"A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism."
Abraham Lincoln
(1809-1865) 16th US President
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Reader comments about this quote:
This statement by President Abraham Lincoln proves the foolishness of doctrines opposite to, American self-government by electoral representation. And it also reveals the endangerment to Liberty produced by the imprudent advocates of "proportional representation," which is a socio-political doctrine that aims at separating a country's resources into "pieces of the pie" to be expropriated, by hook or crook, by factious and warring, ruthless, and self-interested ethnic enclaves, economic cliques, and social clans that must practice division and confusion as they connive and conspire in order to coax friends and foes alike, into forming a so-called "governing coalition." The statements of President Abraham Lincoln, when read in totality, prove that he had a keen, discerning, perceptive, and wise understanding of the principles of free government as rooted in God-endowed personal Liberty. For, since, for example, 300 million Americans cannot be assembled at one time and in one place to legislate a policy decision addressing a national problem, it makes spiritual soberness, moral sense, and logical sense, to then deliberately and willfully choose to elect our representatives into public office by our expressed, free-willed, voter consent. And it is after this God-given constitutional expression of our personal liberty in American citizenship is completed via open and lawful political participation is fully completed by us, citizen-voters, that those we elect by our consent and freewill-choice to represent us as our freely elected government then assume administrative power on our behalf, but with the legitimate authority to enact just laws for our great nation that we will then freely obey, follow, and abide by. Thus, from the standpoint of the sinfulness of human nature, and given the Law of Entropy prevailing in the physical natural world, then our form of free self-government by electoral representation embodies indeed the final word on Human government as established by divine revelation on the face of the Earth.
 -- Leo Emmanuel Lochard, Joliet, Illinois     
    What he is saying is that our constitution is a living, breathing document and he could change it to fit his desires. Nothing in our constitution gave him the right force states back into the union or to draft young men into his army because few cared to have a war only the Robber Barons wanted. When the Supreme Court told him it was unconstitutional to do this he threatened to jail them.
     -- Cal, lewisville, tx     
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    I am no fan of Lincoln. I will spare you a long dissertation of why I think Lincoln was a tyrant. Read "Lincoln Uber Alles"( Lincoln Over All) "Dictatorship Comes to America" and you will see why.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
    Not only is this quote bad philosophy it is poorly written. How do we know Lincoln said such a bad aphorism. For example . . . "Whoever rejects it does of necessity . . ." Rejects what? ... the fact that it can change, or the fact that there are hard and fast limitations. How is it that not sticking to "flexible limits" can lead to either of opposite extremes . . . " to anarchy or to despotism". That's nonsense. And how is it that "always changing easily" is in the same sentence with "constitutional checks and limitations"?
    I agree with Cal, and Jim above that Lincoln was a tyrant, but he was also brilliant and this quote is not brilliant.
     -- Walter Clark, Fullerton CA     
    At this page:

    read this:
    Rabbi Isaac Wise of Cincinnati wrote in 1865, "Abraham Lincoln believed himself to be bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He supposed himself to be of Hebrew parentage, he said so in my presence, and indeed he possessed the common features of the Hebrew race both in countenance and features." -

    Lincoln may have been the first Jewish president?!?!?!?!

    In the Lincoln quote above - he was just telling us - confessing - that he was rejecting the CONstitution and flying to despotism.
     -- Jimi Bigbear, Libertyville, IA     
    We've had despotism for >8,000 years... I'm ready to try anarchism (anarcho-capitalism, to be specific).
     -- Matthew, Peoples Republik of Kalifornia     
    Abraham Lincoln in his statement was obviously and contemptuously stating that "Mob Rule/Majority Opinion" is superior to the Supreme Rule of Law and the Unalienable Rights of the Individual!" -- sic
    The full quote - "Plainly, the central idea of secession, is the essence of anarchy. A majority, held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it, does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible; the rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left." Abraham Lincoln.
     -- Mary - MI     
    The Constitution was not meant to hold a majority or anybody in restraint. The Constitution is a document at 'order', administering and defining a few inalienable rights. It was clear that the founders detested democracy even more than the despotic monarchy. Thus the Republican form of government.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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