10 Quotes from the Founding Fathers that Entrepreneurs and Small Business Can Appreciate on July 4th

By at 3 July, 2019, 9:25 am

by Raymond J. Keating-

The Founding Fathers understood and fought against government that oversteps its bounds. Indeed, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were designed with a clear understanding of the real and potential abuses of government, and therefore, set out principles and a governmental framework for a limited government, with enumerated powers, and checks and balances.

Today, few better understand the abuses and costs of overreaching government than small business owners. Whether it be taxes, regulations, rules, mandates, requirements, et al., small business owners are on the front lines in dealing with the many burdens of intrusive, burdensome government.

With Independence Day – the Fourth of July – upon us, here are 10 declarations from various Founders that most certainly can be appreciated by entrepreneurs.

1. “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned — this is the sum of good government.” – Thomas Jefferson

2. “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man whatever is his own.” – James Madison

3. “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.” – John Adams

4. “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.” – James Madison

5. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” – Declaration of Independence

6. “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare… The powers of Congress would subvert the very foundation, the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America.” – Alexander Hamilton

7. “No taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant.” – George Washington

8. “No nation was ever ruined by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous.” – Benjamin Franklin

9. “The power to tax is the power to destroy.” – John Marshall

10. “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” – Thomas Jefferson

Small business owners, their employees and everyone else – especially elected officials – would do well to reflect upon these declarations, and guide their actions regarding government accordingly.


Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

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