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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1450
AUTHOR: James Madison (1751–1836)
QUOTATION: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
ATTRIBUTION: JAMES MADISON, speech in the Virginia constitutional convention, Richmond, Virginia, December 2, 1829.—The Writings of James Madison, ed. Gaillard Hunt, vol. 9, p. 361 (1910).

These words are inscribed in the Madison Memorial Hall, Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building.