"[Individuals] have a right to defend themselves and recover by force what by unlawful force is taken from them."
by:
John Locke
(1632-1704) English philosopher and political theorist. Considered the ideological progenitor of the American Revolution and who, by far, was the most often non-biblical writer quoted by the Founding Fathers of the USA.
Source:
Second Treatise on Civil Government 174 (Chicago 1955)
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Reader comments about this quote:
A lost concept. The quote here stated on its face can draw criticism as an injustice. Knowing Locke's philosophy and writings, by way of example his 'Second Treatise on Civil Government, in context, is absolutely correct.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    It would be nice to recover some money paid in income taxes which is forcebly taken.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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    Remember that the 'system' of theft is designed to crash -- with all our property in the hands of those who stole it through iniquitous banking methods. They will never willingly give up their ill-gotten gain. Not only will we have to throw out this funny money system, but we will have to seize all the property of these banksters as well. It is going to get messy or else they will still hold all the cards.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Moral stalwartness that is rooted in Virtue is the Palladium of the Liberty of every man and woman.

    As Virtue wanes, immorality waxes and values become inverted.

    With what Virtue and resolve will any who are being oppressed within, by their own immorality and indecency, oppose oppression that originates without themselves?
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill      
    Yes things are upside down, Patrick Henry,Red Hill, that by way of design.
    E Archer, NYC, Lord Acton spoke long ago of that very issue. Economic Liberty is at the heart of mercy, removing chains of misery. Most have been conditioned to enslaving their neighbor, thinking it is the norm, What a dupe by corrupt statesmen, in a nation founded upon such great liberty with Freedom to defend.
    A swingset on the WH lawn, with resolve to do the dirty work, That Leadership needed now, more than ever before. The Patriotic Backbone of the nation will rise with such leadership, set against an old adversary.
     -- Ronw13, OR     
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    This quote may have been pertinent in Lock's time, but not today. If nations mirror the rights of the individual then unfortunately Americas indigenous people were not able to take back by force what was taken from them by force.
    If the thief has more force than the victim then the thief wins - Israelis and the Palestinians are good example, so is the life people had in Libya and Iraq, and what the West is trying to do with Syria. Fortunately, Syria has a friend who is as forceful as the West. It's time for bullies to get the just desserts...
     -- robert, somewhere inthe USA     
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    Their children were taken from them by force (killed). Their land taken by force. Their homes take by force. Their livelihood's taken by force. Their sovereignty taken by force.
    Now you tell me what the difference is???
     -- robert, somewhere inthe USA     
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    somewhere robert:
    Has not societal progress has always had this effect, of displacing the unprepared and overwhelming the unevolved? You see this as a crime, but I would rather case-by-case assign individual judgement in each perceived transgression. Much of Manifest Destiny was driven by recent pestilence which compelled U.S. to flood westward to further establish and realise the amazing agricultural returns of this rich land, there were some very hard times when most of the planet was starving after crops failed during The Year Without Summer, in 1814 if I recall properly, along with other extended bad harvests around those days in many places.

    Locke's statement is not backed by modern Law Enforcement, but I thoroughly agree with his point.
     -- Mark W, Aurora, CO     
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