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Quotations about Liberty and Power

483 quotations in 29 topics.

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition

Tocqueville on Centralised Government in Canada and Decentralised Government in America (1856) Alexis de Tocqueville 2014-05-19
John Stuart Mill on “the sacred right of insurrection” (1862) John Stuart Mill 2011-04-17
Frederick Douglass makes a New Year’s resolution to gain his freedom from slavery (1836) Frederick Douglass 2009-12-28
Emerson on the right of self-ownership of slaves to themselves and to their labor (1863) Ralph Waldo Emerson 2009-12-14
Sir William Blackstone declares unequivocally that slavery is “repugnant to reason, and the principles of natural law” and that it has no place in English law (1753) Sir William Blackstone 2009-01-05
Harriet Martineau on the institution of slavery, “restless slaves”, and the Bill of Rights (1838) Harriet Martineau 2008-08-25
John Stuart Mill on the “atrocities” committed by Governor Eyre and his troops in putting down the Jamaica rebellion (1866) John Stuart Mill 2007-10-15
Jeremy Bentham relates a number of “abominations” to the French National Convention urging them to emancipate their colonies (1793) Jeremy Bentham 2007-08-06
Thomas Clarkson on the “glorious” victory of the abolition of the slave trade in England (1808) Thomas Clarkson 2007-03-12
Jean-Baptiste Say argues that home-consumers bear the brunt of the cost of maintaining overseas colonies and that they also help support the lavish lifestyles of the planter and merchant classes (1817) Jean Baptiste Say 2007-02-23
J.B. Say argues that colonial slave labor is really quite profitable for the slave owners at the expense of the slaves and the home consumers (1817) Jean Baptiste Say 2007-02-22
John Millar argues that as a society becomes wealthier domestic freedom increases, even to the point where slavery is thought to be pernicious and economically inefficient (1771) John Millar 2006-07-24
Adam Smith notes that colonial governments might exercise relative freedom in the metropolis but impose tyranny in the distant provinces (1776) Adam Smith 2006-06-19
Less well known is Thomas Jefferson’s First Draft of the Declaration of Independence in which he denounced the slave trade as an “execrable Commerce” and slavery itself as a “cruel war against nature itself” (1776) Thomas Jefferson 2005-07-04

Economics

Destutt de Tracy on society as “nothing but a succession of exchanges” (1817) Antoine Louis Claude, Comte Destutt de Tracy 2014-08-11
Arthur Seldon on the problem of “who guards us from the guardians”? (1990) Arthur Seldon 2014-06-23
Destutt de Tracy on the mutually beneficial nature of exchange (1817) Antoine Louis Claude, Comte Destutt de Tracy 2014-06-09
Philip Wicksteed on how impersonal economic relations help others (1910) Philip H. Wicksteed 2014-04-07
Philip Wicksteed’s positive vision of the “cash nexus” (1910) Philip H. Wicksteed 2013-10-21
Spooner on the “natural right to labor” and to acquire all one honestly can (1846) Lysander Spooner 2013-08-19
Adam Smith debunks that idea that when it comes to public debt “we owe it to ourselves” (1776) Adam Smith 2013-04-08
Lao Tzu and the Tao of laissez-faire (6thC BC) Lao Tzu 2013-04-01
Paul Heyne on THE economic way of thinking (1995) Paul Heyne 2013-03-25
Destutt de Tracy on the damage which government debt and the class which lives off loans to the state cause the industrious classes (1817) Antoine Louis Claude, Comte Destutt de Tracy 2013-01-20
James Buchanan on “process” and the market order (1982) James M. Buchanan 2013-01-10
Ludwig Lachmann and the free market as a leveling process in the distribution of wealth (1956) Ludwig M. Lachmann 2013-01-07
Horace Say on “I, Pin” and the international division of labor (1852) Horace Émile Say 2012-10-15
Bentham on the liberty of contracts and lending money at interest (1787) Jeremy Bentham 2012-09-17
Bastiat on trade as a the mutual exchange of “a service for another service” (1848) Frédéric Bastiat 2012-07-23
Alexander Pope on how private “self love” can lead to the public good (1732) Alexander Pope 2012-04-23
Spencer on spontaneous order produced by “the beneficent working of social forces” (1879) Herbert Spencer 2011-07-18
Bastiat on the state vs. laissez-faire (1848) Frédéric Bastiat 2011-06-20
Adam Smith on the greater productivity brought about by the division of labor and technological innovation (1760s) Adam Smith 2011-06-06
Mises on the interconnection between economic and political freedom (1949) Ludwig von Mises 2011-02-07
Bastiat asks the fundamental question of political economy: what should be the size of the state? (1850) Frédéric Bastiat 2010-10-11
Bentham on the proper role of government: “Be Quiet” and “Stand out of my sunshine” (1843) Jeremy Bentham 2010-10-04
Wicksteed on the subjective theory of value and on opportunity costs (1910) Philip H. Wicksteed 2010-08-02
Kirzner defines economics as the reconciliation of conflicting ends given the existence of inescapable scarcity (1960) Israel M. Kirzner 2010-06-29
Frank Taussig argues for the reverse of a common misconception about the relationship between high wages and the use of machinery (1915) Frank William Taussig 2009-10-19
Jean-Baptiste Say argues that there is a world of difference between private consumption and public consumption; an increase in the latter does nothing to increase public wealth (1803) Jean Baptiste Say 2008-06-16
Ludwig von Mises argues that the division of labor and human cooperation are the two sides of the same coin and are not antagonistic to each other (1949) Ludwig von Mises 2007-04-16
Lord Macaulay writes a devastating review of Southey’s Colloquies in which the Poet Laureate’s ignorance of the real condition of the working class in England is exposed (1830) Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay 2007-03-13
Adam Ferguson observed that social structures of all kinds were “the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design” (1782) Adam Ferguson 2006-08-14
Forrest McDonald argues that the Founding Fathers envisaged a new economic order based upon Lockean notions of private property and the creation of the largest contiguous area of free trade in the world (2006) Forrest McDonald 2006-04-24
Montesquieu thought that commerce improves manners and cures “the most destructive prejudices” (1748) Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu 2006-01-27
Bernard Mandeville concludes his fable of the bees with a moral homily on the virtues of peace, hard work, and diligence (1705) Bernard Mandeville 2005-11-07
Bernard Mandeville uses a fable about bees to show how prosperity and good order comes about through spontaneous order (1705) Bernard Mandeville 2005-09-05
Adam Smith argued that the “propensity to truck, barter, and exchange” was inherent in human nature and gave rise to things such as the division of labour (1776) Adam Smith 2005-04-04
Voltaire on the Benefits which Trade and Economic Abundance bring to People living in the Present Age (1736) Voltaire 2004-09-13
Adam Smith on the natural ordering Tendency of Free Markets, or what he called the “Invisible Hand” (1776) Adam Smith 2004-05-31

