"Bear in mind this sacred principle,
that though the will of the majority
is in all cases to prevail,
that will to be rightful must be reasonable;
that the minority possess their equal rights,
which equal law must protect,
and to violate would be oppression."
by:
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Source:
First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1801
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Ken Hendricks, Hattiesburg, MS 
 -- Anonymous 
Great quote from TJ. Sadly the spirit of it seems to have been lost.
 -- J Carlton, Calgary
 
Democracy eventually becomes "Mobocracy", which is unfortunate.
 -- jim k, austin
 
 -- gdgca 
Democracy is dangerous and can be deadly. I think Socrates would agree.
 -- Ken, Allyn, WA
 
This is the wall separating a nation of laws from a nation of men.
 -- E Archer, NYC
 
It may be true that the will of the majority shal prevail but, but that doesn't mean the majority can run roughshod over the minority
 -- Jack, Green, OH
 
Democracy is our only safeguard from mob rule. Mob signifies rabble. The majority of people are not the mob. The mob is a small vocal group who tries to get it's way outside of standard ways of proceding.
 -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas
 
Democracy was invented by the Athenians, so they should know what it is. Athenians used their democracy and voted to murder Socrates for corrupting the youth with his ideas. The Athenians who voted were not a raucous mob, they were the cream of Athens society, yet since there was no concept of inalienable rights, they voted for murder. That is pure democracy.
 -- Ken, Allyn, WA
 
Democracy is mob rule, Waffler. You get it backwards as usual.
 -- warren, olathe
 
When the Republicans ran both Houses of Congress under the Coach from Illinois and Senator Lott was that what was MOB rule or is it now with Pelozi and Reid. "Mob: a turbulent or lawless crowd." To be lawless or an outlaw means to be against the law established by and maintained by the majority. Democracy entails the rule of law by the majority. The mob ruled Chicago in the form of Capone, and Russia in the form of the Communist Party, they were minority lawless rabble. Thanks to the majority in Russia and the Untouchables from the Feds these undemocratic minority MOBS were made kaput. I don't think I have it backwards at all. God Bless the Majority!
 -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas
 
The statement is a contradiction.
 -- RobertSRQ
 
HA HA!! Waffler, you make me laugh. This flies in the face of absolute "Democracy"! What a brilliant statement by an amazing mind. Long live our Republic. There is no contradiction -- the government to be governed by the voice of the people, except in cases that would violate the rights of the minority -- this is NOT Democracy (Because Democracy has no legitimate bounds to protect minorities, because Democracy's are only worried about majority rule absolutely!). 10 Stars.
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN
 
I repeat Logan Capone and Stalin and many others ran minority mobs which ran roughshod over the majority. Once the majority exerts itself it runs mobs out of business.
 -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas
 
Such is the way things were.
 -- Me Again
 
I truly think Jefferson was trying to communicate the responsibility the majority has to protect the minority. The very ideas they disagree with, the fact that this country allows disagreement, that we tolerate the unpopular opinion, that we ensure people can peacefully protest and explain their positions- THAT is what makes this country amazing. And its the responsibility of the majority to ensure that the minority survives, or we become what we fought so hard to escape and lose the freedoms we hold dear. You may enjoy being part of the majority on one issue, but find yourself in the minority on another-
 -- tolerance, phoenix
 
Lord of the flies
 -- Anonymous, sanfrancisco
 
Since two of your neighbors outnumber you as an individual and can therefore outvote you on any of your rights and freedoms, democracy fails without Equal Protection under Law. Democracy has already ended in most US states.
 -- Daniel, Iowa
 
"A REPUBLIC, if you can keep it" responded Mr. Franklin back in the day. Not a Democracy (= Mob Rule). The problems we encure today result from the people that VOTE in the politicians, regardless of any fraud here or there in conjunction with a complicit medai (for whatever reason, I don't quite understand) Equal protection, as i understand it, means "What i can or can't do, no one else can or can't do" Meaning...I can't marry my dog and neither can you. Personal preferences are not guaranteed under "Equal protection" Sadley, "Equal protection" has come under the heading "Personal preference" Where does one draw a (the) line?
 -- wilscott, Sacramento
 
 -- arla mija, albnia 
 
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