"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     
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    Democracy eventually becomes "Mobocracy", which is unfortunate.
     -- jim k, austin     
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     -- gdgca      
    Democracy is dangerous and can be deadly. I think Socrates would agree.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    This is the wall separating a nation of laws from a nation of men.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    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     
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    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     
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    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     
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    Democracy is mob rule, Waffler. You get it backwards as usual.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    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     
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    The statement is a contradiction.
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    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     
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    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     
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    Such is the way things were.
     -- Me Again     
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    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     
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    Lord of the flies
     -- Anonymous, sanfrancisco     
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    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     
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    "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     
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     -- arla mija, albnia      
    Robert, I agree, as a stand alone statement and on its face, it is a contradiction. There is a huge difference between a "democratic process" and a "democracy" - the same as - there is a huge difference between a "republican form of government" and a "republic". A "democracy" describes a herd mentality and godly application of an oligarchy representing a majority in creating law through force - might makes right. A republic generally, signifies the state (inclusive of physical boundaries), separate from and independent of a form of government and differentiates between nations. A "democratic process" most simply, references an opinion set forth through vote. A "Republican form of government" is a type of commonwealth with independently recognized individual sovereigns each existent with inalienable rights; that body politic at which the administration of affairs is based on each and every sovereign? A republican form of government is usually in opposition to an aristocracy, a democracy, a monarchy and all other forms of government that does not recognize natures law (natural law) is independent of man (corporeal man can not create law only use tools such as codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. to define the existent law). A "democracy" uniquely only recognizes the forest as a whole. A "republican form of government uniquely recognizes each tree with inherent rights.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    The Mob of democracy by way of vote, nullifies natural equal laws to protect the minority at equal rights of Liberty. Therefore throwing the baby out with the bath water. Such is the disrespect of the MOB for our founding Fathers and our Declaration and Constitution. Unjust law of the mob's rule bear no just authority over a Freed People at Liberty. Regardless of the Fabian Bleeding heart of the Socialist democratic party, that infest this land !! There is no contradiction with what Jefferson states !
     -- Ronw13, USA     
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