Education

Adam Smith on compulsory attendance in the classroom (1776) Adam Smith 2012-05-28
The ex-slave Frederick Douglass reveals that reading speeches by English politicians produced in him a deep love of liberty and hatred of oppression (1882) Frederick Douglass 2007-09-03
Forrest McDonald discusses the reading habits of colonial Americans and concludes that their thinking about politics and their shared values was based upon their wide reading, especially of history (1978) Forrest McDonald 2006-04-17
John Locke tells a “gentleman” how important reading and thinking is to a man of his station whose “proper calling” should be the service of his country (late 1600s) John Locke 2005-04-11
Adam Smith on the rigorous education of young Fitzmaurice (1759) Adam Smith 2004-07-05

Food & Drink

William Graham Sumner on how “society” helps the drunkard in the gutter (1883) William Graham Sumner 2014-09-15
Benjamin Franklin on killing and cooking a turkey with electricity (1748) Benjamin Franklin 2012-11-22
Bastiat, the 1830 Revolution, and the Spilling of Wine not Blood (1830) Frédéric Bastiat 2012-08-05
Lysander Spooner on the idea that laws against “vice” (victimless crimes) are unjust (1875) Lysander Spooner 2010-03-31
Herbert Spencer on the pitfalls of arguing with friends at the dinner table (1897) Herbert Spencer 2009-11-23
David Hume examines the pride of the turkey (and other creatures) (1739) David Hume 2008-11-24
As if in answer to Erasmus' prayer, Spencer does become a Philosopher of the Kitchen arguing that “if there is a wrong in respect of the taking of food (and drink) there must also be a right” (1897) Herbert Spencer 2004-11-29
Erasmus argues that Philosophizing is all very well but there is also a need for there to be a Philosopher of the Kitchen (1518) Desiderius Erasmus 2004-11-22
Adam Smith on how Government Regulation and Taxes might drive a Man to Drink (1766) Adam Smith 2004-07-12

