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Famous Quotes about Liberty
 

 
Famous quotes, quotations, sayings, phrases, idioms, proverbs, and axioms about Liberty and the Responsibility that comes with it. 
 


The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

A classic since 1953 with over 20,000 quotes from over 3,000 authors.


Famous Last Words

Apt Observations, Pleas, Curses, Benedictions, Sour Notes, Bons Mots, and Insights from People on the Brink of Departure


Stretch Your Wings

Famous Black Quotations for the Young


American Quotations

An exhaustive collection of profound quotes from the founding fathers, presidents, statesmen, scientists, constitutions, court decisions


The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations


Last Words of Saints and Sinners

700 Final Quotes from the Famous, the Infamous, and the Inspiring Figures of History


America's God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations

Contains over 2,100 profound quotations from founding fathers, presidents, constitutions, court decisions and more


The Law

This 1850 classic is an absolute must read for anyone interested in law, justice, truth, or liberty. A most compelling and revolutionary look at The Law.


Bartlett's Familiar Quotations

A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature (17th Edition)


The Stupidest Things Ever Said by Politicians

Rise up, America -- and laugh out loud at the greatest gaffes that no spin doctor could possibly fix!


The 776 Even Stupider Things Ever Said

Another great collection of stupidity


Quotable Quotes

Wit and Wisdom for All Occasions from America's Most Popular Magazine


The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time

You don't have to be a genius to sound like one. Here's a collection of the most profound and provocative wit and wisdom in the English language in two lines or less.


2,715 One-Line Quotations for Speakers, Writers & Raconteurs

Invaluable sampler of witticisms, epigrams, sayings, bon mots, platitudes and insights chosen for their brevity and pithiness.


Phillips' Book of Great Thoughts Funny Sayings

A stupendous collection of quotes, quips, epigrams, witticisms, and humorous comments for personal enjoyment and ready reference.


Quick Quips and Quotes; 532 Things I Wish I Had Said

Quick Quips and Quotes is the Ultimate Collection of one liners.


Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes

The ultimate anthology of anecdotes, now revised with over 700 new entries.


Quotations for Public Speakers

A Historical, Literary, and Political Anthology


Liberty - The American Revolution

This compelling series traces the events leading up to the war and America's fight for freedom.


Founding Fathers

The story of how these disparate characters fomented rebellion in the colonies, formed the Continental Congress, fought the Revolutionary War, and wrote the Constitution


Libertarianism: A Primer

David Boaz, director of the Cato Institute, has written a simple introduction to Libertarianism inteneded to appeal to disgruntled Democrats and Republicans everywhere.


The Libertarian Reader

Classic and Contemporary Writings from Lao-Tzu to Milton Friedman


Thomas Paine: Collected Writings

All the classics: Common Sense / The Crisis / Rights of Man / The Age of Reason / Pamphlets, Articles, and Letters

