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"Our legislators are not sufficiently appraised of the rightful limits of their power; that their true office is to declare and enforce our natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us. No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him; every man is under the natural duty of contributing to the necessities of the society; and this is all the laws should enforce on him; and, no man having the right to be the judge between himself and another, it is his natural duty to submit to the umpirage of an impartial third [party]. When the laws have declared and enforced all this, they have fulfilled their functions; and the idea is quite unfounded, that on entering into society we give up any natural right."
Thomas Jefferson (more quotes by Thomas Jefferson or books by/about Thomas Jefferson)
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
letter to Francis W. Gilmer, June 7, 1816
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