Free Trade

Henry George on how trade sanctions hurt domestic consumers (1886) Henry George 2014-09-01
Cobden on the folly of using government force to “protect commerce” (1836) Richard Cobden 2014-06-16
Adam Smith on the “liberal system” of free trade (1776) Adam Smith 2014-02-17
John Taylor on how a republic can “fleece its citizens” just as well as a monarchy (1822) John Taylor 2014-02-03
Henry George on a “free trade America” as the real city set on a hill (1886) Henry George 2013-06-03
The 12th Day of Christmas: Frank Chodorov on free trade as the harbinger of goodwill among men and peace on earth (1940) Frank Chodorov 2013-01-05
The 9th Day of Christmas: Condy Raguet on the anti-Christian character of protection and the need for peace on earth (1832) Condy Raguet 2013-01-02
Guyot on the protectionist tyranny (1906) Yves Guyot 2012-07-16
Adam Smith on how “furious monopolists” will fight to the bitter end to keep their privileges (1776) Adam Smith 2012-03-19
Bastiat on the most universally useful freedom, namely to work and to trade (1847) Frédéric Bastiat 2011-10-09
Richard Cobden’s “I have a dream” speech about a world in which free trade is the governing principle (1846) Richard Cobden 2011-08-08
Bastiat on the spirit of free trade as a reform of the mind itself (1847) Frédéric Bastiat 2011-08-05
William Grampp shows how closely connected Richard Cobden’s desire for free trade was to his desire for peace (1960) William Dyer Grampp 2010-05-25
Yves Guyot accuses all those who seek Protection from foreign competition of being “Socialists” (1893) Yves Guyot 2010-04-20
Richard Cobden outlines his strategy of encouraging more people to acquire land and thus the right to vote in order to defeat the “landed oligarchy” who ruled England and imposed the “iniquity” of the Corn Laws (1845) Richard Cobden 2010-01-11
Condy Raguet lays out a set of basic principles of free trade among which is the idea that governments cannot create wealth by means of legislation and that individuals are better judges of the best way to use their capital and labor than governments (183 Condy Raguet 2009-06-29
John Ramsay McCulloch argues that smuggling is “wholly the result of vicious commercial and financial legislation” and that it could be ended immediately by abolishing this legislation (1899) John Ramsay McCulloch 2009-05-11
Adam Smith argues that retaliation in a trade war can sometimes force the offending country to lower its tariffs, but more often than not the reverse happens (1776) Adam Smith 2009-02-09
Harriet Martineau condemns tariffs as a “vicious aristocratic principle” designed to harm the ordinary working man and woman (1861) Harriet Martineau 2007-09-17
Jane Haldimand Marcet, in a popular tale written for ordinary readers, shows the benefits to workers of foreign trade, especially at Christmas time (1833) Jane Haldimand Marcet 2006-12-04

Freedom Of Speech

John Milton on the tyranny of government licensed printing (1644) John Milton 2014-06-02
Benjamin Constant and the Freedom of the Press (1815) Benjamin Constant 2011-09-19
Jefferson’s preference for “newspapers without government” over “government without newspapers” (1787) Thomas Jefferson 2010-12-13
John Milton opposed censorship for many reasons but one thought sticks in the mind, that “he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself” (1644) John Milton 2006-05-15
John Milton gave a speech before Parliament defending the right of freedom of speech in which he likened the government censors to an “oligarchy” and free speech to a “flowery crop of knowledge” (1644) John Milton 2005-04-25

Law

Frédéric Bastiat asks what came first, property or law? (1850) Frédéric Bastiat 2014-08-21
Sir Edward Coke declares that your house is your “Castle and Fortress” (1604) Sir Edward Coke 2014-07-28
Montesquieu and law as a fishing net (1720) Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu 2014-03-24
Tiedeman on the victimless crime of vagrancy (1900) Christopher G. Tiedeman 2014-03-10
James Wilson argues that it is the people, not the prince, who is superior in matters of legal sovereignty (1790) James Wilson 2013-05-20
Jasay on the superiority of “spontaneous conventions” over “legal frameworks” (2007) Anthony de Jasay 2012-12-10
Plucknett contrasts the flexibility and adaptability of customary law with the rigidity and remoteness of state legislation (1956) Theodore Frank Thomas Plucknett 2012-10-29
Plucknett on the Renaissance state’s “war against the idea of law” (1956) Theodore Frank Thomas Plucknett 2012-10-01
Algernon Sidney argues that a law that is not just is not a law (1683) Algernon Sidney 2012-06-25
Pascal and the absurd notion that the principles of justice vary across state borders (1669) Blaise Pascal 2012-06-05
Tiedeman states that the police powers under the constitution are strictly limited to enforcing the maxim: “use your own property in such a manner as not to injure that of another” (1886) Thomas Kingsmill Abbott 2012-04-09
Pollock on “our lady” the common law and her devoted servants (1911) Sir Frederick Pollock 2011-07-11
Algernon Sidney on the need for the law to be “deaf, inexorable, inflexible” and not subject to the arbitrary will of the ruler (1698) Algernon Sidney 2011-03-01
Sir Edward Coke explains one of the key sections of Magna Carta on English liberties (1642) Sir Edward Coke 2011-01-31
Spooner states the importance of the 9th Amendment to the American Constitution which protects the natural rights of the people not enumerated in the 1st 8 Amendments (1886) Lysander Spooner 2010-05-12
Lysander Spooner on Jury Nullification as the "palladium of liberty" against the tyranny of government (1852) Lysander Spooner 2009-08-31
Cesare Beccaria says that torture is cruel and barbaric and a violation of the principle that no one should be punished until proven guilty in a court of law; in other words it is the “right of power” (1764) Cesare Bonesana di Beccaria 2009-06-15
Sir William Blackstone provides a strong defence of personal liberty and concludes that to “secretly hurry” a man to prison is a “dangerous engine of arbitrary government” (1753) Sir William Blackstone 2009-05-04
John Adams predicts a glorious future for America under the new constitution and is in “reverence and awe” at its future prospects (1787) John Adams 2008-04-28
The IVth Amendment to the American Constitution states that the people shall be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches and seizures and that no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause (1788) James McClellan 2007-08-27
John Adams argues that the British Empire is not a “true” empire but a form of a “republic” where the rule of law operates (1763) John Adams 2007-01-29
Bruno Leoni notes the strong connection between economic freedom and decentralized legal decision-making (1961) Bruno Leoni 2006-10-30
The legal historian Hazeltine wrote in an essay commemorating the 700th anniversary of Magna Carta that the American colonists regarded Magna Carta as the “bulwark of their rights as Englishmen” (1917) Henry Elliot Malden 2006-10-23
John Locke on the idea that “wherever law ends, tyranny begins” (1689) John Locke 2006-10-02
J.S. Mill in a speech before parliament denounced the suspension of Habeas Corpus and the use of flogging in Ireland, saying that those who ordered this “deserved flogging as much as any of those who were flogged by his orders” (1866) John Stuart Mill 2006-02-13
Adam Smith argues that the Habeas Corpus Act is a great security against the tyranny of the king (1763) Adam Smith 2005-11-14
Cicero urges the Senate to apply the laws equally in order to protect the reputation of Rome and to provide justice for the victims of a corrupt magistrate (1stC BC) Marcus Tullius Cicero 2005-10-31
Bruno Leoni on the different Ways in which Needs can be satisfied, either voluntarily through the Market or coercively through the State (1963) Bruno Leoni 2004-08-30
Sir Edward Coke defends British Liberties and the Idea of Habeas Corpus in the Petition of Right before Parliament (1628) Sir Edward Coke 2004-08-16