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A FramerUnder every government the [last] resort of the people, is an appeal to the sword; whether to defend themselves against the open attacks of a foreign enemy, or to check the insidious encroachments of domestic foes.  Whenever a people ... entrust the defence of their country to a regular, standing army, composed of mercenaries, the power of that country will remain under the direction of the most wealthy citizens.
A State Ex Rel. Torryson v. GreyWhere the words of a constitution are unambiguous and in their commonly received sense lead to a reasonable conclusion, it should be read according to the natural and most obvious import of the framers, without resorting to subtle and forced construction for the purpose of limiting or extending its operation.
Dean AchesonThe limitations imposed by democratic political practices makes it difficult to conduct our foreign affairs in the national interest.
Bruce AckermanThere is simply no escaping the fact that the fate of the Constitution is in our hands -- as voters, representatives, justices. If we allow ourselves to abuse the tradition of higher lawmaking, the very idea that the Constitution can be viewed as the culminating expression of a mobilized citizenry will disintegrate. After all, the American Republic is no more eternal than the Roman -- and it will come to an end when American citizens betray their Constitution’s fundamental ideals and aspirations so thoroughly that existing institutions merely parody the public meanings they formerly conveyed
Bruce AckermanThere is simply no escaping the fact that the fate of the Constitution is in our hands -- as voters, representatives, justices. If we allow ourselves to abuse the tradition of higher lawmaking, the very idea that the Constitution can be viewed as the culminating expression of a mobilized citizenry will disintegrate. After all, the American Republic is no more eternal than the Roman -- and it will come to an end when American citizens betray their Constitution’s fundamental ideals and aspirations so thoroughly that existing institutions merely parody the public meanings they formerly conveyed.
Lord ActonEverything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.
John AdamsAll the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, so much as downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.
John AdamsThe only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now. They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.
John AdamsEach individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this protection; and to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary. But no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent.
John AdamsWere I to define the British constitution, therefore, I should say, it is a limited monarchy, or a mixture of the three forms of government commonly known in the schools, reserving as much of the monarchical splendor, the aristocratical independency, and the democratical freedom, as are necessary that each of these powers may have a control, both in legislation and execution, over the other two, for the preservation of the subject's liberty.
John AdamsThere is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.
John AdamsWere I to define the British constitution, therefore, I should say it is a limited monarchy, or a mixture of the three forms of government commonly known in the schools [monarchical, aristocratical, and democratical] ... And it is [the] reservation of fundamentals, of the right of giving instructions, and of new elections, which creates a popular check, upon the whole government which alone secures the constitution from becoming an aristocracy, or a mixture of monarchy and aristocracy only.
John AdamsStatesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.
John AdamsThere never was yet a people who must not have somebody or something to represent the dignity of the state.
John AdamsNip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society.
John AdamsIt may perhaps be a Sufficient Recommendation of this Article to say that it was introduced by Mr Charles Pinkney of South Carolina, and he ought to have the Glory of it. But I confess I never understood it, and I believe no other Man ever did or ever will. A Republican Government is a Government of more than one. The Word Republick has been used, it is true by learned Men to Signify every actual and every possible Government among Men, that of Constantinople as well as that of Geneva. But the most accurate Writers distinguish Republicks from Despotisms and Simple Monarchies, and call every Government by that name in which more than one Person is concerned in the Sovereignty, and in this Sense the Kingdoms of Sparta Poland and England were Republicks as truely as Saint Marino. Venice Holland and other States were universally called Republicks both by the Learned and unlearned; yet the People in these States had certainly no more Liberty than those of England or France. The most Accurate distinction then has been between free Republicks and Republicks which are not free. It is not even said in our Constitution that the People shall be guarranteed in a Free Republican Government. The Word is So loose and indeffinite that Successive Predominant Factions will put Glosses and Constructions upon it as different as light and darkness, and if ever there should be a Civil War which Heaven forbid, the conquering General in all his Tryumphs may establish a Military Despotism and yet call it a constitutional Republic as Napoleon has already Set him the Example. The only Effect of it that I could ever See, is to deceive the People: and this practice my heart abhors my head disapproves, and my Tongue my Pen have ever avoided.
John AdamsThe dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, and both should be checks upon that.
John AdamsWe have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.
John Adamsno good government but what is republican...
the very definition of a republic is
'an empire of laws, and not of men.'
John AdamsIf Aristotle, Livy, and Harrington knew what a republic was, the British constitution is much more like a republic than an empire. They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men. If this definition is just, the British constitution is nothing more or less than a republic, in which the king is first magistrate. This office being hereditary, and being possessed of such ample and splendid prerogatives, is no objection to the government's being a republic, as long as it is bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend.
John AdamsWhen people talk of the freedom of writing, speaking, or thinking, I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists; but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more.
John Quincy AdamsBut the indissoluble link of union
between the people of the several States of this confederated nation
is, after all, not in the RIGHT, but in the HEART. If the day
should ever come (may Heaven avert it !) when the affections of
the people of these States shall be alienated from each other, when
the fraternal spirit shall give way to cold indifference, or collision
of interests shall fester into hatred, the bonds of political association -
will not long hold together parties no longer attracted by the
magnetism of conciliated interests and kindly sympathies ; and
far better will it be for the people of the disunited States to part
in friendship with each other than to be held together by constraint.
Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents
which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution,
to form again a more perfect Union, by dissolving that which
could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited
by the law of political gravitation to the center.
John Quincy AdamsThe highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected, in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.
Samuel AdamsThe liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution,
are worth defending at all hazards;
and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.
We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors:
they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure
and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence.
It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation,
enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us
by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them
by the artifices of false and designing men.
Samuel AdamsThe said constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.
Samuel AdamsAnd that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press,  or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions.
Mortimer AdlerFreedom is the emancipation from the arbitrary rule of other men.
Spiro AgnewEvery time I criticize what I consider to be excesses or faults in the news business, I am accused of repression, and the leaders of various media professional groups wave the First Amendment as they denounce me. That happens to be my amendment, too. It guarantees my free speech as it does their freedom of the press… There is room for all of us – and for our divergent views – under the First Amendment.
Alabama, Declaration of Rights Article I Section 35That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.
Florence Ellinwood AllenLiberty cannot be caged into a charter or handed on ready-made to the next generation. Each generation must recreate liberty for its own times. Whether or not we establish freedom rests with ourselves.
American Bar AssociationIt is the duty of the officials to prevent or suppress the threatened disorder with a firm hand instead of timidly yielding to threats…. Surely a speaker ought not to be suppressed because his opponents propose to use violence. It is they who should suffer from their lawlessness, not he.
American Bar AssociationI shall not counsel or maintain any suit or proceeding which shall appear to me to be unjust, nor any defense except such as I believe to be honestly debatable under the law of the land.
American Jurisprudence, 2nd EditionNo one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law, and no courts are bound to enforce it.
Fisher AmesMr. Madison has introduced his long expected amendments... The rights of conscience, of bearing arms, of changing the government, are declared to be inherent in the people.
Fisher Ames[O]ur sages in the great [constitutional] convention...
intended our government should be a republic
which differs more widely from a democracy
than a democracy from a despotism.
The rigours of a despotism often... oppress only a few,
but it is the very essence and nature of a democracy,
for a faction claiming to oppress a minority, and
that minority the chief owners of the property
and truest lovers of their country.
Amos v. MosleyIf the legislature clearly misinterprets a constitutional provision, the frequent repetition of the wrong will not create a right.
Amos v. MosleyIf the legislature clearly misinterprets a Constitutional provision, the frequent repetition of the wrong will not create a right.
xRecording Police and Public Officials
Tom AndersonThe Original Sin which brought us to the brink of bankruptcy and dictatorship was the Federal Income Tax Amendment and its illegitimate child, Federal Aid.
Susan B. AnthonyMen, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.
Susan B. AnthonyIt was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.
Marcus Aurelius AntoninusThe best way of avenging thyself is not to become like the wrong-doer.
AristotleIt makes no difference whether a good man has defrauded a bad man, or a bad man defrauded a good man, or whether a good or bad man has committed adultery: the law can look only to the amount of damage done.
Larry P. Arnn...[W]e insist on the principle that no danger or crisis, foreign or domestic, will be solved by Americans surrendering more of their constitutional liberties, in the foolish hope that a bigger government will provide greater security.
Dwight E. AvisLet me point this out now. Your income tax is 100 percent voluntary tax, and your liquor tax is 100 percent enforced tax. Now, the situation is as different as night and day. Consequently, your same rules just will not apply...
F. Lee BaileyCan any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It wouldn't even get out
of committee.
Mikhail A. BakuninThe right to unite freely and to separate freely is the first and most important of all political rights.
James BaldwinThe price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.
George BancroftMadison, agreeing with the journal of the convention, records that the grant of power to emit bills of credit was refused by a majority of more than four to one. The evidence is perfect; no power to emit paper money was granted to the legislature of the United States.
Joseph BanisterThe Internal Revenue Service is everything the so-called tax protesters said it was; nonresponsive, unable to withstand scrutiny, tyrannical, and oblivious to the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.
Sarah Evans BarkerIn terms of altering sociological patterns, free speech, rather than being the enemy, is a long-tested and worthy ally. To deny free speech in order to engineer social changes in the name of accomplishing a greater good for one sector of our society erodes the freedoms of all.
Sarah Evans BarkerTo permit every interest group, especially those who claim to be victimized by unfair expression, their own legislative exceptions to the First Amendment so long as they succeed in obtaining a majority of legislative votes in their favor demonstrates the potentially predatory nature of what defendants seek through this Ordinance.
Frederic BastiatNo legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic.
Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle
with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).
Dan BaumThe country's first drug ban explicitly targeted the opium of "the heathen Chinee." Cocaine was first banned in the south to prevent an uprising of hopped-up "cocainized Negroes.
Dan BaumThe [Supreme] Court during the past decade let police obtain search warrants on the strength of anonymous tips. It did away with the need for warrants when police want to search luggage, trash cans, car interiors, bus passengers, fenced private property and barns.
Dan BaumThe Supreme Court is steadily eroding the protections against police excess promised by the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
Thomas F. BayardReligious liberty is the chief cornerstone of the American system of government, and provisions for its security are embedded in the written charter and interwoven in the moral fabric of its laws. Anything that tends to invade a right so essential and sacred must be carefully guarded against, and I am satisfied that my countrymen, ever mindful of the suffering and sacrifices necessary to obtain it, will never consent to its impairment for any reason or under any pretext whatsoever.
Charles Austin BeardOne of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence.
Bell v. HoodHistory is clear that the first ten amendments to the Constitution were adopted to secure certain common law rights of the people, against invasion by the Federal Government.
Jeremy BenthamNo power of government ought to be employed in the endeavor to establish any system or article of belief on the subject of religion.
Albert J. BeveridgeIf liberty is worth keeping and free representative government worth saving, we must stand for all American fundamentals—not some, but all. All are woven into the great fabric of our national well-being. We cannot hold fast to some only, and abandon others that, for the moment, we find inconvenient. If one American fundamental is prostrated, others in the end will surely fall.
John Biggs, Jr.Let us revise our views and work from the premise that all laws should be for the welfare of society as a whole and not directed at the punishment of sins.
Billings v. HallUnder our form of government, the legislature is not supreme ... like other departments of government, it can only exercise such powers as have been delegated to it, and when it steps beyond that boundary, its acts, like those of the most humble magistrate in the state who transcends his jurisdiction, are utterly void.
Justice Hugo L. BlackWhat finally emerges from the ‘clear and present danger’ cases is a working principle that the substantive evil must be extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high before utterances can be punished…It must be taken as a command of the broadest scope that explicit language, read in the context of a liberty-loving society, will allow.
Justice Hugo L. BlackThe layman’s constitutional view is that what he likes is constitutional and that which he doesn’t like is unconstitutional.
Justice Hugo L. BlackFreedom to publish means freedom for all and not for some. Freedom to publish is guaranteed by the constitution but freedom to continue to prevent others from publishing is not.
Justice Hugo L. BlackCompelling a man by law to pay his money to elect candidates or advocate law or doctrines he is against differs only in degree, if at all, from compelling him by law to speak for a candidate, a party, or a cause he is against. The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands.
Justice Hugo L. BlackThe first ten amendments were proposed and adopted largely because of fear that Government might unduly interfere with prized individual liberties. The people wanted and demanded a Bill of Rights written into their Constitution. The amendments embodying the Bill of Rights were intended to curb all branches of the Federal Government in the fields touched by the amendments—Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.
Justice Hugo L. BlackThe First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.
Justice Hugo L. BlackThe interest of the people lies in being able to join organizations, advocate causes, and make political “mistakes” without being subjected to governmental penalties.
Justice Hugo L. BlackI am for the First Amendment from the first word to the last. I believe it means what it says.
Justice Hugo L. BlackThe public welfare demands that constitutional cases must be decided according to the terms of the Constitution itself, and not according to judges’ views of fairness, reasonableness, or justice.
Justice Hugo L. BlackWithout deviation, without exception, without any ifs, buts, or whereases, freedom of speech means that you shall not do something to people either for the views they express, or the words they speak or write.
Justice Hugo L. BlackThe layman's constitutional view is that what he likes is constitutional and that which he doesn't like is unconstitutional.
Justice Hugo L. BlackCriticism of government finds sanctuary in several portions of the First Amendment. It is part of the right of free speech. It embraces freedom of the press.
Justice Hugo L. BlackCompelling a man by law to pay his money to elect candidates or advocate law or doctrines he is against differs only in degree, if at all, from compelling him by law to speak for a candidate, a party, or a cause he is against. The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands.
Justice Hugo L. BlackIt is my belief that there are “absolutes” in our Bill of Rights, and that they were put there on purpose by men who knew what the words meant and meant their prohibitions to be "absolutes.
Justice Hugo L. BlackAnonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind. Persecuted groups and sects from time to time throughout history have been able to criticize the oppressive practices and laws either anonymously or not at all... It is plain that anonymity has sometimes been assumed for the most constructive purposes.
Justice Hugo L. BlackIn my judgment the people of no nation can lose their liberty so long as a Bill of Rights like ours survives and its basic purposes are conscientiously interpreted, enforced and respected so as to afford continuous protection against old, as well as new, devices and practices which might thwart those purposes. I fear to see the consequences of the Court's practice of substituting its own concepts of decency and fundamental justice for the language of the Bill of Rights as its point of departure in interpreting and enforcing that Bill of Rights.
Justice Hugo L. BlackThe public welfare demands that constitutional cases must be decided according to the terms of the Constitution itself, and not according to judges’ views of fairness, reasonableness, or justice. I have no fear of constitutional amendments properly adopted, but I do fear the rewriting of the Constitution by judges under the guise of interpretation.
Justice Hugo L. BlackAn unconditional right to say what one pleases about public affairs is what I consider to be the minimum guarantee of the First Amendment.
Justice Hugo L. BlackThe very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands.
Sir William BlackstoneThe public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual's private rights.
Sir William BlackstoneThat the king can do no wrong is a necessary and fundamental principle of the English constitution.
Sol BloomQ. What is meant by the term “constitution”? <br/>
A. A constitution embodies the fundamental principles of a government. Our constitution, adopted by the sovereign power, is amendable by that power only. To the constitution all laws, executive actions, and judicial decisions must conform, as it is the creator of the powers exercised by the departments of government. <br/>
Q. Why has our Constitution been classed as “rigid”? <br/>
A. The term “rigid” is used in opposition to “flexible” because the provisions are in a written document which cannot be legally changed with the same ease and in the same manner as ordinary laws. The British constitution, which is unwritten, can, on the other hand be changed overnight by an act of Parliament. ... <br/>
Q. Where, in the Constitution, is there mention of education? <br/>
A. There is none; education is a matter reserved for the States. ... <br/>
Q. Does the Constitution give us our rights and liberties? <br/>
A. No, it does not, it only guarantees them. The people had all their rights and liberties before they made the Constitution. The Constitution was formed, among other purposes, to make the people’s liberties secure -- secure not only as against foreign attack but against oppression by their own government. They set specific limits upon their national government and upon the States, and reserved to themselves all powers that they did not grant. The Ninth Amendment declares: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”<br/>
Michael BoldinSome people are calling for the federal government to restrict the right to keep and bear arms of people who are on the federal government’s terrorism watch list. This is not only unconstitutional, but sets an extremely dangerous precedent for all our rights. If the federal government can take away someone else’s right to defend themselves simply because it has unilaterally decided to place them on a secret, wildly inaccurate list that’s virtually impossible to be removed from, eventually, some bureaucrat is going to find some way to put you on that list for another reason.
Michael BoldinWhatever power you give politicians and bureaucrats to use against other people will eventually be used by future politicians and bureaucrats against you.
Neal BoortzOur founding fathers detested the idea of a democracy and labored long to prevent America becoming one.  Once again -- the word 'democracy' does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, or the constitution of any of the fifty states.  Not once. Furthermore, take a look at State of the Union speeches.  You won’t find the 'D' word uttered once until the Wilson years.
Robert BorkI don't think the Constitution is studied almost anywhere, including law schools. In law schools, what they study is what the court said about the Constitution. They study the opinions. They don't study the Constitution itself.
Linda BowlesThe government expands at will, based on what might be charitably called flimsy constitutional reasoning and less charitably and more accurately called arrogant judicial tyranny. Government authority these days rarely comes from the Constitution as written but from the last carefully crafted misinterpretation of it. This is called legal precedent.
Boyd v. U.S.Constitutional provisions for the security of person and property should be liberally construed. It is the duty of the courts to be watchful of constitutional rights against any stealthy encroachments thereon.
Sarah BradyOur task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed.
Justice Louis D. Brandeis'Stare decisis' is usually the wise policy.... [b]ut where correction through legislative action is
practically impossible, this Court has often overruled its earlier decisions...
Justice Louis D. BrandeisWays may someday be developed by which the government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home.
Justice Louis D. BrandeisThe makers of our constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness... They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone – the most comprehensive of the rights and the right most valued by civilized men.
Justice Louis D. BrandeisCrime is contagious. If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for the law.
Justice Louis D. BrandeisTo declare that in the administration of criminal law the end justifies the means – to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure conviction of a private criminal – would bring terrible retribution.
Justice Louis D. BrandeisThey: The makers of the Constitution: conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone -- the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.
