Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
James Madison (17511836)
Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people, by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.
JAMES MADISON, speech in the Virginia Convention, Richmond, Virginia, June 6, 1788.The Papers of James Madison, ed. Robert A. Rutland and Charles F. Hobson, vol. 11, p. 79 (1977).
This general defense of the Constitution was presented by Madison in response to Patrick Henrys lengthy attack on the Constitution the preceding day.