Liberty

Guizot on man’s unquenchable desire for liberty and free political institutions (1820-22) François Guizot 2014-09-08
Liberty in the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette 2014-07-14
Edmund Burke on liberty as “social” not “individual” liberty (1789) Edmund Burke 2014-03-31
Jacques Maritain on the dynamism of freedom (1938) Jacques Maritain 2014-03-17
Mises on liberalism and the battle of ideas (1927) Ludwig von Mises 2014-02-24
Richard Overton argues that to submit to the unjust rule by another is to violate one’s right of self ownership (1646) Richard Overton 2013-11-11
Guizot on how intellectual and political diversity and competition created a unique European civilization (1828) François Guizot 2013-09-16
Herbert Spencer on the prospects for liberty (1882) Herbert Spencer 2013-09-09
Bastiat’s has a utopian dream of drastically reducing the size of the French state (1847) Frédéric Bastiat 2013-08-28
John Millar on liberty as an unintended consequence of a struggle between tyrants (1787) John Millar 2013-06-16
Kant on the natural right to seek happiness in one’s own way (1791) Immanuel Kant 2013-03-18
Tocqueville on the true love of liberty (1856) Alexis de Tocqueville 2013-02-04
Madison on “Parchment Barriers” and the defence of liberty I (1788) James Madison 2012-12-17
Simeon Howard on liberty as the opposition to “external force and constraint” (1773) Charles S. Hyneman 2012-10-22