Justice Louis D. BrandeisThe constitutional right of free speech has been declared to be the same in peace and war. In peace, too, men may differ widely as to what loyalty to our country demands, and an intolerant majority, swayed by passion or by fear, may be prone in the future, as it has been in the past, to stamp as disloyal opinions with which it disagrees.
Justice William J. BrennanAll ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance – unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion, have the full protection of the guarantees [of the First Amendment].
Justice William J. BrennanThe Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to “create” rights. Rather they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting.
Justice William J. BrennanIf there is a bedrock principle of the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.
Harry BrowneThe Bill of Rights is a literal and absolute document. The First Amendment doesn't say you have a right to speak out unless the government has a 'compelling interest' in censoring the Internet. The Second Amendment doesn't say you have the right to keep and bear arms until some madman plants a bomb. The Fourth Amendment doesn't say you have the right to be secure from search and seizure unless some FBI agent thinks you fit the profile of a terrorist. The government has no right to interfere with any of these freedoms under any circumstances.
Harry BrowneI want a government small enough to fit inside the Constitution.
Orville BrowningBe assured that if this new provision [the 14th Amendment] be engrafted in the Constitution, it will, in time, change the entire structure and texture of our government, and sweep away all the guarantees of safety devised and provided by our patriotic Sires of the Revolution.
William Cullen BryantThe right to discuss freely and openly, by speech, by the pen, by the press, all political questions, and to examine the animadvert upon all political institutions is a right so clear and certain, so interwoven with our other liberties, so necessary, in fact, to their existence, that without it we must fall into despotism and anarchy.
James BuchananWhat is right and what is practicable are two different things.
Patrick J. BuchananThe village atheist has the right to be heard; he has no right to be heeded. While he has a right not to have his own children indoctrinated in what he believes are false and foolish teachings, he has no right to dictate what other children may be taught.
William S. BurroughsAfter a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. I sure as hell
wouldn't want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.
George Herbert Walker BushFreedom and the power to choose should not be the privilege of wealth. They are the birthright of every American.
George W. BushToday the Justice Department did issue a blanket alert. It was in recognition of a general threat we received. This is not the first time the Justice Department have acted like this. I hope it is the last. But given the attitude of the evildoers, it may not be.
George W. BushI don’t give a goddamn. I’m the President
and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way. ...
Stop throwing the Constitution in my face.
It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!
George W. BushLet us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty.
Edmond Cahn“Due process,” a standard that arose in our system of law and stemmed from the desire to provide rational procedure and fair play, is equally indispensable in every other kind of social or political enterprise.
John C. CalhounTo maintain the ascendancy of the Constitution over the lawmaking majority is the great and essential point on which the success of the [American] system must depend; unless that ascendancy can be preserved, the necessary consequence must be that the laws will supersede the Constitution; and, finally, the will of the Executive, by influence of its patronage, will supersede the laws ...
John C. CalhounThe government of the absolute majority is but the government of the strongest interests; and when not effectively checked, is the most tyrannical and oppressive that can be devised... [To read the Constitution is to realize that] no free system was ever farther removed from the principle that the absolute majority, without check or limitation, ought to govern.
John C. CalhounIt is federal, because it is the government of States united in a political union, in contradistinction to a government of individuals, that is, by what is usually called, a social compact. To express it more concisely, it is federal and not national because it is the government of a community of States, and not the government of a single State or Nation.
John C. CalhounStripped of all its covering, the naked question is, whether ours is a federal or consolidated government;
a constitutional or absolute one; a government resting solidly on the basis of the sovereignty of the States,
or on the unrestrained will of a majority; a form of government, as in all other unlimited ones, in which injustice, violence, and force must ultimately prevail.
Richard CarlileFree discussion is the only necessary Constitution -- the only necessary Law of the Constitution.
CatoWhoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing Freedom of Speech... Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech...
Salmon P. ChaseIf Congress sees fit to impose a capitation, or other direct tax, it must be laid in proportion to the census; if Congress determines to impose duties, imposts, and excises, they must be uniform throughout the United States. These are not strictly limitations of power. They are rules prescribing the mode in which it shall be exercised. ... This review shows that personal property, contracts, occupations, and the like have never been regarded by Congress as proper subjects of direct tax.
Dick CheneyIt will be necessary for us to be a nation of men, and not laws.
Gilbert Keith ChestertonThe whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types -- the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.
Chisholm v. GeorgiaIn the United States, Sovereignty resides in the people, who act through the organs established by the Constitution.
Joseph H. ChoateThe Act of Congress which we are impugning before you is communistic in its purposes and tendencies, and is defended here upon principles as communistic, socialistic - what shall I call them - populistic as ever have been
addressed to any political assembly in the world.
Sir Winston ChurchillThe power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.
Marcus Tullius CiceroA nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.
Justice Tom C. ClarkNothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.
Grover ClevelandI feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds... I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution.
Grover ClevelandI can find no warrant for such appropriation in the Constitution.
Bill ClintonThe purpose of government is to rein in the rights of the people.
Bill ClintonWhen we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans, it was assumed that the Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly.... [However, now] there's a lot of irresponsibility. And so a lot of people say there's too much freedom. When personal freedom's being abused, you have to move to limit it.
Bill ClintonIf the personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution
inhibit the government's ability to govern the people,
we should look to limit those guarantees.
Bill ClintonWhen we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans ... And so a lot of people say there's too much personal freedom. When personal freedom's being abused, you have to move to limit it. That's what we did in the announcement I made last weekend on the public housing projects, about how we're going to have weapon sweeps and more things like that to try to make people safer in their communities.
Bill ClintonWe can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans...
Bill ClintonYou know the one thing that's wrong with this country? Everyone gets a chance to have their fair say.
Bill ClintonWe can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans...
Frank I. CobbThe Bill of Rights is a born rebel. It reeks with sedition.
In every clause it shakes its fist in the face of constituted authority...
It is the one guarantee of human freedom to the American people.
Frank I. CobbIf the author of the Declaration of Independence were to utter such a sentiment today, the Post Office Department could exclude him from the mail, grand juries could indict him for sedition and criminal syndicalism, legislative committees could seize his private papers ... and United States Senators would be clamoring for his deportation that he... should be sent back to live with the rest of the terrorists.
William S. CohenWe have to yet really seriously debate the constitutional issues and whether or not we're willing to give up more freedom in order to have more security.
Henry Steele CommagerEvery effort to confine Americanism to a single pattern, to constrain it to a single formula, is disloyalty to everything that is valid in Americanism.
Committee on American CitizenshipLawyers are being graduated from our law schools by the thousands who have little knowledge of the Constitution. When  organizations seek a lawyer to instruct them on the Constitution, they find it nearly impossible to secure one competent.
Connecticut ConstitutionEvery citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.
Constitution for the United StatesThe United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.
Constitution for the USAWe the People of the united States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Indiana ConstitutionIn all criminal cases whatsoever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts.
Maine ConstitutionEvery citizen has a right to keep and bear arms; and this right shall never be questioned.
Massachusetts ConstitutionThe people have a right to keep and bear arms for the common defense. And as, in times of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the Legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the Civil authority, and be governed by it.
Michigan ConstitutionEvery person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.
Montana ConstitutionThe right of any person to keep or bear arms in defense of his own home, person, and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but nothing herein contained shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons.
New Hampshire ConstitutionAll persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.
Constitution of the Irish Free StateAll lawful authority comes from God to the people.
Constitution of the United StatesNo person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury... nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any Criminal Case to be a witness against himself, not be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
U. S. ConstitutionThe United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government...
Thomas CooleyThe right is general.
It may be supposed from the phraseology of this provision
that the right to keep and bear arms
was only guaranteed to the militia;
but this would be an interpretation not warranted by the intent.
The militia, as has been explained elsewhere,
consists of those persons who, under the law,
are liable to the performance of military duty,
and are officered and enrolled for service
when called upon. . . .
[I]f the right were limited to those enrolled,
the purpose of the guarantee might be defeated altogether
by the action or the neglect to act
of the government it was meant to hold in check.
The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is,
that the people, from whom the militia must be taken,
shall have the right to keep and bear arms,
and they need no permission or regulation of law
for that purpose.
James Fenimore CooperLiberty is not a matter of words, but a positive and important condition of society. Its greatest safeguard after placing its foundations in a popular base, is in the checks and balances imposed on the public servants.
Council on Foreign Relations[A] possible further difficulty is cited, namely, that arising from the Constitutional provision that only Congress may declare war. This argument is countered with the contention that a treaty will override this barrier, let alone the fact that our participation in such police action as might be recommended by the international security organization need not necessarily be construed as war.
Tench CoxeWhereas civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as military forces, which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.
Edward H. CraneArticle I, Section 8, of the Constitution, of course, lays out the delegated, enumerated, and therefore limited powers of Congress. Only through a deliberate misreading of the general welfare and commerce clauses of the Constitution has the federal government been allowed to overreach its authority and extend its tendrils into every corner of civil society.
Judith CristWhat censorship accomplishes, creating an unreal and hypocritical mythology, fomenting an attraction for forbidden fruit, inhibiting the creative minds among us and fostering an illicit trade. Above all, it curtails the right of the individual, be he creator or consumer, to satisfy his intellect and his interest without harm. In our law-rooted society, we are not the keeper of our brother’s morals – only of his rights.
Davy CrockettWe have rights, as individuals, to give as much of our own money as we please to charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of public money.
Walter CronkiteIt is a seldom proffered argument as to the advantages of a free press that it has a major function in keeping the government itself informed as to what the government is doing.
Donna Woolfolk CrossWhen law enforcers are shown to have such unswerving integrity, only the most churlish among us would question the methods they use to “get their man.” Constitutional guarantees are regarded as bothersome “technicalities” that impede honest law enforcers in the performance of their duties.
Judge Walter Joseph Cummings Jr.Only the rare taxpayer would be likely to know that he could refuse to produce his records to IRS agents... Who would believe the ironic truth that the cooperative taxpayer fares much worse than the individual who relies upon his constitutional rights.
Clarence S. DarrowThere is no such crime as a crime of thought; there are only crimes of action.
Clarence S. DarrowThe Constitution is a delusion and a snare if the weakest and humblest man in the land cannot be defended in his right to speak and his right to think as much as the strongest in the land.
Justice David DavisThe Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people,
equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection
all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances.
No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences,
was ever invented by the wit of man than
that any of its provisions can be suspended
during any of the great exigencies of government.
Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism,
but the theory of necessity on which it is based is false;
for the government, within the Constitution, has all the powers granted to it,
which are necessary to preserve its existence;
as has been happily proved by the result
of the great effort to throw off its just authority.
Elmer DavisThe Republic was not established by cowards; and cowards will not preserve it ...
This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.
Michel de MontaigneLaws are maintained in credit, not because they are essentially just, but because they are laws. It is the mystical foundation of their authority; they have none other.
Charles de MontesquieuThe deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.
Charles-Louis De SecondatThe deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.
Declaration of IndependenceWe hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, ...
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.
Declaration of IndependenceBut, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
Daniel DennettThere's nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view that I hold dear.
Brannon P. DenningWhen courts fail to engage in oversight or even distort the Constitution to rationalize the ultra vires actions of government, and when academics and political activists aid and abet them in this activity by devising ingenious rationalizations for ignoring the Constitution’s words, they are playing a most dangerous game. For they are putting at risk the legitimacy of the lawmaking process and risking the permanent disaffection of significant segments of the people.
Alan DershowitzRights are not self-evident. They're not unalienable.
They are subject to modification just like anything else.
Alan DershowitzFoolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the constitution by claiming it's not an individual right or that it's too much of a safety hazard don’t see the danger of the big picture. They're courting disaster by encouraging others to use this same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution they don't like.
Alan DershowitzWe, the People of this country, have no unalienable rights... all our rights are subject to modification... the Constitution of the United States of America is nothing more than a piece of paper and... our government should not be restrained by the Constitution because our government can do good things for people.
Alan DershowitzOur First Amendment expresses a far different calculus for regulating speech than for regulating nonexpressive conduct and that is as it should be. The right to swing your fist should end at the tip of my nose, but your right to express your ideas should not necessarily end at the lobes of my ears.
John F. Di LeoOur Founders warned us that all republics have eventually fallen into tyranny -- the only difference being the relative timeline of each republic's descent. ... From the summer of 1787 when our Framers deliberated over their magnificent Constitution, we have recognized that the clear statement and equal application of the Law is among the most critical duties of any government. If we allow ourselves to lose this, we may as well be back in ancient Rome, subject to the whim of every petty tyrant in the taxing bureau or the zoning board. For it doesn't matter whether the regulator's foot is shod in a jack boot or a Roman sandal; if he can hold you down with that boot upon your neck, then we are no longer in the America that our Founding Fathers intended for us.
John DickensonWho are a free people? Not those over whom government is exercised, but those who live under a government so constitutionally checked and controlled that proper provision is made against its being otherwise exercised.
John G. DiefenbakerI am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.
Benjamin DisraeliI repeat... that all power is a trust; that we are accountable for its exercise; that, from the people, and for the people, all springs, and all must exist.
Benjamin DisraeliDemagogues and agitators are very unpleasant, they are incidental to a free and constitutional country, and you must put up with these inconveniences or do without many important advantages.
Walter F. DoddOur whole political system rests on the distinction between constitutional and other laws. The former are the solemn principles laid down by the people in its ultimate sovereignty; the latter are regulations made by its representatives within the limits of their authority, and the courts can hold unauthorized and void any act which exceeds those limits. The courts can do this because they are maintaining against the legislature the fundamental principles which the people themselves have determined to support, and they can do it only so long as the people feel that the constitution is something more sacred and enduring than ordinary laws, something that derives its force from a higher authority.
Justice William O. DouglasThe First Amendment makes confidence in the common sense of our people and in the maturity of their judgment the great postulate of our democracy.
Justice William O. DouglasIt is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.
Justice William O. DouglasThe Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.
Justice William O. DouglasWe recognize the force of the argument that the effects of war under modern conditions may be felt in the economy for years and years, and that if the war power can be used in days of peace to treat all the wounds which war inflicts on our society, it may not only swallow up all other powers of Congress but largely obliterate the Ninth and the Tenth Amendments as well.
Justice William O. DouglasThe right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.
Justice William O. DouglasThe function of the prosecutor under the federal Constitution is not to tack as many skins of victims as possible against the wall. His function is to vindicate the rights of the people as expressed in the laws and give those accused of crime a fair trial.
Justice William O. DouglasThe framers of the constitution knew human nature as well as we do. They too had lived in dangerous days; they too knew the suffocating influence of orthodoxy and standardized thought. They weighed the compulsions for restrained speech and thought against the abuses of liberty. They chose liberty.
Justice William O. DouglasThe dominant purpose of the First Amendment was to prohibit the widespread practice of government suppression of embarrassing information.
Justice William O. DouglasIt is better, so the Fourth Amendment teaches us, that the guilty sometimes go free than the citizens be subject to easy arrest.
Justice William O. DouglasThe Fifth Amendment is an old friend and a good friend. It is one of the great landmarks in men’s struggle to be free of tyranny, to be decent and civilized.
William O. DouglasThe right to revolt has sources deep in our history.
William O. DouglasHeresy trials are foreign to our Constitution. Men may believe what they cannot prove. They may not be put to the proof of their religious doctrines or beliefs. Religious experiences which are as real as life to some may be incomprehensible to others.
William O. DouglasAmong the liberties of citizens that are guaranteed are ... the right to believe what one chooses, the right to differ from his neighbor, the right to pick and choose the political philosophy he likes best, the right to associate with whomever he chooses, the right to join groups he prefers ...
William O. DouglasThe First and Fourteenth Amendments say that Congress and the States shall make “no law” which abridges freedom of speech or of the press. In order to sanction a system of censorship I would have to say that “no law” does not mean what it says, that “no law” is qualified to mean “some” laws. I cannot take this step.
Frederick DouglassLiberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down.
Frederick DouglassInterpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the constitution is a Glorious Liberty Document!
John Foster DullesOf all the tasks of government, the most basic is to protect its citizens from violence.
Jimmy DuranteWhy doesn't everybody leave everybody else the hell alone?
Max EastmanThe real guarantee of freedom is an equilibrium of social forces in conflict, not the triumph of any one force.
Clint EastwoodAbuse of power isn't limited to bad guys in other nations. It happens in our own country if we’re not vigilant.
Dwight D. EisenhowerSo long as we govern our nation by the letter and spirit of the Bill of Rights, we can be sure that our nation will grow in strength and wisdom and freedom.
Dwight D. EisenhowerHere in America we are descended in spirit from revolutionaries and rebels -- men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine.
Dwight D. EisenhowerAny time we deny any citizen the full exercise of his constitutional rights, we are weakening our own claim to them.
Oliver EllsworthThe Thirteen States are Thirteen Sovereign bodies.
Richard A. EpsteinThe New Deal is inconsistent with the principles of limited government and with the constitutional provisions designed to secure that end.
Erik H. EriksonThe American feels too rich in his opportunities for free expression that he often no longer knows what he is free from. Neither does he know where he is not free; he does not recognize his native autocrats when he sees them.
Bergan EvansThe civilized man has a moral obligation to be skeptical, to demand the credentials of all statements that claim to be facts.
Edward EverettThe man who stands upon his own soil, who feels, by the laws of the land in which he lives,--by the laws of civilized nations,--he is the rightful and exclusive owner of the land which he tills, is, by the constitution of our nature, under a wholesome influence, not easily imbibed from any other source.
Dianne FeinsteinBanning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe.
Justice Stephen J. FieldHere I close my opinion. I could not say less in view of
questions of such gravity that go down to the very foundations of the government. If the
provisions of the Constitution can be set aside by an Act of Congress, where is the course
of usurpation to end? The present assault upon capital is but the beginning. It will be but
the stepping-stone to others, larger and more sweeping, till our political contests will
become a war of the poor against the rich; a war growing in intensity and bitterness.
