, anarchy
Thomas Jefferson:"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere."source: The Thomas Jefferson Papers Series 1. General Correspondence. 1651-1827 Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Smith Adams, February 22, 1787 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mtj.mtjbib002565resistance, government
Thomas Jefferson:"I believe the Indian to be in body and mind equal to the white man."source: Letter to Francois Jean de Beauvoir, June 7, 1785.native americans, race, civil rights

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