Literature & Music

Gustave de Beaumont and Irish liberty (1839) Gustave de Beaumont 2013-02-11
Milton on Eve’s discovery of the benefits of the division of labor in the Garden of Eden (1667) John Milton 2012-07-02
Shakespeare on sweet love remembered (1609) William Shakespeare 2012-01-30
Bach asks God “when will I die”? (1700) Johann Sebastian Bach 2012-01-09
Thierry on the need for songs about our lost liberties which will act as a barrier to encroaching power (1845) Augustin Thierry 2010-02-22
On Achilles' new shield Vulcan depicts the two different types of cities which humans can build on earth; one based on peace and the rule of law; the other based on war, killing, and pillage (900 BC) Homer 2010-02-11
Beethoven’s hero Florestan in the opera Fidelio laments the loss of his liberty for speaking the truth to power (1805) Ludwig van Beethoven 2009-07-06
Voltaire in Candide says that “tending one’s own garden” is not only a private activity but also productive (1759) Voltaire 2009-06-08
Augustin Thierry relates the heroic tale of the Kentishmen who defeat William the Conqueror and so are able to keep their ancient laws and liberties (1856) Augustin Thierry 2009-06-01
Confucius edited this collection of poems which contains a poem about “Yellow Birds” who ravenously eat the crops of the local people, thus alienating them completely (520 BC) Confucius 2008-05-12
Shakespeare has King Henry IV reflect on the reasons for invading the Holy Land, namely to distract people from domestic civil war and to “march all one way” under his banner (1597) William Shakespeare 2008-03-24
J.S. Bach and Martin Luther on how God (the “feste Burg”) helps us gain our freedom (1730) Johann Sebastian Bach 2007-12-03
Percy Bysshe Shelley on the new Constitution of Naples which he hoped would be “as a mirror to make … blind slaves see” (1820) Percy Bysshe Shelley 2007-10-08
Shakespeare in Pericles on how the rich and powerful are like whales who eat up the harding working “little fish” (1608) William Shakespeare 2006-11-13
In Measure for Measure Shakespeare has Isabella denounce the Duke’s deputy for being corrupted by power, “it is excellent To have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant” (1623) William Shakespeare 2006-10-16
In Percy Shelley’s poem Liberty liberty is compared to a force of nature sweeping the globe, where “tyrants and slaves are like shadows of night” which will disappear in “the van of the morning light” (1824) Percy Bysshe Shelley 2006-07-17
In Shakespeare’s The Tempest Caliban complains about the way the European lord Prospero taught him language and science then enslaved him and dispossessed him of the island on which he was born (1611) William Shakespeare 2006-06-12
In Shakespeare’s Henry V the king is too easily persuaded by his advisors that the English economy will continue to function smoothly, like obedient little honey-bees in their hive, while he is away with his armies conquering France (1598) William Shakespeare 2006-05-29
In Shakespeare’s Henry V the soldier Williams confronts the king by saying that “few die well that die in a battle” and that “a heavy reckoning” awaits the king that led them to it (1598) William Shakespeare 2006-05-22
Aeschylus has Prometheus denounce the lord of heaven for unjustly punishing him for giving mankind the gift of fire (5thC BC) Aeschylus 2005-10-24
John Milton in Paradise Regained has Christ deplore the “false glory” which comes from military conquest and the despoiling of nations in battle (1671) John Milton 2005-10-17
With the return of spring the memories of Petrarch’s beloved Laura awaken a new pang in him (late 14thC) Francesco Petrarch 2005-05-16
In Joseph Addison’s play Cato Cato is asked what it would take for him to be Caesar’s “friend” – his answer is that Caesar would have to first “disband his legions” and then “restore the commonwealth to liberty” (1713) Joseph Addison 2005-02-28
During the American Revolution Thomas Paine penned a patriotic song called “Hail Great Republic” which is to be sung to the tune of Rule Britannia (of course!) (1776) Thomas Paine 2004-12-13
Shakespeare farewells his lover in a Sonnet using many mercantile and legal metaphors (1609) William Shakespeare 2004-10-11

Money & Banking

William Leggett on the separation of bank and state (1837) William Leggett 2014-05-26
Mises on the State Theory of Money (1912) Ludwig von Mises 2013-12-15
William Cobbett opposes the government bail-out at taxpayer expence of those who lent money to the state (1815) William Cobbett 2013-07-22
The 11th Day of Christmas: Mises on the gold standard and peace on earth (1934) Ludwig von Mises 2013-01-04
David Ricardo on the “mere increase of money” (1809) David Ricardo 2012-05-21
Bagehot on the monopoly central bank (1873) Walter Bagehot 2012-01-23
Mises on classical liberalism and the gold standard (1928) Ludwig von Mises 2011-10-17
Bagehot on Government, the banking system, and moral hazard (1873) Walter Bagehot 2011-01-11
Mises on the gold standard as the symbol of international peace and prosperity (1949) Ludwig von Mises 2010-11-22
Ludwig von Mises argues that sound money is an instrument for the protection of civil liberties and a means of limiting government power (1912) Ludwig von Mises 2009-04-06
Ludwig von Mises lays out five fundamental truths of monetary expansion (1949) Ludwig von Mises 2009-03-23
Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Taylor condemns the system of banking as “a blot” on the constitution, as corrupt, and that long-term government debt was “swindling” future generations (1816) Thomas Jefferson 2008-11-10
Ludwig von Mises identifies the source of the disruption of the world monetary order as the failed policies of governments and their central banks (1934) Ludwig von Mises 2008-10-27
Ludwig von Mises shows the inevitability of economic slumps after a period of credit expansion (1951) Ludwig von Mises 2008-10-13
Tom Paine on the "Decline and Fall of the English System of Finance" (1796) Thomas Paine 2008-09-08
Henry Vaughan argues that it is the voluntary and “universal concurrence of mankind”, not the laws, which makes money acceptable as a medium of exchange (1675) Henry Rice Vaughan 2008-01-21
Friedrich Hayek rediscovers the importance of Henry Thornton’s early 19th century work on “paper credit” and its role in financing the British Empire (1802) Henry Thornton 2007-10-22