First Amendment in the Bill of RightsCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Stanley FishDespite the apparent absoluteness of the First Amendment, there are any number of ways of getting around it, ways that are known to any student of law. In general, the strategy is to manipulate the distinction between speech and action which is at bottom a distinction between inconsequential and consequential behavior.
Steve ForbesThe Declaration of Independence, the words that launched our nation -- 1,300 words. The Bible, the word of God -- 773,000 words. The Tax Code, the words of politicians -- 7,000,000 words -- and growing!
Henry FordIt is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.
Sir John FortescueI should, indeed, prefer twenty men to escape death through mercy, than one innocent to be condemned unjustly.
Harry Emerson FosdickLiberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.
Jay FoxEvery attempt to gag the free expression of thought is an unsocial act against society. That is why judges and juries who try to enforce such laws make themselves ridiculous.
Felix FrankfurterThe requirement of “due process” is not a fairweather or timid assurance. It must be respected in periods of calm and in times of trouble; it protects aliens as well as citizens.
Felix FrankfurterOurs is an accusatorial and not an inquisitorial system – a system in which the state must establish guilt by evidence independently and freely secured and may not by coercion prove its charge against an accused out of his own mouth.
Judge David FranklandA statute intended to prevent unwarranted intrusions into a citizen’s privacy cannot be used as a shield for public officials who cannot assert a comparable right of privacy in their public duties. Such action impedes the free flow of information concerning public officials and violates the First Amendment right to gather such information. ... The [Illinois Eavesdropping Statute] includes conduct that is unrelated to the statute’s purpose and is not rationally related to the evil the legislation sought to prohibit. For example, a defendant recording his case in a courtroom has nothing to do with an intrusion into a citizen’s privacy but with distraction. ... The court finds the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute is unconstitutional on its face and as applied to the defendant as the statute is violative of substantive due process.
Benjamin FranklinDemocracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!
Benjamin FranklinWhen the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.
Benjamin FranklinOutside Independence Hall when
the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended,
Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin,
"Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?"
With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded,
"A republic, if you can keep it.
Benjamin FranklinWe must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
Benjamin FranklinHistory will also give Occasion to expatiate on the Advantage of Civil Orders and Constitutions, how Men and their Properties are protected by joining in Societies and establishing Government; their Industry encouraged and rewarded, Arts invented, and Life made more comfortable: The Advantages of Liberty, Mischiefs of Licentiousness, Benefits arising from good Laws and a due Execution of Justice, &c. Thus may the first Principles of sound Politicks be fix'd in the Minds of Youth.
Benjamin FranklinOur Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise that it will last; but in this world
nothing is certain but death and taxes.
Louis FreehAsk the American public if they want an FBI wiretap and they’ll say, “no.” If you ask them do they want a feature on their phone that helps the FBI find their missing child they’ll say, “Yes.”
French AphorismConstitutions are made of paper; Bayonets are made of steel.
Milton FriedmanThe most unresolved problem of the day is precisely the problem that concerned the founders of this nation: how to limit the scope and power of government. Tyranny, restrictions on human freedom, come primarily from governmental restrictions that we ourselves have set up.
James Anthony FroudeEnglish character and English freedom depend comparatively little on
the form which the Constitution assumes at Westminster. A centralised
democracy may be as tyrannical as an absolute monarch; and if the vigour
of the nation is to continue unimpaired, each individual, each family,
each district, must preserve as far as possible its independence, its
self-completeness, its powers and its privilege to manage its own
affairs and think its own thoughts.
Rick GaberThe United States was supposed to have a limited government because the founders knew government power attracts demagogues and despots as surely as horse manure attracts horseflies.
Rocco Galati19 terrorists in 6 weeks have been able to command 300 million North Americans to do away with the entirety of their civil liberties that took 700 years to advance from the Magna Carta onward. The terrorists have already won the political and ideological war with one terrorist act. It is mindboggling that we are that weak as a society.
John Kenneth GalbraithUnder the privilege of the First Amendment many, many ridiculous things are said.
Albert GallatinThe whole of the Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals... It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.
James A. GarfieldThe chief duty of the National Government in connection with the currency of the country is to coin money and declare its value. Grave doubts have been entertained whether Congress is authorized by the Constitution to make any form of paper money legal tender. The present issue of United States notes has been sustained by the necessities of war; but such paper should depend for its value and currency upon its convenience in use and its prompt redemption in coin at the will of the holder, and not upon its compulsory circulation. These notes are not money, but promises to pay money. If the holders demand it, the promise should be kept.
James A. GarfieldThe prosperity which now prevails is without parallel in our history. Fruitful seasons have done much to secure it, but they have not done all. The preservation of the public credit and the resumption of specie payments, so successfully attained by the Administration of my predecessors, have enabled our people to secure the blessings which the seasons brought.
James A. GarfieldThe chief duty of the National Government in connection with the currency of the country is to coin money and declare its value. Grave doubts have been entertained whether Congress is authorized by the Constitution to make any form of paper money legal tender. The present issue of United States notes has been sustained by the necessities of war; but such paper should depend for its value and currency upon its convenience in use and its prompt redemption in coin at the will of the holder, and not upon its compulsory circulation. These notes are not money, but promises to pay money. If the holders demand it, the promise should be kept.
James A. GarfieldThe refunding of the national debt at a lower rate of interest should be accomplished without compelling the withdrawal of the national-bank notes, and thus disturbing the business of the country.
James A. GarfieldBy the experience of commercial nations in all ages it has been found that gold and silver afford the only safe foundation for a monetary system. Confusion has recently been created by variations in the relative value of the two metals, but I confidently believe that arrangements can be made between the leading commercial nations which will secure the general use of both metals. Congress should provide that the compulsory coinage of silver now required by law may not disturb our monetary system by driving either metal out of circulation. If possible, such an adjustment should be made that the purchasing power of every coined dollar will be exactly equal to its debt-paying power in all the markets of the world.
Michael GartnerThere is no reason for anyone in this country, anyone except a police officer or a military person, to buy, to own, to have, to use a handgun. I used to think handguns could be controlled by laws about registration, by laws requiring waiting periods for purchasers, by laws making sellers check out the past of buyers. I now think the only way to control handgun use in this country is to prohibit the guns. And the only way to do that is to change the Constitution.
Jean GenetPower may be at the end of a gun, but sometimes it's also at the end of the shadow or the image of a gun.
Georgia, Declaration of RightsThe jury in all criminal cases, shall be the judges of the law and the facts.
Elbridge GerryMr. Gerry contended that (the power of the Federal government to purchase lands within states) might be made use of to enslave any particular State by buying up its territory, and that the strongholds proposed would be a means of awing the State into an undue obedience to the Genl. Government...thus after the word ‘purchased’ the words ‘by the consent of the Legislature of the State’ (was added to the Enclave Clause).
Elbridge GerryWhat, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. ...Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.
Edward GibbonWhenever the offence inspires less horror than the punishment, the rigour of penal law is obliged to give way to the common feelings of mankind.
William Branch Giles[It is not the purpose nor right of Congress] to attend to what generosity and humanity require, but to what the Constitution and their duty require.
Langdon GilkeyThe First Amendment is important not only to guarantee the rights of alternative religions and of nonreligious persons in society; it is also important in setting the only possible legal and social condition for the creative health of serious religion itself.
Sen. John GlennAmericans just want us to... not be concerned if they can be constitutionally justified... Why, if we had to do that we could not pass most of the laws we enact around here.
Hermann GoeringWhy of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Justice Arthur GoldbergIt is fundamental that the great powers of Congress to conduct
war and to regulate the Nation's foreign relations are subject to the
constitutional requirements of due process. The imperative necessity
for safeguarding these rights to procedural due process under the
gravest of emergencies has existed throughout our constitutional
history, for it is then, under the pressing exigencies of crisis, that
there is the greatest temptation to dispense with fundamental
constitutional guarantees which, it is feared, will inhibit
governmental action.
Barry GoldwaterI have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution ... or have failed their purpose ... or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should be attacked for neglecting my constituents' 'interests,' I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty, and in that cause I am doing the very best I can.
Barry GoldwaterHow did it happen? How did our national government grow from a servant with sharply limited powers into a master with virtually unlimited power? In part, we were swindled. There are occasions when we have elevated men and political parties to power that promised to restore limited government and then proceeded, after their election, to expand the activities of government. But let us be honest with ourselves. Broken promises are not the major causes of our trouble. Kept promises are. All too often we have put men in office who have suggested spending a little more on this, a little more on that, who have proposed a new welfare program, who have thought of another variety of 'security.' We have taken the bait, preferring to put off to another day the recapture of freedom and the restoration of our constitutional system. We have gone the way of many a democratic society that has lost its freedom by persuading itself that if 'the people' rule, all is well.
John GoodwinFreedom of conscience is a natural right, both antecedent and superior to all human laws and institutions whatever; a right which laws never gave and a right which laws can never take away.
Judge Joyce Hens GreenAlthough this nation unquestionably must take strong action under the leadership of the commander in chief to protect itself against enormous and unprecedented threats, that necessity cannot negate the existence of the most basic fundamental rights for which the people of this country have fought and died for well over two hundred years... In sum, there can be no question that the Fifth Amendment right asserted by the Guantanamo detainees in this litigation -- the right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law -- is one of the most fundamental rights recognized by the U.S. Constitution.
Judge Ron GreenburgThe right just doesn't exist. Clearly, the states no longer need protection from the federal government disarming their "well-regulated" militia. The Second Amendment no longer speaks to us. The Second Amendment has no modern day application. The Second Amendment is dead.
Alan GreenspanGold still represents the ultimate form of payment in the world.
Alan GreenspanIn the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. ... This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard.
G. Edward GriffinTo oppose corruption in government is the highest obligation of patriotism.
A. Whitney GriswoldBooks won’t stay banned. They won’t burn. Ideas won’t go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom.
Erwin N. GriswoldThe privilege against self-incrimination is one of the great landmarks in man's struggle to make himself civilized... The Fifth is a lone sure rock in time of storm ... a symbol of the ultimate moral sense of the community, upholding the best in us.
Erwin N. GriswoldThe right to be let alone is the underlying principle of the Constitution's Bill of Rights.
Lt. Col. James "Bo" Gritz (Ret)A spider web of 'patriots for profit', operating from the highest positions of special trust and confidence, have successfully circumvented our constitutional system in pursuit of a New World Order.
Frank HagueYou never hear about constitutional rights, free speech, and the free press. Every time I hear those words I say to myself, “That man is a Red, that man is a communist.” You never hear a real American talk like that.
Edison HainesWith every civil right there has to be a corresponding civil obligation.
Steven P. HalbrookIn recent years it has been suggested that the Second Amendment protects the "collective" right of states to maintain militias, while it does not protect the right of "the people" to keep and bear arms. If anyone entertained this notion in the period during which the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were debated and ratified, it remains one of the most closely guarded secrets of the eighteenth century, for no known writing surviving from the period between 1787 and 1791 states such a thesis.
Edwin Arthur HallBefore the advent of Hitler or Stalin, who took their power from the German and the Russian people, measures were thrust upon the free legislatures of those countries to deprive the people of the possession and use of firearms, so that they could not resist the encroachments of such diabolical and vitriolic state police organizations as the Gestapo, the Ogpu, and the Cheka. Just as sure as I am standing here today, you are going to see this measure followed by legislation, sponsored by the proponents of such encroachment upon the rights of the people, which will eventually deprive the people of their constitutional liberty which provides for the possession of firearms for the protection of their homes. I submit to you that it is a serious departure from constitutional government when we consider legislation of this type. I predict that within 6 months of this time there will be presented to this House a measure which will go a long way toward taking away forever the individual rights and liberties of citizens of this Nation by depriving the individual of the private ownership of firearms and the right to use weapons in the protection of his home, and thereby his country.
Alexander HamiltonIt may safely be received as an axiom in our political system, that
the state governments will in all possible contingencies afford complete
security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority.
Alexander HamiltonIf it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws.
Alexander Hamilton[A] limited Constitution ... can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing ... To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.
Alexander HamiltonIf the Constitution is adopted the Union will be in fact
and in theory an association of States of a Confederacy.
Alexander HamiltonThe interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is in fact, and must be, regarded by the judges as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought of course to be preferred; or in other words, the constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.
Alexander HamiltonWise politicians will be cautious about fettering the government
with restrictions that cannot be observed, because they know that
every break of the fundamental laws, though dictated by necessity,
impairs that sacred reverence which ought to be maintained in
the breast of rulers towards the constitution of a country.
Alexander HamiltonIf the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense...
Alexander HamiltonTo judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude,
that the fiery and destructive passions of war, reign in the human breast,
with much more powerful sway, than the mild and beneficent sentiments of peace;
and, that to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquility,
is to calculate on the weaker springs of the human character.
Alexander HamiltonBut as the plan of the [Constitutional] convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States.
Alexander HamiltonIf the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its
authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people,
whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have
formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the
Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.
Alexander HamiltonIn a free government, the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects.
Alexander HamiltonThe best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.
Alexander HamiltonNo legislative act contrary to the Constitution can be valid. To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy (agent) is greater than his principal; that the servant is above the master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people; that men, acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid. It is not to be supposed that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their will to that of their constituents. A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by judges as fundamental law. If there should happen to be a irreconcilable variance between the two, the Constitution is to be preferred to the statute.
Alexander HamiltonThe sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.
Alexander HamiltonThere is not a syllable in the plan under consideration which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution.
Alexander HamiltonEvery individual of the community at large has an equal right to the protection of government.
Alexander HamiltonThe President is to be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States. In this respect his authority would be nominally the same with that of the king of Great Britain, but in substance much inferior to it. It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the land and naval forces, as first general and admiral ... while that of the British king extends to the declaring of war and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies -- all which, by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature.
Judge Learned HandAnyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.
Judge Learned HandI often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon law and upon courts. These are false hopes, believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no courts to save it.
Judge Learned HandLiberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no Constitution, no court, can even do much to help it.
John Marshall HarlanIn view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.
Thom HartmannEvery culture and every religion of what we call the civilized world carries, in one form or another, a mythos or story about a time in the past or future when humans lived or will live in peace and harmony. Whether it's referred to as Valhalla or Eden, Shambala or 'A Thousand Years of Peace,' the Satya Yuga or Jannat, stories of past or coming times of paradise go hand-in-hand with hierarchical cultures. Such prophecies were clearly in the minds of America's Founders when they first discussed integrating Greek ideas of democracy, Roman notions of a republic, Masonic utopian ideals, and the Iroquois Federation's constitutionally organized egalitarian society, which was known to Jefferson, Washington, Adams, and Franklin. The creation of the United States of America brought into the world a dramatic new experiment in how people could live together in a modern state.
Friedrich August von HayekThe system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not.
Friedrich August von Hayek[I]t is not the source but the limitation of power which prevents it from being arbitrary.
Friedrich August von HayekThe ultimate decision about what is accepted as right and wrong will be made not by individual human wisdom but by the disappearance of the groups that have adhered to the "wrong" beliefs.
Friedrich August von HayekI am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich HegelWhat experience and history teach is this -- that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.
Robert A. HeinleinLimiting the freedom of news ‘just a little bit’ is in the same category within the classic example ‘a little bit pregnant.’
Patrick HenryI have the highest veneration of those Gentleman, -- but, Sir, give me leave to demand, what right had they to say, We, the People? My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask who authorized them to speak the language of, We, the People, instead of We, the States? States are the characteristics, and the soul of the confederation. If the States be not the agents of this compact, it must be one of great consolidated National Government of the people of all the States.
Patrick HenryGuard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect
every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will
preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force,
you are inevitably ruined.
Patrick HenryThe great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun.
Patrick HenryAre we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing
degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own
defence? Where is the difference between having our arms in our
own possession and under our own direction, and having them under
the management of Congress? If our defence be the_real_object of
having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more
propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?
Charlton HestonAs I have stood in the crosshairs of those who target Second Amendment freedoms, I've realized that firearms are not the only issue. No, it's much, much bigger than that. I've come to understand that a cultural war is raging across our land, in which, with Orwellian fervor, certain acceptable thoughts and speech are mandated.
Charlton HestonHere's my credo. There are no good guns, There are no bad guns. A gun in the hands of a bad man is a bad thing. Any gun in the hands of a good man is no threat to anyone, except bad people.
Toyotomi HideyoshiThe people of the various provinces are strictly forbidden to have in their possession any swords, bows, spears, firearms, or other types of arms. The possession of these elements makes difficult the collection of taxes and dues, and tends to permit uprising. Therefore, the heads of provinces, official agents, and deputies are ordered to collect all the weapons mentioned above and turn them over to the government.
Adolf HitlerThis year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilised nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!
William E. HockingWhere men cannot freely convey their thoughts to one another, no other liberty is secure.
Eric HofferAbsolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep. The taint inherent in absolute power is not its inhumanity but its anti-humanity.
John Holdren[U]nder the United States Constitution, effective population-control programs, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.
Frank E. HolmanThe president of the American Bar Association begins a nationwide tour, giving speeches on the dangers of Treaty Law: 'The doctrine that the treaty power is unlimited and omnipotent and may be used to OVERRIDE the Constitution and the Bill of Rights...is a doctrine of recent origin and largely derived from Missouri v. Holland.'
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country... Only the emergency that makes it immediately dangerous to leave the correction of evil counsels to time warrants making any exception to the sweeping command, 'Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech.'
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought -- not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment.
Sidney HookTo silence criticism is to silence freedom.
Edgar Watson HoweThe freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic government.
Mike HuckabeeI have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.
