Rights Quotes / Quotations 

Famous Quotes and Quotations about Rights

Rights Quotes 1-50 out of 242
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Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would. Nor is there anything in the common law of England ... inconsistent with that right.
more John Adams quotes
The poor people, it is true, have been much less successful than the great. They have seldom found either leisure or opportunity to form a union and exert their strength; ignorant as they were of arts and letters, they have seldom been able to frame and support a regular opposition. This, however, has been known by the great to be the temper of mankind; and they have accordingly labored, in all ages, to wrest from the populace, as they are contemptuously called, the knowledge of their rights and wrongs, and the power to assert the former or redress the latter. I say RIGHTS, for such they have, undoubtedly, antecedent to all earthly government, Rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws, Rights, derived from the great Legislator of the universe.
more John Adams quotes
Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.
more John Adams quotes
[You have Rights] antecedent to all earthly governments: Rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; Rights, derived from the Great Legislator of the universe.
more John Adams quotes
The 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.
more Samuel Adams quotes
If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of Almighty God, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.
more Samuel Adams quotes
Let us contemplate our forefathers, and posterity, and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude and perseverance. Let us remember that "if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom," it is a very serious consideration ... that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.
more Samuel Adams quotes
That 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.
more Alabama, Declaration of Rights Article I Section 35 quotes
Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access of all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.
more American Library Association quotes
Mr. 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.
more Fisher Ames quotes
If the legislature clearly misinterprets a Constitutional provision, the frequent repetition of the wrong will not create a right.
more Amos v. Mosley quotes
Once the government becomes the supplier of people's needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right.
more Lawrence Auster quotes
Legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways; hence, there are an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, bonuses, subsidies, incentives, the progressive income tax, free education, the right to employment, the right to profit, the right to wages, the right to relief, the right to the tools of production, interest free credit, etc., etc. And it the aggregate of all these plans, in respect to what they have in common, legal plunder, that goes under the name of socialism.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
What, then, is the law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. ... since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force -- for the same reason -- cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individual groups. ... But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
In short, is not liberty the freedom of every person to make full use of his faculties, so long as he does not harm other persons while doing so? Is not liberty the destruction of all despotism -- including, of course, legal despotism? Finally, is not liberty the restricting of the law only to its rational sphere of organizing the right of the individual to lawful self- defense; of punishing injustice?
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because the law makes them so.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Life, faculties, production -- in other words, individuality, liberty, property -- this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation and are superior to it.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Actually, it is not strange that during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the human race was regarded as inert matter, ready to receive everything -- form, face, energy, movement, life -- from a great prince or a great legislator or a great genius. These centuries were nourished on the study of antiquity. And antiquity presents everywhere -- in Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome -- the spectacle of a few men molding mankind according to their whims, thanks to the prestige of force and of fraud. But this does not prove that this situation is desirable. It proves only that since men and society are capable of improvement, it is naturally to be expected that error, ignorance, despotism, slavery, and superstition should be greatest towards the origins of history. The writers quoted above were not in error when they found ancient institutions to be such, but they were in error when they offered them for the admiration and imitation of future generations. Uncritical and childish conformists, they took for granted the grandeur, dignity, morality, and happiness of the artificial societies of the ancient world. They did not understand that knowledge appears and grows with the passage of time; and that in proportion to this growth of knowledge, might takes the side of right, and society regains possession of itself.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction.
more Cesare Beccaria quotes
The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons.
more Cesare Beccaria quotes
A principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility who considers particular more than general conveniencies, who had rather command the sentiments of mankind than excite them, who dares say to reason, 'Be thou a slave;' who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it.
more Cesare Beccaria quotes
False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty... and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer? Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. They ought to be designated as laws not preventive but fearful of crimes, produced by the tumultuous impression of a few isolated facts, and not by thoughtful consideration of the inconveniences and advantages of a universal decree.
more Cesare Beccaria quotes
Government should allow persons to engage in whatever conduct they want to, no matter how deviant or abnormal it may be, so long as (a) they know what they are doing, (b) they consent to it, and (c) no one -- at least no one other than the participants -- is harmed by it.
more Hugo Adam Bedau quotes
Those who have ever valued liberty for its own sake believed that to be free to choose, and not to be chosen for, is an unalienable ingredient in what makes human beings human.
more Isaiah Berlin quotes
Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.
more Albert J. Beveridge quotes
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.
more John Biggs, Jr. quotes
The layman’s constitutional view is that what he likes is constitutional and that which he doesn’t like is unconstitutional.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
In 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.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
That the king can do no wrong is a necessary and fundamental principle of the English constitution.
more Sir William Blackstone quotes
Some 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.
more Michael Boldin quotes
Whatever power you give politicians and bureaucrats to use against other people will eventually be used by future politicians and bureaucrats against you.
more Michael Boldin quotes
They: 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.
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
[The founding fathers] conferred, as against the Government, the right to be left alone -- the right most valued by civilized men.
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
The 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.
more Justice William J. Brennan quotes
The 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.
more Patrick J. Buchanan quotes
We are so concerned to flatter the majority that we lose sight of how very often it is necessary, in order to preserve freedom for the minority, let alone for the individual, to face that majority down.
more William F. Buckley, Jr. quotes
There are many prices we pay for freedoms secured by the First Amendment; the risk of undue influence is one of them, confirming what we have long known: Freedom is hazardous, but some restraints are worse.
more Justice Warren E. Burger quotes
All men have equal rights, but not to equal things.
more Edmund Burke quotes
It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.
more Edmund Burke quotes
A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various powerful interests, combined in one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in banks.
more John C. Calhoun quotes
Every human being has a right to hear what other wise human beings have spoken to him. It is one of the Rights of Men; a very cruel injustice if you deny it to a man.
more Thomas Carlyle quotes
The spirit of liberty is not merely, as multitudes imagine, a jealousy of our own particular rights, but a respect for the rights of others, and an unwillingness that any man, whether high or low, should be wronged and trampled under foot.
more William Ellery Channing quotes
It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality. There are more television addicts, more baseball and football addicts, more movie addicts, and certainly more alcohol addicts in this country than there are narcotics addicts.
more Shirley Chisholm quotes
Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.
more Sir Winston Churchill quotes
We must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, Trial by Jury, and the English common law, find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence.
more Winston Churchill quotes
A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you.
more Ramsey Clark quotes
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