Natural Rights

John Locke on the rights to life, liberty, and property of ourselves and others (1689) John Locke 2014-08-29
James Wilson asks if man exists for the sake of government, or is government instituted for the sake of man? (1791) James Wilson 2014-08-04
James Mackintosh on the relationship between justice and utility (1791) Sir James Mackintosh 2014-04-14
John Lilburne on one’s duty to respect “the Right, Due, and Propriety of all the Sons of Adam, as men” (1646) John Lilburne 2013-11-25
Heineccius argues that no man should be deprived of anything which he has received by nature, or has justly acquired (1738) Johann Gottlieb Heineccius 2013-08-12
John Locke on “perfect freedom” in the state of nature (1689) John Locke 2011-07-26
Richard Overton shoots An Arrow against all Tyrants from the prison of Newgate into the prerogative bowels of the arbitrary House of Lords and all other usurpers and tyrants whatsoever (1646): Richard Overton 2009-08-13
Sir William Blackstone differentiates between “absolute rights” of individuals (natural rights which exist prior to the state) and social rights (contractural rights which evolve later) (1753) Sir William Blackstone 2009-05-05
Herbert Spencer concludes from his principle of equal freedom that individuals have the Right to Ignore the State (1851) Herbert Spencer 2007-02-17

Odds & Ends

Adam Smith on the ridiculousness of romantic love (1759) Adam Smith 2012-02-14
Emerson on selecting the right gift to give at Christmas and New Year (1844) Ralph Waldo Emerson 2011-01-01
Edward Robertson points out the bureaucratic blundering and inefficiency of the Postal Monopoly during the Christmas rush period (1891) Edward Stanley Robertson 2008-12-15
The Earl of Shaftesbury states that civility and politeness is a consequence of liberty by which “we polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides” (1709) Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury 2005-12-05
Edward Gibbon reveals the reasons why he wrote on the decline of the Roman Empire, “the greatest, perhaps, and most awful scene in the history of mankind” (1776) Edward Gibbon 2005-08-08
Ambroise Clément draws the distinction between two different kinds of charity: true voluntary charity and coerced government “charity” which is really a tax (1852) 2005-01-10
Frederick Millar is upset that especially at Christmas time the bad effects of the letter-carrying monopoly of the Post Office are felt by the public (1891) Frederick Millar 2004-12-20

Origin Of Government

Sidney argues that a People’s liberty is a gift of nature and exists prior to any government (1683) Algernon Sidney 2010-11-15
John Stuart Mill discusses the origins of the state whereby the “productive class” seeks protection from one “member of the predatory class” in order to gain some security of property (1848) John Stuart Mill 2009-08-10
Étienne de la Boétie provides one of the earliest and clearest explanations of why the suffering majority obeys the minority who rule over them; it is an example of voluntary servitude (1576) Etienne de la Boétie 2009-07-07
David Hume on the origin of government in warfare, and the “perpetual struggle” between Liberty and Power (1777) David Hume 2007-08-07
Franz Oppenheimer argues that there are two fundamentally opposed ways of acquiring wealth: the “political means” through coercion, and the “economic means” through peaceful trade (1922) Franz Oppenheimer 2007-02-18
Tom Paine asks how it is that established governments came into being, his answer, is "banditti of ruffians" seized control and turned themselves into monarchs (1792) Thomas Paine 2007-01-01
Frédéric Bastiat, while pondering the nature of war, concluded that society had always been divided into two classes – those who engaged in productive work and those who lived off their backs (1850) Frédéric Bastiat 2006-01-16
Herbert Spencer makes a distinction between the “militant type of society” based upon violence and the “industrial type of society” based upon peaceful economic activity (1882) Herbert Spencer 2005-06-13
David Hume ponders why the many can be governed so easily by the few and concludes that both force and opinion play a role (1777) David Hume 2005-03-28
David Hume argued that Individual Liberty emerged slowly out of the “violent system of government” which had earlier prevailed in Europe (1778) David Hume 2004-11-08

Parties & Elections

James Mill on Who are to watch the watchmen? (1835) James Mill 2014-08-25
John Trenchard on the real nature of political parties (1721) John Trenchard 2014-02-17
James Bryce on the Party Primaries and Conventions in the American political system (1888) Viscount James Bryce 2012-08-27
Bentham on how “the ins” and “the outs” lie to the people in order to get into power (1843) Jeremy Bentham 2012-02-06
Cobden reminds the Liberals in Parliament that the motto of their party is “Economy, Retrenchment, and Reform!” (1862) Richard Cobden 2011-08-15
Bastiat on the scramble for political office (1848) Frédéric Bastiat 2011-03-07
Thomas Gordon on how the “Spirit of Party” substitutes party principles for moral principles, thus making it possible for the worst to get on top (1744) Thomas Gordon 2010-12-06
Spencer on voting as a poor instrument for protecting our rights to life, liberty, and property (1879) Herbert Spencer 2010-10-31
Bruce Smith on the misconceived and harmful legislation produced by voting as an inevitable though temporary case of “measles” (1887) Bruce Smith 2010-08-23
Spencer on voting in elections as a screen behind which the wirepullers turn the sovereign people into a puppet (1882) Herbert Spencer 2010-08-16
Captain John Clarke asserts the right of all men to vote in the formation of a new constitution by right of the property they have in themselves (1647) John Clarke 2009-08-17
Gustave de Molinari argues that political parties are like “actual armies” who are trained to seize power and reward their supporters with jobs and special privileges (1904) Gustave de Molinari 2009-01-12
James Madison on the dangers of elections resulting in overbearing majorities who respect neither justice nor individual rights, Federalist 10 (1788) James Madison 2008-11-04
Bruno Leoni points out that elections are seriously flawed because majority rule is incompatible with individual freedom of choice (1961) Bruno Leoni 2008-11-03
Bruno Leoni argues that expressing one’s economic choice as a consumer in a free market is quite different from making a political choice by means of voting (1961) Bruno Leoni 2008-02-11
Herbert Spencer takes “philosophical politicians” to task for claiming that government promotes the “public good” when in fact they are seeking “party aggrandisement” (1843) Herbert Spencer 2007-02-25
Lance Banning argues that within a decade of the creation of the US Constitution the nation was engaged in a bitter battle over the soul of the American Republic (2004) Lance Banning 2006-02-06
James Bryce tries to explain to a European audience why “great men” are no longer elected to America’s highest public office (1888) Viscount James Bryce 2005-02-21
Auberon Herbert discusses the “essence of government” when the veneer of elections are stripped away (1894) Auberon Herbert 2005-01-31