Justice Charles Evans HughesEmergency does not create power. Emergency does not increase granted power or remove or diminish the restrictions imposed upon power granted or reserved. The Constitution was adopted in a period of grave emergency. Its grants of power to the federal government and its limitations of the power of the States were determined in the light of emergency, and they are not altered by emergency.
Justice Charles Evans HughesOur institutions were not devised to bring about uniformity of opinion; if they had we might well abandon hope. It is important to remember, as has well been said, 'the essential characteristic of true liberty is that under its shelter many different types of life and character and opinion and belief can develop unmolested and unobstructed.'
Justice Charles Evans HughesThe Constitution is what the judges say it is.
Justice Charles Evans HughesThe liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets. These indeed have been historic weapons in the defense of liberty, as the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and others in our history abundantly attest.
Justice Charles Evans HughesThe greater the importance to safeguarding the community from incitements to the overthrow of our institutions by force and violence, the more imperative is the need to preserve the constitutional rights of free speech, free press and free assembly in order to maintain the opportunity for free political discussion.
Hubert H. HumphreyCertainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how
popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used and that definite
safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary
government, and one more safeguard against tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.
Julian HuxleyI believe the State exists for the development of individual lives,
not individuals for the development of the state.
Illinois Supreme CourtIt is precisely for the protection of the minority that constitutional limitations exist. Majorities need no such protection. They can take care of themselves.
Robert G. IngersollGive to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.
Molly IvinsIt is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.
Andrew JacksonIt is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes.
Andrew JacksonIf Congress has the right under the Constitution to issue paper money, it was given to be used by themselves, not to be delegated to individuals or corporations.
Justice Robert H. JacksonThe priceless heritage of our society is the
unrestricted constitutional right of each member to think
as he will. Thought control is a copyright of totalitarianism,
and we have no claim to it.
Justice Robert H. JacksonWe are not final because we are infallible, but infallible only because we are final.
Justice Robert H. JacksonThe choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.
Justice Robert H. JacksonIf there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.
Justice Robert H. JacksonParticularly when the war power is invoked to do things to the liberties of people, or to their property or economy that only indirectly affect conduct of the war and do not relate to the engagement of the war itself, the constitutional basis should be scrutinized with care. ... I would not be willing to hold that war powers may be indefinitely prolonged merely by keeping legally alive a state of war that had in fact ended. I cannot accept the argument that war powers last as long as the effects and consequences of war for if so they are permanent -- as permanent as the war debts.
Justice Robert H. JacksonThe day that this country ceases to be free for irreligion, it will cease to be free for religion.
Justice Robert H. JacksonIt is not the function of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.
Justice Robert H. JacksonThe very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.
Justice Robert H. Jackson[T]he arguments that have been addressed to us lead me to utter more explicit misgivings about war powers than the Court has done. The Government asserts no constitutional basis for this legislation other than this vague, undefined and undefinable 'war power.' No one will question that this power is the most dangerous one to free government in the whole catalogue of powers. It is usually invoked in haste and excitement, when calm legislative consideration of constitutional limitation is difficult. It is executed in a time of patriotic fervor that makes moderation unpopular. And, worst of all, it is interpreted by judges under the influence of the same passions and pressures. Always, as in this case, the Government urges hasty decision to forestall some emergency or serve some purpose and pleads that paralysis will result if its claims to power are denied or their confirmation delayed.
Thomas J. JacksonThe patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.
Jeff JacobyThe First Amendment says nothing about a right not to be offended.
The risk of finding someone else's speech offensive
is the price each of us pays for our own free speech.
Free people don't run to court -- or to the principal --
when they encounter a message they don't like.
They answer it with one of their own.
Susan JacobyToo many Americans have twisted the sensible right to pursue happiness into the delusion that we are entitled to a guarantee of happiness. If we don't get exactly what we want, we assume someone must be violating our rights. We're no longer willing to write off some of life's disappointments to simple bad luck.
John JayThe people who own the country ought to govern it.
Thomas JeffersonBut with respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years.
Thomas JeffersonA wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement.
Thomas JeffersonOn every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.
Thomas JeffersonYou seem ... to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.... Their power [is] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.
Thomas JeffersonI consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people' (10th Amendment). To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible to any definition.
Thomas JeffersonFor the power given to Congress by the Constitution does not extend to the internal regulation of the commerce of a State (that is to say, of the commerce between citizen and citizen,) which remain exclusively with its own legislature; but to its external commerce only, that is to say, its commerce with another State, or with foreign nations, or with the Indian tribes.
Thomas JeffersonIf a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
Thomas JeffersonI will now tell you what I do not like. First, the omission of a bill of rights, providing clearly, and without the aid of sophism, for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction of monopolies, the eternal and unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land, and not by the laws of nations. ... Let me add that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.
Thomas Jefferson[N]othing in the Constitution has given [the judiciary] a right to decide for the Executive, more than to the executive to decide for them. Both magistracies are equally independent in the sphere of action assigned to them… the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional, and what are not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature & Executive also, in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch.
Thomas JeffersonThe several states composing the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes [and] delegated to that government certain definite powers and whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force. To this compact each state acceded as a state, and is an integral party, its co-states forming, as to itself, the other party. The government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution the measure of its powers.
Thomas JeffersonTo take from one because it is thought that his own industry and
that of his father's has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association -- the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.
Thomas JeffersonThe way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions in which he is competent ...
It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the administration of everyman's farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best.
Thomas JeffersonYou seem ... to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy... The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal.
Thomas JeffersonI am for a government rigorously frugal and simple. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, when to reap, we should soon want bread.
Thomas JeffersonI consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that 'all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are preserved to the states or to the people.' ... To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition. The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill (chartering the first Bank of the United States), have not, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution.
Thomas JeffersonMay [the Declaration of Independence] be to the world, what I believe it will be (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all), the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man.
Thomas JeffersonAn elective despotism was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on true free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among general bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.
Thomas JeffersonThe constitutions of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property and freedom of the press.
Thomas JeffersonBear 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.
Thomas JeffersonThe two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.
Thomas JeffersonBelieving with you that religion is a matter which lies solely
between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for
his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government
reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign
reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that
their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus
building a wall of separation between church and State.
Thomas JeffersonWith respect to the new Government, nine or ten States will probably have accepted by the end of this month. The others may oppose it. Virginia, I think, will be of this number. Besides other objections of less moment, she [Virginia] will insist on annexing a bill of rights to the new Constitution, i.e. a bill wherein the Government shall declare that, 1. Religion shall be free; 2. Printing presses free; 3. Trials by jury preserved in all cases; 4. No monopolies in commerce; 5. No standing army. Upon receiving this bill of rights, she will probably depart from her other objections; and this bill is so much to the interest of all the States, that I presume they will offer it, and thus our Constitution be amended, and our Union closed by the end of the present year.
Thomas JeffersonExperience has already shown that the impeachment the Constitution has provided is not even a scarecrow.
Thomas JeffersonThe true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the States are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign affairs. Let the General Government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our General Government may be reduced to a very simple organization, and a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants.
Thomas JeffersonThe legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
Thomas JeffersonThe judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric. They are construing our constitution from a coordination of a general and special government to a general and supreme one alone. This will lay all things at their feet... We shall see if they are bold enough to take the daring stride their five lawyers have lately taken. If they do, then... I will say, that 'against this every man should raise his voice,' and more, should uplift his arm.
Thomas JeffersonWhy suspend the habeas corpus in insurrections and rebellions?
Examine the history of England. See how few of the cases of the
suspension of the habeas corpus law have been worthy of that
suspension. They have been either real treasons, wherein the parties
might as well have been charged at once, or sham plots, where it was
shameful they should ever have been suspected. Yet for the few cases
wherein the suspension of the habeas corpus has done real good, that
operation is now become habitual and the minds of the nation almost
prepared to live under its constant suspension.
Thomas JeffersonCongress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.
Thomas JeffersonEvery government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.
Thomas JeffersonThe system of banking we have both equally and ever reprobated. I contemplate it as a blot left in all our constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction, which is already hit by the gamblers in corruption, and is sweeping away in its progress the fortunes and morals of our citizens. Funding I consider as limited, rightfully, to a redemption of the debt within the lives of a majority of the generation contracting it; every generation coming equally, by the laws of the Creator of the world, to the free possession of the earth he made for their subsistence, unincumbered by their predecessors, who, like them, were but tenants for life.
Thomas JeffersonI do believe that General Washington had not a firm confidence in the durability of our government. He was naturally distrustful of men, and inclined to gloomy apprehensions; and I was ever persuaded that a belief that we must at length end in something like a British constitution, had some weight in his adoption of the ceremonies of levees, birthdays, pompous meetings with Congress, and other forms of the same character, calculated to prepare us gradually for a change which he believed possible, and to let it come on with as little shock as might be to the public mind.
Thomas JeffersonLaws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.
Thomas JeffersonAn individual, thinking himself injured, makes more noise than a State.
Thomas JeffersonThat this privilege of giving or of withholding our monies is an important
barrier against the undue exertion of prerogative, which
if left altogether without control may be exercised to our great oppression;
and all history shews how efficacious is its intercession
for redress of grievances and re-establishment of rights,
and how improvident would be the surrender of so powerful a mediator
Thomas JeffersonA government is republican in proportion as every member composing it has his equal voice in the direction of its concerns, not indeed in person, which would be impracticable beyond the limits of a city or small township, but by representatives chosen by himself and responsible to him at short periods.
Thomas JeffersonI consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet devised by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.
Thomas JeffersonWe hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable, that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Thomas JeffersonThe bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it's protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word 'Jesus Christ,' so that it should read 'a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.' The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it's protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.
Thomas JeffersonThe happiness and prosperity of our citizens is the only legitimate object of government.
Thomas JeffersonI know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.
Thomas JeffersonThe system of banking [is] a blot left in all our Constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction... I sincerely believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity... is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
Thomas JeffersonOur civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.
Thomas JeffersonThe mobs of the great cities add just so much to the support of pure government as sores do to the strength of the human body. It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.
Thomas JeffersonA morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable.
Thomas JeffersonLet us, then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled, we have yet gained little if we counternance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of a bitter and bloody persecutions.
Thomas JeffersonTo lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, 'to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.' For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union.
Thomas JeffersonA bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should to rest on inference.
Thomas JeffersonIn questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.
Thomas JeffersonWe hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
Andrew JohnsonOutside of the Constitution we have no legal authority more than private citizens, and within it we have only so much as that instrument gives us. This broad principle limits all our functions and applies to all subjects.
Zachariah JohnsonThe people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.
Chief JosephLet me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself -- and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty.
Prof. Sanford H. KadishIt seems as if the Department [of Justice] sees the value of the Bill of Rights as no more than obstacles to be overcome.
John KaplanDrug offenses ... may be regarded as the prototypes of non-victim crimes today. The private nature of the sale and use of these drugs has led the police to resort to methods of detection and surveillance that intrude upon our privacy, including illegal search, eavesdropping, and entrapment.
Indeed, the successful prosecution of such cases often requires police infringement of the constitutional protections that safeguard the privacy of individuals.
Irving KaufmanSimply according artistic works the same protection as nonartistic works may not be sufficient to protect creativity. After all, the very essence of artistic expression is invention and artists necessarily draw on their own experience. But if the rules of liability are unclear, artists will not be able to know how much disguise is sufficient to protect their claims from the claims of those who may see themselves in the portrayals.
Anthony KennedyThe First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is besides the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.
John F. KennedyIf we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution inevitable.
John F. KennedyI believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute -- where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishoners for whom to vote -- where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference -- and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
Mark KennedyAs part of the conversation with student leaders, we talked about the concept of Zero Tolerance. While I appreciate the desire for such a policy, it is unachievable under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The challenge we all face is to find the balance between wanting to eliminate expressions of racism and bigotry and supporting the free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. If we value freedom of speech, we must acknowledge that some may find the expressions of others unwelcome, painful, or even, offensive. We can, however, speak out and condemn such expressions, and we can work to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment.
Kentucky Declaration of Rights - Art. I, Sec. 2Absolute, arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.
Kentucky Supreme CourtBut to be in conflict with the constitution, it is not essential that the act should contain a prohibition against bearing arms in every possible form—it is the right to bear arms in defence of the citizens and the state, that is secured by the constitution, and whatever restrains the full and complete exercise of that right, though not an entire destruction of it, is forbidden by the explicit language of the constitution. If, therefore, the act in question imposes any restraint on the right, immaterial what appellation may be given to the act, whether it be an act regulating the manner of bearing arms or any other, the consequence, in reference to the constitution, is precisely the same, and its collision with that instrument equally obvious. ... The right existed at the adoption of the constitution; it had then no limits short of the moral power of the citizens to exercise it, and it in fact consisted in nothing else but in the liberty of the citizens to bear arms. Diminish that liberty, therefore, and you necessarily restrain the right; ... For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing [of] concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former is unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise.
Kingsley v. MerrilA long and uniform sanction by law revisers and lawmakers, of a legislative assertion and exercise of power, is entitled to a great weight in construing an ambiguous or doubtful provision, but is entitled to no weight if the statute in question is in conflict with the plain meaning of the constitutional provision.
Russell KirkThe aim of any good constitution is to achieve in a society a high degree of political harmony, so that order and justice and freedom may be maintained.
Henry KissingerThe illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.
Henry KissingerToday Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government.
Milton KonvitzThe invaluable and the valueless, the noble and the tawdry, the beautiful and the ugly, the true and the false, the good and the evil, are equally protected by the First and the Fourteenth Amendments’ guarantees of a free press and religious freedom.
David C. KortenThus corporations finally claimed the full rights enjoyed by individual citizens while being exempted from many of the responsibilities and liabilities of citizenship. Furthermore, in being guaranteed the same right to free speech as individual citizens, they achieved, in the words of Paul Hawken, 'precisely what the Bill of Rights was intended to prevent: domination of public thought and discourse.' The subsequent claim by corporations that they have the same right as any individual to influence the government in their own interest pits the individual citizen against the vast financial and communications resources of the corporation and mocks the constitutional intent that all citizens have an equal voice in the political debates surrounding important issues.
Judge Alex KozinskiThe Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.
Judge Alex Kozinski[Y]ou wonder why anyone would make the
mistake of calling it the Commerce Clause
instead of the 'Hey, you -can-do-whatever-you-feel-like Clause?'
Prince Peter KropotkinFreedom of the press, freedom of association, the inviolability of domicile, and all the rest of the rights of man are respected so long as no one tries to use them against the privileged class. On the day they are launched against the privileged they are overthrown.
Raymond KuThe central premise of constitutional governance is that 'We the people' have the power and the right to alter or abolish the form of government under which we live.
Robert M. Lafollette, Sr.Let no man think we can deny civil liberty to others and retain it for ourselves. When zealous agents of the Government arrest suspected “radicals” without warrant, hold them without prompt trial, deny them access to counsel and admission of bail....we have shorn the Bill of Rights of its sanctity...
Robert M. Lafollette, Sr.The principle of free speech is no new doctrine born of the Constitution of the United States. It is a heritage of English-speaking peoples, which has been won by incalculable sacrifice, and which they must preserve so long as they hope to live as free men.
Rose Wilder LaneNothing whatever but the constitutional law, the political
structure, of these United States protects any American from
arbitrary seizure of his property and his person, from the
Gestapo and the Storm Troops, from the concentration camp, the
torture chamber, the revolver at the back of his neck in a
cellar.
William LangerHaving so pledged myself, and having been elected to my senatorship upon such pledge, and not having been elected to create an organization to which we would give a promise, either express or implied, that it would have the authority to send our boys all over the Earth, I cannot support the Charter. I believe it is fraught with danger to the American people and to American institutions.
John Lansing, Jr.All free constitutions are formed with two views -- to deter the governed from crime, and the governors from tyranny.
Richard Henry LeeIt must never be forgotten...that the liberties of the people are not so safe under the gracious manner of government as by the limitation of power.
Richard Henry LeeThe constitution ought to secure a genuine militia and guard against a select militia. .... all regulations tending to render this general militia useless and defenseless, by establishing select corps of militia, or distinct bodies of military men, not having permanent interests and attachments to the community ought to be avoided.
Richard Henry LeeTo preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.
Vladimir Ilyich LeninA system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie.
Vladimir Ilyich LeninOnly an armed people can be the real bulwark of popular liberty.
