Friday, November 24, 2006

Mr. Madison on 'Personal Rights Vs. Property Rights'

"...As appointments for the general government here contemplated will, in part, be made by the state governments, all the citizens in states where the right of suffrage is not limited to the holders of property will have an indirect share of representation in the general government. But this does not satisfy the fundamental principle, that men cannot be justly bound by laws in making which they have no part. Persons and property being both essential objects of government, the most that either can claim is such a structure of it as will leave a reasonable security for the other...."

“...The right of suffrage is a fundamental article in republican constitutions. The regulation of it is, at the same time, a task of peculiar delicacy. Allow the right exclusively to property, and the rights of persons may be oppressed. The feudal polity along sufficiently proves it...."

“...In civilized communities, property, as well as personal rights, is an essential object of the laws..."

"...In a just and a free government, therefore, the rights both of property and of persons ought to be effectually guarded...."

“...As the holders of property have at stake all the other rights coalition to those without property, they may be the more restrained from infringing, as well as the less tempted to infringe, the rights of the latter. It is nevertheless certain that there are various ways in which the rich may oppress the poor; in which property may oppress liberty; and that the world is filled with examples. It is necessary that the poor should have a defence against the danger....”

"...It is a law of nature, now well understood, that the earth, under a civilized cultivation, is capable of yielding subsistence for a large surplus of consumers beyond those having an immediate interest in the soil...."

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