"In dealing with the State, we ought to remember that its institutions
are not aboriginal, though they existed before we were born;
that they are not superior to the citizen;
that every one of them was once the act of a single man;
every law and usage was a man's expedient to meet a particular case;
that they all are imitable, all alterable;
we may make as good; we may make better."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, and poet
Essays, Second Series (1844)
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Reader comments about this quote:
The citizen is superior to the State, yes. The pedestrian always has the right of way. Good quote.
 -- KS, Somewhere,USA.     
  • 5
     -- Henry, Edinboro      
    In dealing with the state, it's better not to.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
  • 5
    The observation of the problem is absolutely correct (100+ stars for that). His conclusion is an extension of the problem with a little wishful thinking thrown in (NOT - never has worked and it never will) Abandoning social engineering concepts in favor of a representative republic at natural law is one result Emerson was wishing for.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 7
    I am inclined to agree with Mike, but few understand that man's 'laws' are in actuality 'rules' and are not written in stone.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 6
     -- Ronw13, ID      
    In dealing with the state, we must as responsible citizens become more respectful and accommodating to our respective institutions. We must monitor their progress and have measurable honorable standards to insure they are achieving their intended respective purposes, to provide moral strength to the United States of America.  Institutions deserve their own television show.
     -- Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown     
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