Vladimir Ilyich LeninAll our lives we fought against exalting the individual, against the elevation of the single person, and long ago we were over and done with the business of a hero, and here it comes up again: the glorification of one personality. This is not good at all.
Jay LenoDid you hear that we're writing Iraq's new Constitution?
Why not just give them ours? We're not using it anymore.
William LenoirWe are told there is no cause to fear.  When we consider the great powers of Congress, there is great cause of alarm.  They can disarm the militia.  If they were armed, they would be a resource against great oppressions.  The laws of a great empire are difficult to be executed.  If the laws of the union were oppressive, they could not carry them into effect, if the people were possessed of the proper means of defence.
Robert A. LevyThe fundamental principle is this: No matter how worthwhile an end may be, if there is no constitutional authority to pursue it, then the federal government must step aside and leave the matter to the states or to private parties. The president and Congress can proceed only from constitutional authority, not from good intentions alone. If Congress thinks it necessary to expand its powers, the Framers crafted an amendment process for that purpose. But too often, rather than follow that process, Congress has disregarded the limits set by the Constitution and gutted our frontline defense against overweening federal government.
A. J. LieblingFreedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.
Abraham LincolnA prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.
Abraham Lincoln[I]f the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.
Abraham LincolnThis country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their Constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.
Abraham LincolnLet it [the Constitution] be taught in schools, seminaries and in colleges; let it be written in primers, in spelling books and in almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, enforced in courts of justice. In short, let it become the political religion of the nation.
Abraham LincolnMy paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.
Abraham LincolnThat this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Abraham LincolnIf by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution.
Abraham LincolnThe people are the masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who
would pervert it!
Abraham LincolnI have never had a feeling, politically, that did not spring from ... the Declaration of Independence ... that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence ... I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it.
Judge Kermit Victor LipezThe First Amendment issue here is, as the parties frame it, fairly narrow: is there a constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public? Basic First Amendment principles, along with case law from this and other circuits, answer that question unambiguously in the affirmative.
Walter LippmannIn a democracy, the opposition is not only tolerated as constitutional, but must be maintained because it is indispensable.
Walter LippmannPrivate property was the original source of freedom. It still is its main bulwark.
Walter LippmannA free press is not a privilege but an organic necessity in a great society.
Walter LippmannThe Bill of Rights does not come from the people and is not subject to change by majorities. It comes from the nature of things. It declares the inalienable rights of man not only against all government but also against the people collectively.
Walter LippmannVery few established institutions, governments and constitutions...are ever destroyed by their enemies until they have been corrupted and weakened by their friends.
Walter LippmannWe must protect the right of our opponents to speak because we must hear what they have to say.
John LockeGovernment has no other end than the preservation of property.
John LockeWhere there is no law there is no freedom.
John LockeThe power of the legislative being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.
Timothy LynchCivil libertarians must often remind government officials (and others) that if the First Amendment only protected the expression of popular and agreeable ideas, it would be totally unnecessary since those ideas would never be threatened by our democratic form of government. Our society's commitment to free speech is tested when we encounter the expression of ideas that are disagreeable -- or even offensive.
General Douglas MacArthurThe object and practice of liberty lies in the limitation of government power.
James MadisonI acknowledge, in the ordinary course of government, that the exposition of the laws and Constitution devolves upon the judicial. But I beg to know upon what principle it can be contended that any one department draws from the Constitution greater powers than another in marking out the limits of the powers of the several departments.
James MadisonWe hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, that religion, or the duty we owe our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence. The religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right.
James MadisonLandholders ought to have a share in the government to support these invaluable interests and check the other many. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.
James MadisonSince the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
James MadisonThe highest number to which a standing army can be carried in any country does not exceed one hundredth part of the souls, or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms.  This portion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. ... Besides the advantage of being armed, ... the existence of subordinate governments ... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. ... [The governments of Europe] are afraid to trust the people with arms. ... Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors.
James MadisonIt is very certain that [the commerce clause] grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the non-importing, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government.
James MadisonThe internal effects of a mutable policy are [...] calamitous. It poisons the blessings of liberty itself. It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow.
James MadisonMay it not be asked of every intelligent friend to the liberties of his country, whether the power exercised in such an act as this ought not to produce great and universal alarm? Whether a rigid execution of such an act, in time past, would not have repressed that information and communication among the people which is indispensable to the just exercise of their electoral rights? And whether such an act, if made perpetual, and enforced with rigor, would not, in time to come, either destroy our free system of government, or prepare a convulsion that might prove equally fatal to it?
James MadisonThe aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.
James MadisonThe powers properly belonging to one of the departments ought not to be directly and completely administered by either of the other departments. It is equally evident, that none of them ought to possess, directly or indirectly, an overruling influence over the others, in the administration of their respective powers. It will not be denied, that power is of an encroaching nature, and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.
James Madison[A]ll power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people. That government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty and the right of acquiring property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their government whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purpose of its institution.
James MadisonOn the distinctive principles of the Government ...
of the U. States, the best guides are to be found in ...
The Declaration of Independence,
as the fundamental Act of Union of these States.
James MadisonDemocracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death.
James MadisonAmericans need never fear their government because of the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.
James Madison... large and permanent military establishments ... are forbidden by the principles of free government, and against the necessity of which the militia were meant to be a constitutional bulwark.
James MadisonThe right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed;
a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country;
but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms
shall be compelled to render military service in person.
James MadisonThe powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in
the State governments are numerous and indefinite.
James MadisonEach State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution
James MadisonIn framing a government, which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.
James MadisonAn efficient militia is authorized and contemplated by the Constitution and required by the spirit and safety of free government.
James MadisonBecause finally, 'the equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his religion according to the dictates of conscience' is held by the same tenure with all his other rights. If we recur to its origin, it is equally the gift of nature; if we weigh its importance, it cannot be less dear to us; if we consider the 'Declaration of those rights which pertain to the good people of Virginia, as the basis and foundation of government,' it is enumerated with equal solemnity, or rather studied emphasis.
James MadisonIt is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.
James MadisonWith respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.
James MadisonThe essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
James MadisonThe Constitution supposes, what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of government most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the legislature.
James MadisonDo not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.
James MadisonI cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.
James MadisonThe powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce.
James MadisonThe people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.
Bill MaherWe have the Bill of Rights. What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities.
Joyce Lee MalcolmIt was during the eighteenth century -- a period of boastful satisfaction with the nice balances within the English constitution -- that Englishmen came to accept the Whig view of the utility of an armed citizenry. The armed citizen was not only affirmed to be protecting himself but, together with his fellows, provided the ultimate check on tyranny.
Dumas MaloneThe fact that we became a nation and immediately separated church and state -- it has saved us from all the misery that has beset mankind with inquisitions, internecine and civil wars, and other assorted ills.
Marbury vs. MadisonAll laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.
John MarshallIt is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must, of necessity, expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the Courts must decide on the operation of each. So, if a law be in opposition to the Constitution, if both the law and the Constitution apply to a particular case, so that the Court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the Constitution, or conformably to the Constitution, disregarding the law, the Court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is of the very essence of judicial duty. If, then, the Courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the Legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.
John MarshallThe province of the Court is solely to decide on the rights of individuals... . Questions, in their nature political or which are, by the Constitution and laws, submitted to the Executive, can never be made in this court.
Justice John MarshallA legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law.
Justice John MarshallState inspection laws, health laws, and laws for regulating the internal commerce of a State, and those which respect turnpike roads, ferries, &c. are not within the power granted to Congress. ...
Inspection laws, quarantine laws, health laws of every description, as well as laws for regulating the internal commerce of a State, and those which respect turnpike roads, ferries, &c., are component parts of this mass.
No direct general power over these objects is granted to Congress, and, consequently, they remain subject to State legislation.
Justice John MarshallThis government is acknowledged by all, to be one of enumerated powers.
Justice Thurgood MarshallIf the First Amendment means anything,
it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house,
what books he may read or what films he may watch.
Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought
of giving government the power to control men's minds.
Luther MartinBy the power to lay and collect imposts Congress may impose duties on any or every article of commerce imported into these states to what amount they please. By the power to lay excises, a power very odious in its nature, since it authorizes officers to examine into your private concerns, the Congress may impose duties on every article of use or consumption: On the food that we eat, on the liquors we drink, on the clothes that we wear, the glass which enlighten our houses, or the hearths necessary for our warmth and comfort. By the power to lay and collect taxes, they may proceed to direct taxation on every individual either by a capitation tax on their heads or an assessment on their property. By this part of the section, therefore, the government has a power to tax to what amount they choose and thus to sluice the people at every vein as long as they have a drop of blood left.
George MasonAll men are created equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing the obtaining of happiness and safety.
George MasonNow all acts of legislature apparently contrary to natural right and justice, are, in our laws, and must be in the nature of things, considered as void. The laws of nature are the laws of God: A legislature must not obstruct our obedience to him from whose punishments they cannot protect us. All human constitutions which contradict His laws, we are in conscience bound to disobey. Such have been the adjudications of our courts of justice.
Massachusetts Bill of RightsA frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the constitution, and a constant adherence to those of piety, justice, moderation, temperance, industry and frugality, are absolutely necessary to preserve the advantages of liberty, and to maintain a free government.
Massachusetts Declaration of RightsThe liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state; it ought not, therefore, to be restricted in this commonwealth.
G. D. McDanielIf, as it appears, the experiment that was called 'America' is at an end ... then perhaps a fitting epitaph would be ... 'here lies America the greatest nation that might have been had it not been for the Edomite bankers who first stole their money, used their stolen money to buy their politicians and press and lastly deprived them of their constitutional freedom by the most evil device yet created --- The Federal Reserve Banking System.'
Neil A. McDonaldWhatever the immediate gains and losses, the dangers to our safety arising from political suppression are always greater than the dangers to the safety resulting from political freedom. Suppression is always foolish.
Louis McFaddenWhat is needed here is a return to the Constitution of the United States. We need to have a complete divorce of Bank and State. The old struggle that was fought out here in Jackson's day must be fought over again... The Federal Reserve Act should be repealed and the Federal Reserve Banks, having violated their charters, should be liquidated immediately. Faithless Government officers who have violated their oaths of office should be impeached and brought to trial. Unless this is done by us, I predict that the American people, outraged, robbed, pillaged, insulted, and betrayed as they are in their own land, will rise in their wrath and send a President here who will sweep the money changers out of the temple.
Justice John McLeanThat distinct sovereignties could exist under one government, emanating from the same people, was a phenomenon in the political world, which the wisest statesmen in Europe could not comprehend; and of its practicability many in our own country entertained the most serious doubts. Thus far the friends of liberty have had great cause of triumph in the success of the principles upon which our government rests. But all must admit that the purity and permanency of this system depend on its faithful administration. The states and the federal government have their respective orbits, within which each must revolve. If either cross the sphere of the other, the harmony of the system is destroyed, and its strength is impaired. It would be as gross usurpation on the part of the federal government, to interfere with state rights, by an exercise of powers not delegated; as it would be for a state to interpose its authority against a law of the union.
Justice John McLeanAll questions of power, arising under the constitution of the United States, whether they relate to the federal or a state government, must be considered of great importance. The federal government being formed for certain purposes, is limited in its powers, and can in no case exercise authority where the power has not been delegated. The states are sovereign; with the exception of certain powers, which have been invested in the general government, and inhibited to the states. No state can coin money, emit bills of credit, pass ex post facto laws, or laws impairing the obligation of contracts, &c. If any state violate a provision of the constitution, or be charged with such violation to the injury of private rights, the question is made before this tribunal; to whom all such questions, under the constitution, of right belong. In such a case, this court is to the state, what its own supreme court would be, where the constitutionality of a law was questioned under the constitution of the state. And within the delegation of power, the decision of this court is as final and conclusive on the state, as would be the decision of its own court in the case stated.
James MeachamAt the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, not any one sect. Any attempt to level and discard all religion would have been viewed with universal indignation.
H. L. MenckenThe only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it's good-bye to the Bill of Rights.
H. L. MenckenI believe there is a limit beyond which free speech cannot go, but it's a limit that's very seldom mentioned. It's the point where free speech begins to collide with the right to privacy. I don't think there are any other conditions to free speech. I've got a right to say and believe anything I please, but I haven't got a right to press it on anybody else. .... Nobody's got a right to be a nuisance to his neighbors.
H. L. MenckenThe Gettysburg speech was at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history...the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous. But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination -- that government of the people, by the people, for the people, should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves.
H. L. Mencken[T]he only thing wrong with Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was that it was the South, not the North, that was fighting for a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
Howard MetzenbaumWhat good does it do to ban some guns. All guns should be banned.
John MiltonGive me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
John MiltonHere the great art lies, to discern in what the law is to be to restraint and punishment, and in what things persuasion only is to work.
Jessica MitfordWhen is conduct a crime, and when is a crime not a crime? When Somebody Up There -- a monarch, a dictator, a Pope, a legislator -- so decrees.
James MonroeLet us by wise and constitutional measures promote intelligence among the people as the best means of preserving our liberties.
Houston v. MooreSitting here, we are not at liberty to add one jot of power to the national government beyond what the people have granted by the constitution; and, on the other hand, we are bound to support that constitution as it stands, and to give a fair and rational scope to all the powers which it clearly contains.
Samuel Eliot MorisonIf the American Revolution had produced nothing but the Declaration of Independence, it would have been worthwhile.
Norval MorrisThe prime function of the criminal law is to protect our persons and our property; these purposes are now engulfed in a mass of other distracting, inefficiently performed, legislative duties. When the criminal law invades the spheres of private morality and social welfare, it exceeds its proper limits at the cost of neglecting its primary tasks. This unwarranted extension is expensive, ineffective, and criminogenic.
Mugler v. KansasThe courts are not bound by mere forms, nor are they to be misled by mere pretences. They are at liberty — indeed, are under a solemn duty — to look at the substance of things, whenever they enter upon the inquiry whether the legislature has transcended the limits of its authority. If therefore, a statute purporting to have been enacted to protect the public health, the public morals, or the public safety, has no real or substantial relation to those objects, or is a palpable invasion of rights secured by the fundamental law, it is the duty of the courts to so adjudge, and thereby give effect to the Constitution.
Russell MunkFederal Reserve Notes Are Not Dollars.
Edward R. MurrowWe must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were, for the moment, unpopular.
Lyle MyhrWhen they took the 4th Amendment, I was quiet because I didn't deal drugs. When they took the 6th Amendment, I was quiet because I am innocent. When they took the 2nd Amendment, I was quiet because I don't own a gun. Now they have taken the 1st Amendment, and I can only be quiet.
National Press ClubIn Defense Of Freedom ... (more)
Huey P. NewtonBefore 1776 America was a British colony. The British Government had certain laws and rules that the colonized Americans rejected as not being in their best interests. In spite of the British conviction that Americans had no right to establish their own laws to promote the general welfare of the people living here in America, the colonized immigrant felt he had no choice but to raise the gun to defend his welfare. Simultaneously he made certain laws to ensure his protection from external and internal aggressions, from other governments, and his own agencies. One such form of protection was the Declaration of Independence, which states: '... whenever any government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such forms as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.' Now these same colonized White people, these bondsmen, paupers, and thieves deny the colonized Black man not only the right to abolish this oppressive system, but to even speak of abolishing it.
Huey P. NewtonAny unarmed people are slaves, or are subject to slavery at any given moment. If the guns are taken out of the hands of the people and only the pigs have guns, then it's off to the concentration camps, the gas chambers, or whatever the fascists in America come up with. One of the democratic rights of the United States, the Second Amendment to the Constitution, gives the people the right to bear arms. However, there is a greater right; the right of human dignity that gives all men the right to defend themselves.
Richard M. NixonThe Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the legislature. [If a president is successful in bypassing the Congress] it is evident that the people are cheated out of the best ingredients in the government, the safeguards of peace which is the greatest of their blessings.
Lyn NofzigerThe reason this country continues its drift toward socialism and big nanny government is because too many people vote in the expectation of getting something for nothing, not because they have a concern for what is good for the country. A better educated electorate might change the reason many persons vote. If children were forced to learn about the Constitution, about how government works, about how this nation came into being, about taxes and about how government forever threatens the cause of liberty perhaps we wouldn't see so many foolish ideas coming out of the mouths of silly old men.
Norris v. BaltimoreWhere the meaning of the Constitution is clear and unambiguous, there can be no resort to construction to attribute to the founders a purpose or intent not manifest in its letter.
Eleanor Holmes NortonThe only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don’t agree with.
Norton vs. Shelby CountyAn unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.
P. J. O'RourkeThe three branches of government number considerably more than three and are not, in any sense, 'branches' since that would imply that there is something they are all attached to besides self-aggrandizement and our pocketbooks. ... Government is not a machine with parts; it's an organism. When does an intestine quit being an intestine and start becoming an asshole?
P. J. O'RourkeWhen a government controls both the economic power of individuals and the coercive power of the state ... this violates a fundamental rule of happy living: Never let the people with all the money and the people with all the guns be the same people.
Oath KeepersDeclaration of Orders We Will NOT Obey.

