I 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.
more Abraham Lincoln quotes
Tis a Mistake to think this Fault [tyranny] is proper only to Monarchies; other Forms of Government are liable to it, as well as that. For where-ever the Power that is put in any hands for the Government of the People, and the Preservation of their Properties, is applied to other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the Arbitrary and Irregular Commands of those that have it: There it presently becomes Tyranny, whether those that thus use it are one or many.
more John Locke quotes
Whosoever uses force without Right ... puts himself into a state of War with those, against whom he uses it, and in that state all former Ties are canceled, all other Rights cease, and every one has a Right to defend himself, and to resist the Aggressor.
more John Locke quotes
If the innocent honest Man must quietly quit all he has for Peace sake, to him who will lay violent hands upon it, I desire it may be considered what kind of Peace there will be in the World, which consists only in Violence and Rapine; and which is to be maintained only for the benefit of Robbers and Oppressors.
more John Locke quotes
Any single man must judge for himself whether circumstances warrant obedience or resistance to the commands of the civil magistrate; we are all qualified, entitled, and morally obliged to evaluate the conduct of our rulers. This political judgment, moreover, is not simply or primarily a right, but like self-preservation, a duty to God. As such it is a judgment that men cannot part with according to the God of Nature. It is the first and foremost of our inalienable rights without which we can preserve no other.
more John Locke quotes
[E]very Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his. The great and chief end therefore, of Mens uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the Preservation of their Property.
more John Locke quotes
[T]he police do not and cannot protect law-abiding citizens from criminal violence. ... This thought may not occur to wealthy people who can shelter themselves in low-crime enclaves and who care not at all about their less fortunate neighbors. But no one knows it better than the police, who scrupulously preserve their own right to carry firearms on and off duty (and often after they retire as well) even while some of them advocate disarming those whom the police cannot protect.
more Nelson Lund quotes
It is not because we have been free, but because we have a right to be free, that we ought to demand freedom. Justice and liberty have neither birth nor race, youth nor age.
more Sir James MacKintosh quotes
A pure democracy ... can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction.  A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party...  Hence it is that democracies 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 thier deaths.
more James Madison quotes
As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.
more James Madison quotes
Democracies 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 deaths.
more James Madison quotes
Equal laws protecting equal rights -- the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.
more James Madison quotes
Since 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.
more James Madison quotes
A government that does not trust it's law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is itself unworthy of trust.
more James Madison quotes
Complaints are every where heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable; that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties; and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice, and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.
more James Madison quotes
Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the Constituents.
more James Madison quotes
What becomes of the surplus of human life? It is either, 1st destroyed by infanticide, as among the Chinese and Lacedemonians; or 2nd it is stifled or starved, as among other nations whose population is commensurate to its food; or 3rd it is consumed by wars and endemic diseases; or 4th it overflows, by emigration, to places where a surplus of food is attainable.
more James Madison quotes
Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.
more James Madison quotes
We have the Bill of Rights. What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities.
more Bill Maher quotes
The 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.
more Dumas Malone quotes
When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.
more Nelson Mandela quotes
All 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.
more George Mason quotes
Government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit and security of the people, nation or community; whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, indefeasible right, to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public Weal.
more George Mason quotes
The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state; it ought not, therefore, to be restricted in this commonwealth.
more Massachusetts Declaration of Rights quotes
To say that subjects in general are not proper judges (of the law) when their governors oppress them and play the tyrant, and when they defend their rights ...is as great a treason as ever a man uttered... (more)
more Jonathan Mayhew quotes
No taxation without representation.
more Jonathan Mayhew quotes
All 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.
more Justice John McLean quotes
That 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.
more Justice John McLean quotes
It is the invariable habit of bureaucracies, at all times and everywhere, to assume...that every citizen is a criminal. Their one apparent purpose, pursued with a relentless and furious diligence, is to convert the assumption into a fact. They hunt endlessly for proofs, and, when proofs are lacking, for mere suspicions. The moment they become aware of a definite citizen, John Doe, seeking what is his right under the law, they begin searching feverishly for an excuse for withholding it from him.
more H. L. Mencken quotes
I 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.
more H. L. Mencken quotes
Whenever 'A' attempts by law to impose his moral standards upon 'B', 'A' is most likely a scoundrel.
more H. L. Mencken quotes
The 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.
