"The law will never make men free;
it is men who have got to make the law free."
Henry David Thoreau
(1817-1862) American author, poet, philosopher, polymath, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and transcendentalist
Slavery in Massachusetts (1854)
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Reader comments about this quote:
The law, as described by the founders, is outside man's ability to make or manipulate. Self expression that abides codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. that are in harmony with the law of nature and nature's God will define man's freedom. Anything more or less is despotism and tyranny. Man's laws, contrary to that which is, will never make men free, freedom and liberty are inalienable as a faculty of birth..
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    This would get 5 stars from me, if the 'law' here referenced, was uniquely defined as man's codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. with no regard to the laws of nature and of nature's God.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Men are most free in the absence of law. The question is how much freedom we are willing to give up in order to create more laws. Unfortunately for me, that threshold was crossed before I was born.
     -- Justin, Elkland, Missouri     
    Law defines are relationships to each other and to our natural environment. Children no nothing of law and parents teach them one day at a time the rules to be followed if they choose to live among men. Traveling out west a 12 year old niece of mine carved her name in a beautiful natural rock point of interest. I rubbed it out and explained to her that it is okay for her but if every visitor carved their name there wouldi be no point of interest left. This is what laws and rules do preserve and protect mans relationships with each other and his environment. The best law common sense.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    Beautiful! How can you be so blind. It is Law that inhibits man. A society based on love and trust needs no law. Only a society that is corrupt needs law and shackles those that don't.
     -- RBESRQ     
    The only true law is SELF unto no other law shall I submit.
     -- RBESRQ     
    Robert, to your second post, exactly! You are subject to nature, physics, science, the more abstract (larceny, life, etc.) with not always such immediate consequences, etc. Other than that, to thine own self be true, your rights ending at the other guy's nose.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I believe that 'law' in this instance is not Natural Law. I'll call it poetic license. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    If we view 'law' as the constraints on man's aggression (such as "Thou shalt not...") it has a negative role. Development, on the other hand, is due to free choice. Scientific law indicates the consequences of action, so it lacks any moral direction.
     -- Allen Weingarten, Monroe Township, NJ     


     -- bruski, naples FL     
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