I cannot accept, your canon that we are to judge pope and king unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they do no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way against holders of power ... Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
more Lord Acton quotes
The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning.... And, even since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and eyes.
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
Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.
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 I say RIGHTS, for such they have, undoubtedly, antecedent to all earthly government, Rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws, Rights, derived from the great Legislator of the universe.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
We think ourselves possessed, or, at least, we boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects, and of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, and yet how far are we from these exalted privileges in fact! There exists, I believe, throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny or doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is punished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel. In England itself it is punished by boring through the tongue with a red-hot poker. In America it is not better; even in our own Massachusetts, which I believe, upon the whole, is as temperate and moderate in religious zeal as most of the States, a law was made in the latter end of the last century, repealing the cruel punishments of the former laws, but substituting fine and imprisonment upon all those blasphemers upon any book of the Old Testament or New. Now, what free inquiry, when a writer must surely encounter the risk of fine or imprisonment for adducing any argument for investigating into the divine authority of those books? Who would run the risk of translating Dupuis? But I cannot enlarge upon this subject, though I have it much at heart. I think such laws a great embarrassment, great obstructions to the improvement of the human mind. Books that cannot bear examination, certainly ought not to be established as divine inspiration by penal laws. It is true, few persons appear desirous to put such laws in execution, and it is also true that some few persons are hardy enough to venture to depart from them. But as long as they continue in force as laws, the human mind must make an awkward and clumsy progress in its investigations. I wish they were repealed. The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and unchangeable, and will bear examination forever, but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, which I think will not bear examination, and they ought to be separated. Adieu.
more John Adams quotes
All 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.
more John Adams quotes
Be not intimidated... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.
more John Adams quotes
There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.
more John Adams quotes
Liberty, according to my metaphysics, is an intellectual quality, an attribute that belongs not to fate nor chance. Neither possesses it, neither is capable of it. There is nothing moral or immoral in the idea of it. The definition of it is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power; it can elect between objects, indifferent in point of morality, neither morally good nor morally evil.
more John Adams quotes
Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!" But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell.
more John Adams quotes
We 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.
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
Statesmen, 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.
more John Adams quotes
We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.
more John Adams quotes
When I went home to my family in May, 1770, from the town meeting in Boston, which was the first I had ever attended, and where I had been chosen in my absence, without any solicitation, one of their representatives, I said to my wife, "I have accepted a seat in the House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and to the ruin of our children. I give you this warning, that you may prepare your mind for your fate." She burst into tears, but instantly cried out in a transport of magnanimity, "Well, I am willing in this cause to run all risks with you, and be ruined with you, if you are ruined." These were times, my friend, in Boston, which tried women's souls as well as men's.
more John Adams quotes
Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
more John Quincy Adams quotes
A democratic despotism is like a theocracy: it assumes its own correctness.
more Walter Bagehot quotes
Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.
more Paul Begala quotes
Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen... If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
Anybody that wants the Presidency so much that he'll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.
more David Broder quotes
What is right and what is practicable are two different things.
more James Buchanan quotes
I like the noise of democracy.
more James Buchanan quotes
All lawful authority, legislative, and executive, originates from the people.
more James Burgh quotes
Freedom and the power to choose should not be the privilege of wealth. They are the birthright of every American.
more George Herbert Walker Bush quotes
It is the sacred principles enshrined in the UN Charter to which we will henceforth pledge our allegiance.
more George Herbert Walker Bush quotes
[The war in Iraq is] a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times...a new world order can emerge.
more George Herbert Walker Bush quotes
My vision of a 'new world order' foresees a United Nations with a revitalized peacekeeping function.
more George Herbert Walker Bush quotes
It was just one year ago that the world saw this new, invigorated United Nations in action as this Council stood fast against aggression and stood for the sacred principles enshrined in the U.N. Charter. And now it's time to step forward again, make the internal reforms, accelerate the revitalization, accept the responsibilities necessary for a vigorous and effective United Nations. I want to assure the members of this Council and the Secretary-General, the United Nations can count on our full support in this task.
more George Herbert Walker Bush quotes
You know what's interesting about Washington? It's the kind of place where second-guessing has become second nature.
more George Herbert Walker Bush quotes
The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We've removed an ally of al Qaeda.
more George W. Bush quotes
We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge.
more George W. Bush quotes
They misunderestimated me.
more George W. Bush quotes
We will fight with full force and might of the United States military.
more George W. Bush quotes
I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office and foreign policy matters with war on my mind.
more George W. Bush quotes
We're too great a nation to allow the evildoers to affect our soul.
more George W. Bush quotes
Our enemies are a radical network of terrorists -- and every government that supports them.
more George W. Bush quotes
We have every reason to assume the worst.
more George W. Bush quotes
I want him [Saddam Hussein]. I want -- I want justice. There is an old poster seen out west. As I recall, it said, Wanted Dead or Alive.
more George W. Bush quotes
And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for pre-emptive action.
more George W. Bush quotes
Saddam Hussein's regime is a gray and gathering danger.
more George W. Bush quotes
There will be no going back to the era before September 11th, 2001, to false comfort in a dangerous world.
more George W. Bush quotes
Today 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.
more George W. Bush quotes
Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.
more George W. Bush quotes
The choice is his [Saddam Hussein's], and if he does not disarm, the United States of America will lead a coalition and disarm him in the name of Peace.
more George W. Bush quotes
We need an energy bill that encourages consumption.
more George W. Bush quotes
There are some who feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there [in Iraq]. My answer is, 'Bring 'em on.'
more George W. Bush quotes
There is no telling how many wars it will take to secure freedom in the homeland.
more George W. Bush quotes
I 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!
more George W. Bush quotes
We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th.
more George W. Bush quotes
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