Philosophy

Francis Hutcheson’s early formulation of the principle of “the greatest Happiness for the greatest Numbers” (1726) Francis Hutcheson 2013-02-25
Marcus Aurelius on using reason to live one’s life “straight and right” (170) Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 2012-06-11
Plato believed that great souls and creative talents produce “offspring” which can be enjoyed by others: wisdom, virtue, poetry, art, temperance, justice, and the law (340s BC) Plato 2008-04-07
Aristotle insists that man is either a political animal (the natural state) or an outcast like a “bird which flies alone” (4thC BC) Aristotle 2008-03-17
Wilhelm von Humboldt argued that freedom was the “Grand and Indispensable Condition” for individual flourishing (1792) Wilhelm von Humboldt 2005-07-25
Thomas Hobbes sings a hymn of praise for Reason as “the pace”, scientific knowledge is “the way”, and the benefit of mankind is “the end” (1651) Thomas Hobbes 2005-02-07
Voltaire lampooned the excessively optimistic Leibnitzian philosophers in his philosophic tale Candide by exposing his characters to one disaster after another, like a tsunami in Lisbon, to show that this was not “the best of all possible worlds” Voltaire 2005-01-03
Jean Barbeyrac on the Virtues which all free Men should have (1718) Jean Barbeyrac 2004-07-26