Recognizing that we each swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and affirming that we are guardians of the Republic, of the principles in our Declaration of Independence, and of the rights of our people, we affirm and declare the following:\\\\

1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.\\
2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people.\\
3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as "unlawful enemy combatants" or to subject them to military tribunal.\\
4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.\\
5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.\\
6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.\\
7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.\\
8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to "keep the peace" or to "maintain control."\\
9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.\\
10. We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.
Rev. Edmund A. OpitzNo one can read our Constitution without concluding that the
people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited;
the words 'no' and 'not' employed in restraint of government
power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the
Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights.
Rev. Edmund A. OpitzThere is a place for government in the affairs of men, and our Declaration of Independence tells us precisely what that place is. The role of government is to protect individuals in their God-given individual rights. Freedom is the natural birthright of man, but all that government can do in behalf of freedom is to let the individual alone, and it should secure him in his rights by making others let him alone.
Oregon ConstitutionIn all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law, and the facts under the direction of the Court as to the law, and the right of new trials as in civil cases.
Thomas PaineIt has been thought a considerable advance towards establishing the principles of Freedom, to say, that government is a compact between those who govern and those that are governed: but this cannot be true, because it is putting the effect before the cause; for as man must have existed before governments existed, there necessarily was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with. The fact therefore must be, that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.
Thomas PaineThe American constitutions were to liberty, what a grammar is to language: they define its parts of speech and practically construct them into syntax.
Thomas PaineA constitution defines and limits the powers of the government it creates. It therefore follows, as a natural and also a logical result, that the governmental exercise of any power not authorized by the constitution is an assumed power, and therefore illegal.
Thomas PaineA constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government; and government without a constitution is power without a right. All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must be either delegated, or assumed. There are not other sources. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of either.
Marie J. ParenteWhen you sit down to negotiate on what you already have, you lose.
Theophilus ParsonsBut, sir, the people themselves have it in their power effectually to resist usurpation, without being driven to an appeal of arms. An act of usurpation is not obligatory; it is not law; and any man may be justified in his resistance. Let him be considered as a criminal by the general government, yet only his fellow-citizens can convict him; they are his jury, and if they pronounce him innocent, not all the powers of Congress can hurt him; and innocent they certainly will pronounce him, if the supposed law he resisted was an act of usurpation.
William PatersonWhat is a Constitution? It is the form of government, delineated by the mighty hand of the people, in which certain first principles of fundamental law are established. The Constitution is certain and fixed; it contains the permanent will of the people, and is the supreme law of the land; it is paramount to the power of the Legislature, and can be revoked or altered only by the authority that made it.
Dr. Ron PaulUnder the constitution, there was never meant to be a federal police force. Even an FBI limited only to investigations was not accepted until this century. Yet today, fueled by the federal government’s misdirected war on drugs, radical environmentalism, and the aggressive behavior of the nanny state, we have witnessed the massive buildup of a virtual army of armed regulators prowling the States where they have no legal authority. The sacrifice of individual responsibility and the concept of local government by the majority of American citizens has permitted the army of bureaucrats to thrive.
Dr. Ron PaulThe moral and constitutional obligations of our representatives in Washington are to protect our liberty, not coddle the world, precipitating no-win wars, while bringing bankruptcy and economic turmoil to our people.
Shirley PetersonEight decades of amendments... to (the) code have produced a virtually impenetrable maze... The rules are unintelligible to most citizens... The rules are equally mysterious to many government employees who are charged with administering and enforcing the law.
Franklin PierceI cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity, ... [it] would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.
Roger Pilon[T]he vast regulatory structure the federal government has erected in the name of the commerce power cannot be ended overnight, in many cases, but the pretense that such programs are constitutional can be ended, even as the programs themselves are phased out over time.
Roger PilonUnder our Constitution, the federal government has delegated, enumerated and thus limited powers. Power is delegated by the founding generation or through subsequent amendment (that makes it legitimate); enumerated in the constitution (that makes it legal); and limited by that enumeration. As the 10th Amendment says, if a power hasn’t been delegated, the federal government doesn’t have it. For 150 years, that design held for the most part. When faced with a welfare bill in 1794, for example, James Madison, the principal author of the Constitution, rose in the House to say that he could find no constitutional authority for the bill. A century later, when Congress passed a similar measure, President Cleveland vetoed it as beyond Congress’ authority. That all changed during the New Deal as both congress and the president sought to expand federal power. When the Supreme court objected, rather than amend the Constitution, Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to pack the court with six additional members. The scheme failed, but the threat worked. Thereafter, the court started reading the Constitution’s General Welfare and Commerce Clauses so broadly that the doctrine of enumerated powers was essentially destroyed—and with it limited government.
Charles PinckneyThe legislature of the United States shall pass no law on the subject of religion nor touching or abridging the liberty of the press.
William PittThe poorest man may in his cottage, bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail, its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter; the rain may enter; but the King of England may not enter; all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement.
Daniel D. Polsby[A] public policy of simply discouraging people from owning or using firearms is not, in and of itself, a constitutionally permissible
objective, any more than discouraging people from religious observance would be permissible to some oh-so-progressive government
that considered religion as hopelessly declassé as progressives nowadays consider the right to keep and bear arms .... And any statute or regulation
that burdens the right to keep and bear arms on the ground that guns are a public health hazard should enjoy the same frosty reception in court that
would be given a statute or regulation that burdened the free exercise of religion as a mental hazard.
John Norton PomeroyThe object of this clause [the right of the people to keep and bear arms] is to secure a well-armed militia.... But a militia
would be useless unless the citizens were enabled to exercise themselves in the use of warlike weapons. To preserve this privilege, and to secure to
the people the ability to oppose themselves in military force against the usurpations of government, as well as against enemies from without, that
government is forbidden by any law or proceeding to invade or destroy the right to keep and bear arms.
Ezra PoundThe phase of the usury system which we are trying to analyze is more or less Patterson's perception that the Bank of England could have benefit of all the interest on all the money that it creates out of nothing. ... Now the American citizen can, of course, appeal to his constitution, which states that Congress shall have power to coin money or regulate the value thereof and of foreign coin. Such appeal is perhaps quixotic.
Ezra PoundSovereignty inheres in the right to issue money. And the American sovereignty belongs by right to the people, and their representatives in Congress have the right to issue money and to determine the value thereof. And 120 million, 120 million suckers have lamentably failed to insist on the observation of this quite decided law. ... Now the point at which embezzlement of the nation's funds on the part of her officers becomes treason can probably be decided only by jurists, and not by hand-picked judges who support illegality.
Ezra PoundThat text is known to them that have the patience to read it, possibly one one-hundredth of one percent of the denizens. They forget it, all save a few Western states. I think somebody in Dakota once read it. The Constitution.
L. A. Powe, Jr.The purpose of the Bill of Rights was to limit what the federal government could do. Any interpretation of a provision of the Bill of Rights as a grant of federal power is ipso facto wrong.
Ayn RandToday, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals -- that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government -- that it is not a charter _for_ government power, but a charter of the citizen's protection _against_ the government.
Edmund RandolphThe general object was to produce a cure for the evils under which the United States labored; that in tracing these evils to their origins, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.
Ronald ReaganOurs was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: 'We the people.' 'We the people' tell the government what to do, it doesn't tell us. 'We the people' are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world's constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which 'We the people' tell the government what it is allowed to do. 'We the people' are free. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I've tried to do these past eight years.
Ronald ReaganThe NRA believes America's laws were made to be obeyed and that
our Constitutional liberties are just as important today as 200 years ago.
And by the way, the Constitution does not say
Government shall decree the right to keep and bear arms.
The Constitution says 'The right of the people to keep and bear arms
shall not be infringed.'
Ronald ReaganNations crumble from within when the citizenry asks of government those things which the citizenry might better provide for itself. ... [I] hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.
Ronald ReaganThe federal government has taken too much tax money from the people, too much authority from the states, and too much liberty with the Constitution.
Ronald ReaganIt is not my intention to do away with government. It is, rather, to make it work -- work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it. It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. ... We shall reflect the compassion that is so much a part of your makeup. How can we love our country and not love our countrymen, and loving them, not reach out a hand when they fall, heal them when they are sick, and provide opportunities to make them self-sufficient so they will be equal in fact and not just in theory? ... We are a nation under God, and I believe God intended for us to be free. It would be fitting and good, I think, if on each Inauguration Day in future years it should be declared a day of prayer.
William H. RehnquistWe start with first principles. The Constitution creates a Federal Government of enumerated powers.
Robert ReichThe dirty little secret is that both houses of Congress are irrelevant. ... America's domestic policy is now being run by Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve, and America's foreign policy is now being run by the International Monetary Fund [IMF]. ...when the president decides to go to war, he no longer needs a declaration of war from Congress.
Janet RenoWaiting periods are only a step.
Registration is only a step.
The prohibition of private firearms is the goal.
Janet RenoGun registration is not enough.
Report of the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the JudiciaryThe conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.
Glenn Harlan ReynoldsThe purpose of the right to bear arms is twofold; to allow individuals to protect themselves and their families, and to ensure a body of armed citizenry from which a militia could be drawn, whether that militia’s role was to protect the nation, or to protect the people from a tyrannical government.
Rhode Island ConstitutionThe right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Rhode Island Declaration of Rights Article I, Section IThe constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all.
Riley v. CarterEconomic necessity cannot justify a disregard of cardinal constitutional guarantee.
Georges RipertWe continue to claim that nobody is supposed to ignore the law. But we must give some credit to those who know it.
Pat RobertsonI spent three years getting my law degree at Yale Law School. From the moment I enrolled, I was assigned huge, leather-bound editions of legal cases to study and discuss. I read what lawyers and judges, professors and historians said about the Constitution. But never once was I assigned the task of reading the Constitution itself...Over the last decade, however, I have become a student of the Constitution, searching each line for its meaning and intent. Studying the Constitution is like studying the Bible. It is amazing how much more you will learn when you quit studying about it and pick it up to read it for yourself.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.
Will RogersI bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him 'father'.
Will RogersInstead of giving money to found colleges to promote learning, why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as the Prohibition one did, why, in five years we would have the smartest race of people on earth!
Franklin D. RooseveltIf the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own. If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free. If in other lands the eternal truths of the past are threatened by intolerance, we must provide a safe place for their perception.
Franklin D. RooseveltI hope your committee will not permit doubts as to constitutionality, however reasonable, to block the suggested legislation.
Theodore RooseveltAll constitutions, those of the States no less than that of the nation, are designed, and must be interpreted and administered so as to fit human rights.
Theodore Roosevelt'Liar' is just as ugly a word as 'thief,' because it implies the presence of just as ugly a sin in one case as in the other. If a man lies under oath or procures the lie of another under oath, if he perjures himself or suborns perjury, he is guilty under the statute law.
Edward Alsworth RossDuring the last dozen years the tales of suppression of free assemblage, free press, and free speech, by local authorities or the State operating under martial law have been so numerous as to have become an old story. They are attacked at the instigation of an economically and socially powerful class, itself enjoying to the full the advantages of free communications, but bent on denying them to the class it holds within its power...
Clinton RossiterThe Americans of 1776 were among the first men in modern society to defend rather than to seek an open society and constitutional liberty.... Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic of this political theory sits in its deep-seated conservatism. However radical the principles of the Revolution may have seemed to the rest of the world, in the minds of the colonists they were thoroughly preservative and respectful of the past.
Clinton RossiterAlthough it had its share of strenuous Christians... the gathering at Philadelphia was largely made up of men in whom the old fires were under control or had even flickered out. Most were nominally members of one of the traditional churches in their part of the country.. and most were men who could take their religion or leave it alone. Although no one in this sober gathering would have dreamed of invoking the Goddess of Reason, neither would anyone have dared to proclaim his opinions had the support of the God of Abraham and Paul. The Convention of 1787 was highly rationalist and even secular in spirit.
Mayer Amschel RothschildGive me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws.
Edward G. RyanBlind submission to the Administration of the government is not devotion to the country or the Constitution. The administration is not the government.
Richard SalantIf newsmen do not tell the truth as they see it because it might make waves,
or if their bosses decide something should or should not be broadcast
because of Washington or Main Street consequences,
we have dishonored ourselves and we have lost the First Amendment by default.
Justice Antonin ScaliaNowhere else in the Constitution does a 'right' attributed to 'the people' refer to anything other than an individual right. What is more, in all six other provisions of the Constitution that mention 'the people,' the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset... The Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms... The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it ‘shall not be infringed.'
Justice Antonin ScaliaThere is nothing new in the realization that the Constitution sometimes insulates the criminality of a few in order to protect the privacy of us all.
Justice Antonin ScaliaAs long as judges tinker with the Constitution to ‘do what the people want,’ instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically.
Justice Antonin ScaliaThe Declaration of Independence, however, is not a legal prescription conferring powers upon the courts; and the Constitution's refusal to "deny or disparage" other rights is far removed from affirming any one of them, and even farther removed from authorizing judges to identify what they might be, and to enforce the judges' list against laws duly enacted by the people.
Justice Antonin ScaliaWe know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government -- even the Third Branch of Government -- the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad... Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.
Eric SchaubAmericans find it intolerable that one constitutional right should have to be surrendered in order to assert another. America is the land of the free and home of the brave -- we don't need a Patriot Act, because we are already patriots. We know freedom means responsibility, but I am not sure Congress and its domestic enforcement agencies do. More often than not, new security measures enacted by the government have resulted in more violations of the citizenry than terrorists have ever done. The terrorists want us to be afraid -- well, we are not afraid. Stop wasting dollars on this program -- it is not good for America. To give up essential liberty for a little security provides neither. The right to be left alone from government intrusion is the beginning of all freedoms.
Eric SchaubOur inalienable rights cannot shield us from our own follies.
Eric SchaubThe 'strength' of the People becomes weak when we don't 'exercise' our rights.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.For most Americans the Constitution had become a hazy document, cited like the Bible on ceremonial occasions
but forgotten in the daily transactions of life.
Dr. Laura SchlessingerThe Declaration of Independence...is not a legal prescription conferring powers upon the courts; and the Constitution's refusal to 'deny or disparage' other rights is far removed from affirming any one of them, and even farther removed from authorizing judges to identify what they might be, and to enforce the judges' list against laws duly enacted by the people.
J. Neil SchulmanGun control advocates need to realize that passing laws that honest gun owners will not obey is a self-defeating strategy. Gun
owners are not about to surrender their rights, and only the most foolish of politicians would risk the stability of the government by trying to use the
force of the state to disarm the people.
Bob SchultzDo we still recognize [the Constitution of the United States of America] as the basis of our system of government in America, or not? Do we still have a constitution that guarantees our unalienable rights as the sovereign citizens of a great and free nation, or not? Do we have a federal government and state governments that honor and defend the fundamental principles of equal justice, due process or law, the right to life, liberty, and property - the principles that represent the very foundation of our constitutional form of government, or not? We the People have a right to know the truth. We have a right to know if we still have a Constitution.
Carl SchurzIf you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors. There is no other.
Horatio SeymourThe merit of our Constitution was, not that it promotes democracy, but checks it.
Butler D. ShafferBecause we fear the responsibility for our actions, we have allowed ourselves to develop the mentality of slaves. Contrary to the stirring sentiments of the Declaration of Independence, we now pledge "our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor" not to one another for our mutual protection, but to the state, whose actions continue to exploit, despoil, and destroy us.
George Bernard ShawNobody can live in society without conventions. The reason why sensible people are as conventional as they can bear to be is that conventionality saves so much time and thought and trouble and social friction of one sort or another that it leaves them much more leisure time for freedom than unconventionality does.
George Bernard ShawThe American Constitution, one of the few modern political documents drawn up by men who were forced by the sternest circumstances to think out what they really had to face, instead of chopping logic in a university classroom.
Morris SheppardThere is as much chance of repealing the 18th Amendment as there is for a humming-bird to fly to the planet Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail.
Nelson ShieldsOur ultimate goal -- total control of handguns in the United States -- is going to take time... The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced... The second problem is to get handguns registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of handguns and all handgun ammunition -- except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors -- totally illegal.
Simmons v. U.S.We find it intolerable that one constitutional right should have to be surrendered in order to assert another.
Richard E. Sincere, Jr.In a free society, standards of public morality can be measured only by whether physical coercion -- violence against persons or property -- occurs. There is no right not to be offended by words, actions or symbols.
Jerome H. SkolnickWhether or not legislation is truly moral is often a question of who has the power to define morality.
Adam SmithEvery man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man or order of men.
Alfred E. SmithIt is the right of our people to organize to oppose any law and any part of the constitution with which they are not in sympathy.
Jeffrey R. SnyderAs the Founding Fathers knew well, a government that does not trust its honest, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens with the means of self-defense is not itself worthy of trust. Laws disarming honest citizens proclaim that the government is the master, not the servant of the people... The Bill of Rights does not grant rights to the people, such that its repeal would legitimately confer upon government the powers otherwise proscribed. The Bill of Rights is the list of the fundamental, inalienable rights, endowed in man by his Creator, that define what it means to be a free and independent people, the rights which must exist to ensure that government governs only with the consent of the people.
Joseph SobranCan the real Constitution be restored? Probably not. Too many Americans depend on government money under programs the Constitution doesn't authorize, and money talks with an eloquence Shakespeare could only envy. Ignorant people don't understand The Federalist Papers, but they understand government checks with their names on them.
Thomas SowellIt doesn't matter what rights you have under the Constitution of the United States, if the government can punish you for exercising those rights. And it doesn't matter what limits the Constitution puts on government officials' power, if they can exceed those limits without any adverse consequences. In other words, the Constitution cannot protect you, if you don't protect the Constitution with your votes against anyone who violates it. Those government officials who want more power are not going to stop unless they get stopped. As long as millions of Americans vote on the basis of who gives them free stuff, look for their freedom -- and all our freedom -- to be eroded away, bit by bit. Our children and grandchildren may yet come to see the Constitution as just some quaint words from the past that people once took seriously.
Thomas SowellWe enjoy freedom and the rule of law on which it depends, not because we deserve it, but because others before us put their lives on the line to defend it.
Gerry SpenceWhile birds can fly, only humans can argue. Argument is the affirmation of our being. It is the principal instrument of human intercourse. Without argument the species would perish.
As a subtle suggestion, it is the means by which we aid another.
As a warning, it steers us from danger.
As exposition, it teaches.
As an expression of creativity, it is the gift of ourselves.
As a protest, it struggles for justice.
As a reasoned dialogue, it resolves disputes.
As an assertion of self, it engenders respect.
As an entreaty of love, it expresses our devotion.
As a plea, it generates mercy.
As charismatic oration it moves multitudes and changes history.
We must argue -- to help, to warn, to lead, to love, to create, to learn, to enjoy justice, to be.
Gerry SpenceA new fascism promises security from the terror of crime. All that is required is that we take away the criminals’ rights – which, of course, are our own. Out of our desperation and fear we begin to feel a sense of security from the new totalitarian state.
Gerry SpenceThe Internet…has become the voice of the people in the first genuine experiment in democracy yet conducted in America. It stands ready to serve every facet, every faction.
Lysander SpoonerThe principle that the majority have a right to rule the minority, practically resolves all government into a mere contest between two bodies of men, as to which of them shall be masters, and which of them slaves; a contest, that -- however bloody -- can, in the nature of things, never be finally closed, so long as man refuses to be a slave.
Lysander SpoonerOur constitutions purport to be established by 'the people,' and, in theory, 'all the people' consent to such government as the constitutions authorize. But this consent of 'the people' exists only in theory. It has no existence in fact. Government is in reality established by the few; and these few assume the consent of all the rest, without any such consent being actually given.
Lysander SpoonerIn truth, in the case of individuals, their actual voting is not to be taken as proof of consent, even for the time being. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having ever been asked, a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practise this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two. In self-defence, he attempts the former. His case is analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle, where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man attempts to take the lives of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot -- which is a mere substitute for a bullet -- because, as his only chance of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights, as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the mere power of numbers. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency, into which he had been forced by others, and in which no other means of self-defence offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him.
Lysander SpoonerIf our fathers, in 1776, had acknowledged the principle that a majority had the right to rule the minority, we should never have become a nation; for they were in a small minority, as compared with those who claimed the right to rule over them.
Lysander SpoonerNo attempt or pretence, that was ever carried into practical operation amongst civilized men -- unless possibly the pretence of a “Divine Right,” on the part of some, to govern and enslave others -- embodied so much of shameless absurdity, falsehood, impudence, robbery, usurpation, tyranny, and villany of every kind, as the attempt or pretence of establishing a government by consent, and getting the actual consent of only so many as may be necessary to keep the rest in subjection by force. Such a government is a mere conspiracy of the strong against the weak. It no more rests on consent than does the worst government on earth.
Lysander SpoonerThe strong are always free by virtue of their superior strength. So long as government is a mere contest as to which of two parties shall rule the other, the weaker must always succumb. And whether the contest be carried on with ballots or bullets, the principle is the same; for under the theory of government now prevailing, the ballot either signifies a bullet, or it signifies nothing. And no one can consistently use a ballot, unless he intends to use a bullet, if the latter should be needed to insure submission to the former.
Lysander SpoonerA government that can at pleasure accuse, shoot, and hang men, as traitors, for the one general offence of refusing to surrender themselves and their property unreservedly to its arbitrary will, can practice any and all special and particular oppressions it pleases. The result -- and a natural one -- has been that we have had governments, State and national, devoted to nearly every grade and species of crime that governments have ever practised upon their victims; and these crimes have culminated in a war that has cost a million of lives; a war carried on, upon one side, for chattel slavery, and on the other for political slavery; upon neither for liberty, justice, or truth. And these crimes have been committed, and this war waged, by men, and the descendants of men, who, less than a hundred years ago, said that all men were equal, and could owe neither service to individuals, nor allegiance to governments, except with their own consent.
Lysander Spooner
The ostensible supporters of the Constitution, like the ostensible supporters of most other governments, are made up of three classes, viz.: 1. Knaves, a numerous and active class, who see in the government an instrument which they can use for their own aggrandizement or wealth. 2. Dupes—a large class, no doubt—each of whom, because he is allowed one voice out of millions in deciding what he may do with his own person and his own property, and because he is permitted to have the same voice in robbing, enslaving, and murdering others, that others have in robbing, enslaving, and murdering himself, is stupid enough to imagine that he is a “free man,” a “sovereign”; that this is “a free government”; “a government of equal rights,” “the best government on earth,” and such like absurdities. 3. A class who have some appreciation of the evils of government, but either do not see how to get rid of them, or do not choose to so far sacrifice their private interests as to give themselves seriously and earnestly to the work of making a change.
Lysander SpoonerVices are not crimes.
Lysander SpoonerIn truth, in the case of individuals, their actual voting is not to be taken as proof of consent, even for the time being. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having ever been asked, a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practise this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two. In self-defence, he attempts the former. His case is analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle, where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man attempts to take the lives of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot -- which is a mere substitute for a bullet -- because, as his only chance of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights, as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the mere power of numbers. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency, into which he had been forced by others, and in which no other means of self-defence offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him.
