Under 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.
more A Framer quotes
The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.
more Lord Acton quotes
It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority.
more Lord Acton quotes
If a majority are capable of preferring their own private interest, or that of their families, counties, and party, to that of the nation collectively, some provision must be made in the constitution, in favor of justice, to compel all to respect the common right, the public good, the universal law, in preference to all private and partial considerations... And that the desires of the majority of the people are often for injustice and inhumanity against the minority, is demonstrated by every page of history... To remedy the dangers attendant upon the arbitrary use of power, checks, however multiplied, will scarcely avail without an explicit admission some limitation of the right of the majority to exercise sovereign authority over the individual citizen... In popular governments [democracies], minorities [individuals] constantly run much greater risk of suffering from arbitrary power than in absolute monarchies...
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 I say RIGHTS, for such they have, undoubtedly, antecedent to all earthly government, Rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws, Rights, derived from the great Legislator of the universe.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
Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.
more John Adams quotes
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
Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.
more John Adams quotes
The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.
more John Adams quotes
The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.
more John Adams quotes
When 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.
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
Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have... a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean the characters and conduct of their rulers.
more John Adams quotes
Arms in the hands of individual citizens may be used at individual discretion for the defense of the country, the over-throw of tyranny, or in private self-defense.
more John Adams quotes
But 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.
more John Quincy Adams quotes
Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.
more Samuel Adams quotes
The 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.
more Samuel 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
Do you think someone who is about to rape you is going to stop and think about a condom?
more Eli Adorno quotes
I bid him look into the lives of men as though into a mirror, and from others to take an example for himself.
more Publius Terentius Afer quotes
For what is liberty but the unhampered translation of will into act?
more Dante Alighieri quotes
I call the mind free which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master [and] receives new truth as an angel from Heaven.
more Woody Allen quotes
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture.
more American Library Association quotes
The USA was founded in the name of democracy, equality and individual freedom, but is failing to deliver the fundamental promise of protecting rights for all.
more Amnesty International quotes
It 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.
more Susan B. Anthony quotes
Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.
more Susan B. Anthony quotes
Because of the diverse conditions of humans, it happens that some acts are virtuous to some people, as appropriate and suitable to them, while the same acts are immoral for others, as inappropriate to them.
more Saint Thomas Aquinas quotes
To the size of the state there is a limit, as there is to plants, animals and implements, for none of these retain their facility when they are too large.
more Aristotle quotes
Truth always originates in a minority of one, and every custom begins as a broken precedent.
more Nancy Astor quotes
The use of “religion” as an excuse to repress the freedom of expression and to deny human rights is not confined to any country or time.
more Margaret Atwood quotes
Give me chastity and self-restraint, but do not give it yet.
more Saint Augustine quotes
I have the right to do whatever I wish with my property. If I own a pile of wood, I can set fire to it even if it is currently nailed together in the shape of a barn. Cigarettes may not be healthy for me in the long run, but I have the freedom to smoke them anyway. Drinking alcohol may or may not have negative side effects, but even if it does, the government has no authority to prohibit you from consuming it, even if it is "in your own best interest." Since when do we let the government decide what is or isn't good for us? What the hell does Congress know about nutrition, anyway? (For that matter, what does Congress know about the Constitution?) If the government can use force whenever something is "in our best interest" then government should force everyone to wake up at 6am every morning for calisthenics in the front yard. Fast food establishments should be torn down and replaced with bars that serve carrot juice and alfalfa sprouts, since - "it's in your best interest." This paternalistic attitude that "the government knows best" and that you are merely a helpless child is insulting and reprehensible. Hitler used the same attitude to persuade the Germans to subjugate themselves to the "Fatherland."
more Michael Badnarik quotes
The freedom to share one’s insights and judgments verbally or in writing is, just like the freedom to think, a holy and inalienable right of humanity that, as a universal human right, is above all the rights of princes.
more Carl Friedrich Bahrdt quotes
Nobody can be exactly like me. Even I have trouble doing it.
more Tallulah Bankhead quotes
Self-defense is a part of the law of nature; nor can it be denied the community, even against the king himself.
more William Barclay quotes
What I'd like to see police do is deal with important issues and not these sorts of victimless crimes when society is riddled with problems.
more Alderman Rodney Barket quotes
Thought that is silenced is always rebellious. Majorities, of course, are often mistaken. This is why the silencing of minorities is necessarily dangerous. Criticism and dissent are the indispensable antidote to major delusions.
more Alan Barth quotes
If every person has the right to defend -- even by force -- his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right -- its reason for existing, its lawfulness -- is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, 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 individuals or groups.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame and danger that their acts would otherwise involve... But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn't belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish that law without delay ... No legal plunder; this is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony and logic.
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
[Natural rights are] moral claims to those spheres of action which are necessary for the welfare of the individual and the development of his personality.
more Miner Searle Bates quotes
The Supreme Court is steadily eroding the protections against police excess promised by the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
more Dan Baum quotes
The [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.
more Dan Baum quotes
Members of society must obey the law because they personally believe that its commands are justified.
more Judge David Bazelon 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
But to manipulate men, to propel them toward goals which you – the social reformers – see, but they may not, is to deny their human essence, to treat them as objects without wills of their own, and therefore to degrade them.
more Isaiah Berlin quotes
Republicans don't know how to defend morally an individual's right to achieve wealth and to keep it, and that is why they fail. ... It's part and parcel with their ambivalence over the individualist heritage of the nation. ... One of the things that people have to understand is that the American Revolution was truly an epic revolution in the way individuals were perceived in relation to the rest of the society.  Throughout history individuals had always been cogs in some machine; they'd always been something to be sacrificed for the king, the tribe, the gang, the chieftain, the society around them, the race, whatever, and the real revolution, in America especially, was a moral revolution.  It was a moral revolution in that ... suddenly, with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the individual, his life, his well-being, his property, his happiness became central to our values, and thatis what really made America unique.  People came here from all over the world to try to escape the kind of oppression they had and experienced in the past. They came here for freedom; they came here for self-expression and self-realization, and America offered them that kind of a place.
more Robert Bidinotto quotes
Liberty, whether natural, civil, or political, is the lawful power in the individual to exercise his corresponding rights. It is greatly favored in law.
more Henry Campbell Black quotes
An unconditional right to say what one pleases about public affairs is what I consider to be the minimum guarantee of the First Amendment.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
The interest of the people lies in being able to join organizations, advocate causes, and make political “mistakes” without being subjected to governmental penalties.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
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