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A collection of notable quotations from a variety of Early Modern Era individuals. See the Guide for more details.
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National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.
— Letter to James Lloyd, January, 1815
— John Adams
National honor is the national property of the highest value.— James Monroe
Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another?— Henry David Thoreau
Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight. But the enormities of the times in which I have lived have forced me to take a part in resisting them, and to commit myself on the boisterous ocean of political passions.— Thomas Jefferson
Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.— Henry David Thoreau
Nature puts no question and answers none which we mortals ask. She has long ago taken her resolution.— Henry David Thoreau
Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.— Henry David Thoreau
Nay, be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought.— Henry David Thoreau
Necessity never made a good bargain.— Benjamin Franklin
Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who ... will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.
— Essay in the Public Advertiser, 1749
— Samuel Adams
Never confuse motion with action.— Benjamin Franklin
Never did a government commence under auspices so favorable, nor ever was success so complete.— James Monroe
Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.— Benjamin Franklin
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.— Henry David Thoreau
Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.— Thomas Jefferson
Never spend your money before you have earned it.— Thomas Jefferson
Never take a wife till thou hast a house (and a fire) to put her in.— Benjamin Franklin
Never take counsel of your fears.— Andrew Jackson
Next Monday the Convention in Virginia will assemble; we have still good hopes of its adoption here: though by no great plurality of votes. South Carolina has probably decided favourably before this time. The plot thickens fast. A few short weeks will determine the political fate of America for the present generation, and probably produce no small influence on the happiness of society through a long succession of ages to come.
— Letter to Marquis de Lafayette, May 28, 1788
— George Washington
Night is certainly more novel and less profane than day.— Henry David Thoreau
Nine men in ten are would be suicides.— Benjamin Franklin
Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.— John Quincy Adams
No compact among men... can be pronounced everlasting and inviolable, and if I may so express myself, that no Wall of words, that no mound of parchment can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other.
— Draft of First Inaugural Address, April 1789
— George Washington
No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass.
— Letter to Benjamin Lincoln, June 29, 1788
— George Washington
No duty the Executive had to perform was so trying as to put the right man in the right place.— Thomas Jefferson
No evil can result from its inhibition more pernicious than its toleration.— Martin Van Buren
No face which we can give to a matter will stead us so well at last as the truth. This alone wears well.— Henry David Thoreau
No Freeman shall ever be disbarred from the use of arms. Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self-defense.— Thomas Jefferson
No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.— Thomas Jefferson
No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable, without possessing a certain portion of order and stability.
— Federalist No. 62, 1788
— Alexander Hamilton
No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.— Nathaniel Hawthorne
No man in America ever strove more, and more successfully first to bring about a Congress in 1765, and then to support it ever afterwards than myself.— Christopher Gadsden
No man in his senses can hesitate in choosing to be free, rather than a slave.
— A Full Vindication of the Measures of the Congress, etc., December 15, 1774
— Alexander Hamilton
No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity.
— Federalist No. 10, November 23, 1787
— James Madison
No man not inspired can make a good speech without preparation.— Daniel Webster
No man will ever carry out of the Presidency the reputation which carried him into it.— Thomas Jefferson
No morn ever dawned more favorable than ours did; and no day was every more clouded than the present! Wisdom, and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm.
— Letter to James Madison, November 5, 1786
— George Washington
No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.— James Madison
No nation was ever ruined by trade.— Benjamin Franklin
No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.— Thomas Jefferson
No one ever became, or can become truly eloquent without being a reader of the Bible, and an admirer of the purity and sublimity of its language.— Fisher Ames
No one need think that the world can be ruled without blood. The civil sword shall and must be red and bloody.— Andrew Jackson
No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt: on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable.
— Message to the House of Representatives, December 3, 1793
— George Washington
No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.
— First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789
— George Washington
No political truth is certainly of greater intrinsic value, or is stamped with the authority of more enlightened patrons of liberty than that on which the objection is founded. The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.
— Federalist No. 48, February 1, 1788
— James Madison
No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure.— James K. Polk
No taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant.
— Farewell Address, September 19, 1796
— George Washington
Nobody has any conscience about adding to the improbabilities of a marvelous tale.— Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nobody, I think, ought to read poetry, or look at pictures or statues, who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist has actually expressed. Their highest merit is suggestiveness.— Nathaniel Hawthorne
None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.— Henry David Thoreau
Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to bind me in all cases whatsoever to his absolute will, am I to suffer it?
— The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776
— Thomas Paine
Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.— Henry David Thoreau
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.— Henry David Thoreau
Nothing can be more hurtful to the service, than the neglect of discipline; for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army the superiority over another.— George Washington
Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.— Thomas Jefferson
Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.— Thomas Jefferson
Nothing goes by luck in composition. It allows of no tricks. The best you can write will be the best you are.— Henry David Thoreau
Nothing has yet been offered to invalidate the doctrine that the meaning of the Constitution may as well be ascertained by the Legislative as by the Judicial authority.
— Speech in the Congress of the United States, June 18, 1789
— James Madison
Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.
— Letter to James Warren, November 4, 1775
— Samuel Adams
Nothing is so contagious as opinion, especially on questions which, being susceptible of very different glosses, beget in the mind a distrust of itself.
— Letter to Benjamin Rush, March 7, 1790
— James Madison
Nothing is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.— Thomas Jefferson
Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.— Henry David Thoreau
Notwithstanding this high Ecclesiastical authority, he who dared accept truth only because it could be proved, or proved to be good, and disregard authority, was commonly stigmatized as an infidel.— Ethan A. Hitchcock
Now is the seedtime of continental union, faith and honor. The least fracture now, will be like a name engraved with the point of a pin on the tender rind of a young oak; the wound would enlarge with the tree, and posterity read in it full grown characters.
— Common Sense, 1776
— Thomas Paine
Nullification means insurrection and war; and the other states have a right to put it down.— Andrew Jackson
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