Josef StalinAmerica is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold:
its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life.
If we can undermine these three areas,
America will collapse from within.
State v. Board of ExaminersDisobedience or evasion of a constitutional mandate may not be tolerated, even though such disobedience may, at least temporarily, promote in some respects the best interests of the public.
State v. SuttonWhen any court violates the clean and unambiguous language of the constitution, a fraud is perpetrated and no one is bound to obey it.
Howard SternWhen you think about it if somebody is a legal and responsible gun owner, let’s say in Massachusetts, why all of a sudden when he crossed the border is he an outlaw?
Justice John Paul StevensThe government must pursue a course of complete neutrality toward religion.
Justice Potter StewartThe right to enjoy property without unlawful deprivation, no less that the right to speak out or the right to travel is, in truth, a “personal” right.
Justice Potter StewartThe 4th Amendment and the personal rights it secures have a long history. At the very core stands the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.
Justice Potter StewartThe right to defy an unconstitutional statute is basic in our scheme. Even when an ordinance requires a permit to make a speech, to deliver a sermon, to picket, to parade, or to assemble, it need not be honored when it’s invalid on its face.
Harlan F. StoneIf a juror feels that the statute involved in any criminal offence is unfair, or that it infringes upon the defendant's natural god-given unalienable or constitutional rights, then it is his duty to affirm that the offending statute is really no law at all and that the violation of it is no crime at all, for no one is bound to obey an unjust law.
Joseph StoryA good government implies two things; first, fidelity to the objects of the government; secondly, a knowledge of the means, by which those objects can be best attained.
Justice Joseph StoryThis provision (the 4th Amendment) speaks for itself. Its plain object is to secure the perfect enjoyment of that great right of the common law, that a man's house shall be his own castle, privileged against all civil and military intrusion.
Justice Joseph StoryRepublics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and
intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished
from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and
the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people,
in order to betray them.
Supreme Court of the United StatesConstitutional rights may not be infringed simply because the majority of the people choose that they be.
George SutherlandDo the people of this land…desire to preserve those [liberties] protected by the First Amendment… If so, let them withstand all beginnings of encroachment. For the saddest epitaph which can be carved in memory of a vanquished liberty is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch for a saving hand while yet there was time.
Judge Diane Schwerm SykesThe Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts a medium of expression commonly used for the preservation and communication of information and ideas, thus triggering First Amendment scrutiny. Illinois has criminalized the nonconsensual recording of most any oral communication, including recordings of public officials doing the public’s business in public and regardless of whether the recording is open or surreptitious. Defending the broad sweep of this statute, the State’s Attorney relies on the government’s interest in protecting conversational privacy, but that interest is not implicated when police officers are performing their duties in public places and engaging in public communications audible to persons who witness the events. Even under the more lenient intermediate standard of scrutiny applicable to content-neutral burdens on speech, this application of the statute very likely flunks. The Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests; as applied to the facts alleged here, it likely violates the First Amendment’s free-speech and free-press guarantees.
William Howard TaftConstitutions are checks upon the hasty action of the majority. They are the self-imposed restraints of a whole people upon a majority of them to secure sober action and a respect for the rights of the minority.
William Howard TaftNext to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race.
Rep. Ellen TauscherThe Constitution is like my old blue dress ... it doesn't fit anymore.
A. J. P. TaylorFreedom does not always win. This is one of the bitterest lessons of history.
John TaylorConstitutions are violated, and it would be absurd to expect the federal government to enforce the
Constitution against itself. If the very federal judges the Constitution was partly intended to restrain were the ones exclusively charged with enforcing
it, then “America possesses only the effigy of a Constitution.” The states, the very constituents of the Union, had to do the enforcing.
Tennessee Supreme CourtThis declaration ... gives to every man the right to arm himself in any manner he may choose, however unusual or
dangerous the weapons he may employ, and thus armed, to appear wherever he may think proper, without molestation or hindrance, and that any law
regulating his social conduct, by restraining the use of any weapon or regulating the manner in which it shall be carried, is beyond the legislative
competency to enact, and is void.
Texas v. WhiteNot only, therefore, can there be no loss of separate and independent autonomy to the states, through their union under the Constitution, but it may be not unreasonably said that the preservation of the states, and the maintenance of their governments, are as much within the design and care of the Constitution as the preservation of the Union and the maintenance of the national government. The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible states.
Justice Clarence ThomasIf Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything ... quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States.
Justice Clarence ThomasGovernment cannot make us equal; it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law. That [affirmative action] programs may have been motivated, in part, by good intentions cannot provide refuge from the principle that under our Constitution, the government may not make distinctions on the basis of race.
Justice Clarence ThomasI believe that there is a moral and constitutional equivalence between laws designed to subjugate a race and those that distribute benefits on the basis of race in order to foster some current notion of equality.... In my mind, government-sponsored racial discrimination based on benign prejudice is just as noxious as discrimination inspired by malicious prejudice.
Justice Clarence Thomas[T]he courts are so willing to assume that anything that is predominantly black must be inferior.... The mere fact that a school is black does not mean that it is the product of an unconstitutional violation.
Justice Robert R. ThomasAll statutes are presumed constitutional and the party challenging the constitutionality of a statute has the burden of clearly establishing that it violates the constitution.
Richard ThompsonNothing is plainer than that, if the principles of the church of Rome prevail here, our Constitution would fall. The two cannot exist together. They are in open and direct antagonism with the fundamental theory of our government and of all popular government everywhere.
Henry David ThoreauSomehow strangely the vice of men gets well represented and protected but their virtue has none to plead its cause -- nor any charter of immunities and rights.
Henry David ThoreauThere will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.
Henry David ThoreauThat government is best which governs least.
Dr. John J. TigertI do not believe there are more than a very limited number of persons, perhaps a hundred who really know what is in the Constitution of the United States.
Preamble To The United States ConstitutionWe the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
William R. Tonso[T]hroughout history the unarmed have been safe only as long as the armed (criminals or government agents) have allowed them to be safe. We should beware of any politician, bureaucrat, or intellectual who claims the Second Amendment is outdated, or that it does no more than guarantee the National guard’s right to bear arms. Many of these same people did their best to obstruct investigations of government wrongdoing at Ruby Ridge and Waco.
Treason ClauseTreason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.
Treaty of Tripoli, 1796As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense
founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of
enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, and as the
said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any
Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from
religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony
existing between the two countries.
Laurence TribeIt bothers me that the executive branch is taking the amazing position that just on the president's say-so, any American citizen can be picked up, not just in Afghanistan, but at O'Hare Airport or on the streets of any city in this country, and locked up without access to a lawyer or court just because the government says he's connected somehow with the Taliban or Al Qaeda. That's not the American way. It's not the constitutional way.
Laurence Tribe[The Bill of Rights is] designed to protect individuals and minorities against the tyranny of the majority, but it's also designed to protect the people against bureaucracy, against the government.
Srdja Trifkovic...the Patriot Act followed 9-11 as smoothly as the suspension of the Weimar constitution followed the Reichstag fire.
Mark TwainMy kind of loyalty was to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.
Sir Alex Fraser TytlerA democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess of the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
Sir Alex Fraser TytlerThe average age of the world's greatest civilizations
has been two hundred years.
These nations have progressed through this sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency;
from complaceny to apathy;
from apathy to dependence;
from dependency back again into bondage.
Unidentified diplomat[The Clinton Administration] may find it useful to invoke the commitments made here [in the UN] to Americans as a lever to persuade the gun lobby.
United States ConstitutionNo state shall emit bills of credit, make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts, coin money...
United States ConstitutionNo State shall... coin money; emit bills of credit; make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts...
United States Supreme Court... [the 16th Amendment] conferred no new power of taxation... [and]... prohibited the ... power of income taxation possessed by Congress from the beginning from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged...
United States Supreme CourtThe Constitution is a written instrument. As such it's meaning does not alter. That which it meant when adopted, it means now.
United States Supreme CourtBecause of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many Citizens, because of their respect for what appears to be law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their rights due to ignorance.
United States Supreme CourtThe Constitution prohibits any direct tax, unless in proportion to numbers as ascertained by the census..... [and] ... prohibits Congress from laying a direct tax on the revenue from property of the citizen without regard to state lines...
United States v. RobelIt would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense,
we would sanction the subversion of one of the liberties ...
which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile.
UnknownWar is the tool through which the remaining Constitutional restraints on government and rights of the people will be destroyed. War will be the
gateway through which total statism in any of its forms (fascism, socialism, communism) will be imposed upon the United States. They will rally the
people’s patriotism, and give the laws Orwellian sounding names like the “Patriot Acts”, and “Freedom Laws” and cries of “America First,” but these
acts will be anti-patriotic, anti-freedom, and anti-American. At the core of all these activities will be one purpose -- to impose ever increasing control
over the citizens, marching toward total statism. They will suspend due process and Constitutional restrictions proclaiming “extraordinary times”
require extraordinary measures. At first they will only be used against a few select atrocious and most heinous individuals with unfamiliar
appearance, customs and beliefs. Initially, it will simply be a matter of degree, but the precedent is now set. Extraordinary measures solely for
extraordinary individuals, but slowly and then more rapidly the extraordinary will become the ordinary until such measures can apply to anyone.
They will deride anyone who opposes these Orwellian acts as dangerously naïve, as pacifists, as isolationists, as unpatriotic, as sympathizing with
“the enemy” whoever “the enemy” may be at the time, and as un-American. They will make war with vague, ever changing goals and objectives.
They will make war on elusive, obscure enemies by proclaiming wars against “subversives” or “guerillas” or “militias” or “revolutionaries” or
“aggressors” or “terrorists” or whatever ambiguous name they can imagine so that the “enemies” will always be elusive, never eliminated or fully
defeated. There will always be more “enemies.” War will be perpetual, lasting years or even decades. War will be the final mechanism that destroys
America from within; and the people will proudly cheer and defend and support the dismantling of their rights and destruction of their Constitutional
Republic, all out of supposed “necessity” to support “the war.”
Abel UpshurThe Federal Government is the creature of the States. It is not a party to the Constitution, but the result of it the creation of that agreement which was made by the States as parties. It is a mere agent, entrusted with limited powers for certain specific objects; which powers and objects are enumerated in the Constitution. Shall the agent be permitted to judge the extent of its own powers, without reference to his constituent? To a certain extent, he is compelled to do this, in the very act of exercising them, but always in subordination to the authority by whom his powers were conferred. If this were not so, the result would be, that the agent would possess every power which the agent could confer, notwithstanding the plainest and most express terms of the grant. This would be against all principle and all reason. If such a rule would prevail in regard to government, a written constitution would be the idlest thing imaginable. It would afford no barrier against the usurpations of the government, and no security for the rights and liberties of the people. If then the Federal Government has no authority to judge, in the last resort, of the extent of its own powers, with what propriety can it be said that a single department of that government may do so? Nay. It is said that this department may not only judge for itself, but for the other departments also. This is an absurdity as pernicious as it is gross and palpable. If the judiciary may determine the powers of the Federal Government, it may pronounce them either less or more than they really are.
U. S. Privacy Study CommissionThe real danger is the gradual erosion of individual liberties through automation, integration, and interconnection of many small, separate record-keeping systems, each of which alone may seem innocuous, even benevolent, and wholly justifiable.
U.S. ConstitutionThe right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
U.S. Constitution Article VIThis Constitution... shall be the Supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby
U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Sec. 2The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.
U.S. Constitution, Article VIAll ...Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution as under the Confederation.
U.S. Constitution, Article VIThis Constitution, ...shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby
U.S. Constitution, Ninth AmendmentThe enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
U.S. Constitution, Tenth AmendmentThe powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
U.S. Supreme CourtCongress may not abdicate or transfer to others its legitimate functions.
U.S. Supreme CourtIn this country sovereignty resides in the people, and Congress can exercise no power which they have not, by their Constitution, entrusted to it: All else is withheld.
U.S. vs. CruickshanThe right of the people peacefully to assemble for lawful purposes existed long before the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. In fact, it is and always has been one of the attributes of a free government. It 'derives its source,' to use the language of Chief Justice Marshall, in 'Gibbons v Ogden,' 9 Wheat., 211, 'from those laws whose authority is acknowledged by civilized man throughout the world.' It is found wherever civilization exists. It was not... a right granted to the people by the Constitution... The second and tenth counts are equally defective. The right there specified is that of 'bearing arms for a lawful purpose.' This is not a right granted by the constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.
William Van AlstyneThe difference between [people who take civil liberties seriously] and others ... is that such serious people begin with a constitutional understanding that declines to trivialize the Second Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment, just as they likewise decline to trivialize any other right expressly identified elsewhere in the Bill of Rights. It is difficult to see why they are less than entirely right in this unremarkable view. That it has taken the NRA to speak for them, with respect to the Second Amendment, moreover, is merely interesting -- perhaps far more as a comment on others, however, than on the NRA.
William Van AlstyneThe Second Amendment, like the First Amendment, is ... not mysterious. Nor is it equivocal. Least of all is it opaque. Rather, one may say, today it is simply unwelcome in any community that wants no one (save perhaps the police?) to keep or bear arms at all. But ... it is for them to seek repeal of this amendment (and so the repeal of its guarantee), in order to have their way. Or so the Constitution itself assuredly appears to require, if that is the way things are to be.
Vermont Declaration of RightsThat frequent recurrence to fundamental principles, and a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, industry and frugality, are absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty, and keep government free. The people ought, therefore, to pay particular attention to these points, in the choice of officers and representatives, and have a right to exact a due and constant regard to them, from their legislators and magistrates, in the making and executing such laws as are necessary for the good government of the State.
Veterans of Foreign WarsWhereas it has been proposed that the United States of America
become a part of a world federal government; and ...
this program...would entail the surrender of our national sovereignty
and...bring into being a form of government whose authority would
supercede that of the Constitution of The United States Government; and
...institute a system of laws where-by American citizens
could be tried by aliens in controversion of the provisions
of the Constitution of the United States; and
...the Veterans of Foreign Wars is composed solely of men who have
worn the uniform of the United States on foreign shores and in hostile waters
in time of war and from their personal experiences
are familiar with the traditions and operations of other countries; and
...many of our comrades rest forever in foreign soil and their sacrifices
were made to retain the dignity and sovereignty of the United States of America:
Now therefore, be it Resolved by the Fiftieth Annual Convention
of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States,
That we hereby declare that we are unalterably opposed
to any program which would entail the surrender of any part
of the sovereignty of the United States of America
in favor of a world government...
Richard A. ViguerieThe first duty of government is to protect the citizen from assault. Unless it does this, all the civil rights and civil liberties in the world aren't worth a dime.
Virginia’s General AssemblyHad the states been despoiled of their sovereignty by the generality of the preamble, and had the Federal Government been endowed with whatever they should judge to be instrumental towards the union, justice, tranquility, common defence, general welfare, and the preservation of liberty, nothing could have been more frivolous than an enumeration of powers.
Virginia Declaration of RightsThe rights enumerated in this Bill of Rights shall not be construed to limit other rights of the people not therein expressed.
Virginia Resolution of 1798[T]his Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the Federal Government, as resulting from the compact, to which the States are parties, as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact as no further valid than they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the States who are parties thereto, have the right, and are duty bound, to interpose, for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.
VoltaireWe have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard.
Jerry VoorhisThe banks -- commercial banks and the Federal Reserve -- create all the money of this nation and its people pay interest on every dollar of that newly created money. Which means that private banks exercise unconstitutionally, immorally, and ridiculously the power to tax the people. For every newly created dollar dilutes to some extent the value of every other dollar already in circulation.
Chad WalshFrom the utopian viewpoint, the United States constitution is a singularly hard-bitten and cautious document, for it breathes the spirit of skepticism about human altruism and incorporates a complex system of checks, balances and restrictions, so that everybody is holding the reins on everybody else.
Nathaniel WardNo man shall twice be sentenced by Civil Justice for one and the same crime, offense, or trespass.
Charles WarrenIf a law to donate aid to any farmer or cattleman who has had poor crops or lost his cattle comes
within the meaning of the phrase “to provide for the General Welfare of the United States,” why should not similar gifts be made to grocers,
shopkeepers, miners, and other businessmen who have made losses through financial depression, or to wage earners out of employment? Why is not
their property equally within the purview of the General Welfare?
Earl WarrenThe only protection of every citizen from such deprivation of rights is a strict adherence to the Bill of Rights by everyone for everyone. This should be self-evident but the danger of erosion of rights stems largely from the fact that so many citizens of the majority, who have never been deprived of any of these rights, find it difficult to understand what the deprivation of them means in the lives of others.
George WashingtonThe government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.
George WashingtonThe time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend on God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.
George Washington...and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November, next to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being Who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, or will be ...that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to there becoming a nation... And also that we then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions... to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a governmment of wise, just and Constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed...(and) to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among us...given under my hand at the City of New York, the 3rd day of October in the Year of Our Lord 1789.
George WashingtonArbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of Liberty abused to licentiousness.
Daniel WebsterThe Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions.
Daniel WebsterNo power but Congress can declare war, but what is the value of this constitutional provision, if the President of his own authority may make such military movements as must bring on war?
Daniel WebsterHold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.
Daniel WebsterThe inherent right in the people to reform their government, I do not deny; and they have another right, and that is to resist unconstitutional laws without overturning the government.
Daniel WebsterWe may be tossed upon an ocean where we can see no land -- nor, perhaps, the sun or stars. But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey. That chart is the Constitution.
Daniel WebsterWhere is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war in which the folly and wickedness of the government may engage itself? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest right of personal liberty? Who will show me any Constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life, and even life, itself, whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it? ... A free government with an uncontrolled power of military conscription is the most ridiculous and abominable contradiction and nonsense that ever entered into the heads of men.
Daniel WebsterGood intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
Daniel WebsterNo man can suffer too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffer or if he fall in defense of the liberties and Constitution of his country.
Daniel WebsterIf the States were not left to leave the Union when their rights were interfered with, the government would have been National, but the Convention refused to baptize it by that name.
Noah WebsterAnother source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command; for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
Noah WebsterThe moral principles and precepts contained in the Scripture ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evil men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.
Noah WebsterWhy not include a provision that everybody shall, in good weather, hunt on his own land and catch fish in rivers that are public property and that Congress shall never restrain any inhabitant of America from eating and drinking, at seasonable times, or prevent his lying on his left side, in a long winter's night, or even on his back, when he is fatigued by lying on his right.
Judge Jack B. WeinsteinNeither the trappings of robes, nor temples of stone, nor a fixed
liturgy, nor an extensive literature or history is required to meet the
test of beliefs cognizable under the Constitution as religious. So far
as our law is concerned, one person's religious beliefs held for one
day are presumptively entitled to the same protection as the beliefs of
millions which have been shared for thousands of years.
Robert WelchI want for our country enough laws to restrain me from injuring others, so that these laws will also restrain others from injuring me. I want enough government, with enough constitutional safeguards, so that this necessary minimum of laws will be applied equitably to everybody, and will be binding on the rulers as well as those ruled. Beyond that I want neither laws nor government to be imposed on our people as a means or with the excuse of protecting us from catching cold, or of seeing that we raise the right kind of crops, or of forcing us to live in the right kind of houses or neighborhoods, or of compelling us to save money or to spend it, or of telling us when or whether we can pray. I do not want government or laws designed for any other form of welfarism or paternalism, based on the premise that government knows best and can run our lives better than we can run them ourselves. And my concept of freedom, and of its overwhelming importance, is implicit in these aspirations and ideals.
Walter E. WilliamsThe War between the States... produced the foundation for the kind of government we have today: consolidated and absolute, based on the unrestrained will of the majority, with force, threats, and intimidation being the order of the day. Today's federal government is considerably at odds with that envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. ... [The War] also laid to rest the great principle enunciated in the Declaration of Independence that 'Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed'.
Walter E. WilliamsThe framers gave us the Second Amendment not so we could go deer or duck hunting but to give us a modicum of protection against congressional tyranny.
Walter E. WilliamsTry this thought experiment. Pretend you're a tyrant. Among your many liberty-destroying objectives are extermination of blacks, Jews and Catholics. Which would you prefer, a United States with political power centralized in Washington, powerful government agencies with detailed information on Americans and compliant states or power widely dispersed over 50 states, thousands of local jurisdictions and a limited federal government?
Walter E. WilliamsThe path we’re embarked upon, in the name of good, is a familiar one. The unspeakable horrors of Nazism, Stalinism, and
Maoism did not begin in the ‘30s and ‘40s with the men usually associated with those names. Those horrors were simply the end result of a long
evolution of ideas leading to the consolidation of power in central government in the name of “social justice.” It was decent but misguided Germans,
who would have cringed at the thought of extermination and genocide, who built the Trojan Horse for Hitler to take over. We Americans
promote disrespect for our Constitution, rule of law and private property in our pursuit of “social justice.” But the scum that rises to the top has an
agenda of command and control that’s leading toward totalitarianism. And, incidentally, it’s no coincidence that most of those at the top are lawyers
-- people with a special, seemingly tutored, contempt for our Constitution and rule of law.
Wendell L. WillkieThe constitution does not provide for first and second class citizens.
James WilsonLiberty and happiness have a powerful enemy on each hand; on the one hand tyranny, on the other licentiousness [anarchy]. To guard against the latter, it is necessary to give the proper powers to government; and to guard against the former, it is necessary that those powers should be properly distributed.
Woodrow WilsonLiberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.
A. L. WirinThe rights of all persons are wrapped in the same constitutional bundle as those of the most hated member of the community.
Virginia WoolfIf we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.
Wright v. United StatesTo disregard such a deliberate choice of words and their natural meaning, would be a departure from the first principle of constitutional interpretation. "In expounding the Constitution of the United States," said Chief Justice Taney in Holmes v. Jennison, 14 U.S. 540, 570-1, "every word must have its due force and appropriate meaning; for it is evident from the whole instrument, that, no word was unnecessarily used, or needlessly added. The many discussions which have taken place upon the construction of the Constitution, have proved the correctness of this proposition; and shown the high talent, the caution and the foresight of the illustrious men who framed it. Every word appears to have been weighed with the utmost deliberation and its force and effect to have been fully understood.
Wyoming Declaration of Rights Art. I, Sec. 7Absolute, arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.
Yale Law JournalThe right of the jury to decide questions of law was widely recognized in the colonies. In 1771, John Adams stated
unequivocally that a juror should ignore a judge’s instruction on the law if it violates fundamental principles: “It is not only ... [the juror’s] right, but his duty, in that case, to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the
direction of the court.” There is much evidence of the general acceptance of this principle in the period immediately after the Constitution was
adopted.
Frank ZappaAsked random questions about the First Amendment and how they would like to have it applied, if you believe in polls at all, the average American wants no part of it. But if you ask, 'What if we threw the Constitution away tomorrow?' the answer is 'No, that would be bad!' But living under the Constitution is another story altogether.
Frank ZappaIn the fight between you and the world, back the world.
Frank ZappaThe United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.
Frank ZappaYou can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline -- it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.
John Peter ZengerNo nation, ancient or modern, ever lost the liberty of speaking freely, writing, or publishing their sentiments, but forthwith lost their liberty in general and became slaves.
zzMilitia
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