more H. L. Mencken quotes
How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism.
more James Monroe quotes
[T]he income tax is incompatible with a free society. The IRS routinely intrudes on our basic civil liberties and privacy rights -- and its intrusions are getting worse all the time. I want an America where it is no longer the government's business how much money you make and what you do with it.
more Stephen Moore quotes
I am one who believes that as a first step the U.S. should move expeditiously to disarm the civilian population, other than police and security officers, of all handguns, pistols and revolvers ...no one should have a right to anonymous ownership or use of a gun.
more Prof. Dean Morris quotes
The 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.
more Mugler v. Kansas quotes
There are…certain freedoms that are like circuses. Their very existence, so long as they are individual and enjoyed chiefly individually as by spectators, diverts men’s mind from the loss of other, more fundamental, social and economic and political rights.
more Robert Nisbet quotes
An 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.
more Norton vs. Shelby County quotes
Freedom is not empowerment. Empowerment is what the Serbs have in Bosnia. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. It's not entitlement. An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? It's not an endlessly expanding list of rights -- the "right" to education, the "right" to health care, the "right" to food and housing. That's not freedom, that's dependency. Those aren't rights, those are rations of slavery -- hay and a barn for human cattle. There's only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.
more P. J. O'Rourke quotes
Order is not pressure which is imposed on society from without but an equilibrium which is set up from within.
more José Ortega y Gasset quotes
There can be no prescription old enough to supersede the Law of Nature and the grant of God Almighty, who has given to all men a natural right to be free, and they have it ordinarily in their power to make themselves so, if they please.
more James Otis quotes
A 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.
more Thomas Paine quotes
When you sit down to negotiate on what you already have, you lose.
more Marie J. Parente quotes
You don't have a right to the fruits of somebody else's labor. You don't have a right to a house, you don't have a right to a job, you don't have a right to medical care. You have a right to your life, you have your right to your liberty, you have a right to keep what your earn. And that's what produces prosperity. So you want equal justice. And this is not hard for me to argue, because if you really are compassionate and you care about people, the freer the society the more prosperous it is, and more likely that you are going to have medical care... When you turn it over to central economic planning, they're bound to make mistakes. The bureaucrats and the special interests and the Halliburtons are going to make the money. Whether it's war, or Katrina, these noncompetitive contracts, the bureaucrats make a lot of money and you end up with inefficiency.
more Dr. Ron Paul quotes
You have to remember, rights don’t come in groups we shouldn’t have ‘gay rights’; rights come as individuals, and we wouldn’t have this major debate going on. It would be behavior that would count, not what person belongs to what group.
more Dr. Ron Paul quotes
What we need to do in this country is make sure the majority of the American people really want their freedoms back again, We have to have people once again believe in liberty, foreign policy that defends America, but is not the policeman of the world. We don’t have the right nor the facilities to throw our weight around and tell the rest of the world how to live.
more Dr. Ron Paul quotes
Indeed, it was the enumeration of powers, not the enumeration of rights in the Bill of Rights, that was meant by the Framers to be the principal limitation on government power.
more Roger Pilon quotes
The growth of federal power and programs over this century -- involving the regulation of business, the expansion of "civil rights," the production of environmental goods, and much else -- has taken place in large measure through the power of Congress to regulate "commerce among the states." That power has been read so broadly by the modern Court that Congress today can regulate anything that even "affects" commerce, which in principle is everything. As a result, save for the restraints imposed by the Bill of Rights, the commerce power is now essentially plenary, which is hardly what the Framers intended when they enumerated Congress’s powers. Indeed, if they had meant for Congress to be able to do anything it wanted under the commerce power, the enumeration of Congress’s other powers -- to say nothing of the defense of the doctrine of enumerated powers throughout the Federalist Papers -- would have been pointless. The purpose of the commerce clause quite simply, was to enable Congress to ensure the free flow of commerce among the states. Under the Articles of Confederation, state legislatures had enacted tariffs and other protectionist measures that impeded interstate commerce. To break the logjam, Congress was empowered to make commerce among the states "regular." In fact, the need to do so was one of the principal reasons behind the call for a new constitution.
more Roger Pilon quotes
Sovereignty 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.
more Ezra Pound quotes
Liberty is not a right but a duty.
more Ezra Pound quotes
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