Politics & Liberty

Gouverneur Morris on the proper balance between commerce, private property, and political liberty (1776) Gouverneur Morris 2014-07-21
Tocqueville on centralization as the natural form of government for democracies (1835) Alexis de Tocqueville 2013-11-04
David Hume believes we should assume all men are self-interested knaves when it comes to politics (1777) David Hume 2013-03-11
Germaine de Staël on the indestructible love of liberty (1818) Germaine de Staël 2012-07-14
Benjamin Constant on why the oppressed often prefer their chains to liberty (1815) Benjamin Constant 2012-04-16
Leggett on the tendency of the government to become “the universal dispenser of good and evil” (1834) William Leggett 2011-12-14
Socrates as the “gadfly” of the state (4thC BC) Plato 2011-12-05
Ferguson on the flourishing of man’s intellectual powers in a commercial society (1767) Adam Ferguson 2011-11-21
Spooner on the “knaves,” the “dupes,” and “do-nothings” among government supporters (1870) Lysander Spooner 2011-10-03
Jefferson on the right to change one’s government (1776) Thomas Jefferson 2011-07-04
Tocqueville on the spirit of association (1835) Alexis de Tocqueville 2011-06-27
Bastiat on the many freedoms that make up liberty (1848) Frédéric Bastiat 2011-06-13
Bastiat on the need for urgent political and economic reform (1848) Frédéric Bastiat 2011-02-28
Bastiat on the fact that even in revolution there is an indestructible principle of order in the human heart (1848) Frédéric Bastiat 2011-02-14
Shaftesbury on the need for liberty to promote the liberal arts (1712) Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury 2010-11-29
The State of New York declares that the people may “reassume” their delegated powers at any time they choose (1788) Jonathan Elliot 2010-09-20
Georg Jellinek argues that Lafayette was one of the driving forces behind the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) Georg Jellinek 2010-07-12
Lord Acton on the destruction of the liberal Girondin group and the suicide of Condorcet during the French Revolution (1910) John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton 2010-04-26
The Abbé de Mably argues with John Adams about the dangers of a “commercial elite” seizing control of the new Republic and using it to their own advantage (1785) Gabriel Bonnot Abbé de Mably 2009-10-05
Samuel Smiles on how an idle, thriftless, or drunken man can, and should, improve himself through self-help and not by means of the state (1859). Samuel Smiles 2009-09-14
John Adams thought he could see arbitrary power emerging in the American colonies and urged his countrymen to “nip it in the bud” before they lost all their liberties (1774) John Adams 2009-08-23
Benjamin Constant distinguished between the Liberty of the Ancients (“the complete subjection of the individual to the authority of the community”) and that of the Moderns (“where individual rights and commerce are respected”) (1816) Benjamin Constant 2009-08-12
Edward Gibbon called the loss of independence and excessive obedience the "secret poison" which corrupted the Roman Empire (1776) Edward Gibbon 2009-08-03
John Stuart Mill on the need for limited government and political rights to prevent the “king of the vultures” and his “minor harpies” in the government from preying on the people (1859) John Stuart Mill 2009-04-20
Mercy Otis Warren asks why people are so willing to obey the government and answers that it is supineness, fear of resisting, and the long habit of obedience (1805) Mercy Otis Warren 2009-03-16
James Madison on the need for the “separation of powers” because “men are not angels,” Federalist 51 (1788) James Madison 2008-09-22
James Madison on the mischievous effects of mutable government in The Federalist no. 62 (1788) James Madison 2008-09-01
Viscount Bryce reflects on how modern nation states which achieved their own freedom through struggle are not sympathetic to the similar struggles of other repressed peoples (1901) Viscount James Bryce 2007-08-20
Augustin Thierry laments that the steady growth of liberty in France had been disrupted by the cataclysm of the French Revolution (1859) Augustin Thierry 2007-07-30
Condorcet writes about the inevitability of the spread of liberty and prosperity while he was in prison awaiting execution by the Jacobins (1796) Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet 2006-08-28
Catharine Macaulay supported the French Revolution because there were sound "public choice" reasons for not vesting supreme power in the hands of one’s social or economic "betters" (1790) Catharine Macaulay 2006-08-21
Montesquieu was fascinated by the liberty which was enjoyed in England, which he attributed to security of person and the rule of law (1748) Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu 2006-05-01
Edward Gibbon wonders if Europe will avoid the same fate as the Roman Empire, collapse brought on as a result of prosperity, corruption, and military conquest (1776) Edward Gibbon 2006-03-27
J.S. Mill was convinced he was living in a time when he would experience an explosion of classical liberal reform because “the spirit of the age” had dramatically changed (1831) John Stuart Mill 2006-02-27
The Australian radical liberal Bruce Smith lays down some very strict rules which should govern the actions of any legislator (1887) Bruce Smith 2005-08-15
William Emerson, in his oration to commemorate the Declaration of Independence, reminded his listeners of the “unconquerable sense of liberty” which Americans had (1802) William Emerson 2005-03-14
Andrew Fletcher believed that too many people were deceived by the “ancient terms and outwards forms” of their government but had in fact lost their ancient liberties (1698) Andrew Fletcher 2005-02-14
Bernhard Knollenberg on the Belief of many colonial Americans that Liberty was lost because the Leaders of the People had failed in their Duty (2003) Bernhard Knollenberg 2004-08-02
Adam Smith on the Dangers of sacrificing one’s Liberty for the supposed benefits of the “lordly servitude of a court” (1759) Adam Smith 2004-06-07
Richard Price on the true Nature of Love of One’s Country (1789) Richard Price 2004-05-24
George Washington on the Difference between Commercial and Political Relations with other Countries (1796) George Washington 2004-05-10

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Michel Chevalier on two kinds of political power in America, the Caesars and the Commissioners (1835) Michel Chevalier 2014-05-12
Pufendorf on the danger of rulers confusing their own self-interest with that of the State (1695) Samuel von Pufendorf 2014-04-28
Leonard Read on Ludwig von Mises as the economic dictator of the U.S. (1971) Leonard E. Read 2014-01-20
Thomas Gordon asks whether tyranny is worse than anarchy (1728) Thomas Gordon 2014-01-06
Montaigne argues that is right and proper for a people to speak ill of a “faulty prince” after his death (1580) Michel de Montaigne 2013-08-05
Erasmus on the “Folly” of upsetting conventional opinion by pointing out the sins of kings and princes (1511) Desiderius Erasmus 2013-07-12
Rousseau on the natural tendency of governments to degenerate into tyranny (1762) Jean-Jacques Rousseau 2013-07-01
James Mill on the ruling Few and the subject Many (1835) James Mill 2013-06-10
Shaftesbury opposes the nonresisting test bill before the House of Lords as a step towards “absolute and arbitrary” government (1675) Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury 2013-04-29
Madison on “Parchment Barriers” and the defence of liberty II (1788) James Madison 2012-12-18
James Mill on the “sinister interests” of those who wield political power (1825) James Mill 2012-03-12
Viscount Bryce on how the President in wartime becomes “a sort of dictator” (1888) Viscount James Bryce 2012-02-19
Tocqueville on the “New Despotism” (1837) Alexis de Tocqueville 2012-01-02
Madame de Staël on the tyrant Napoleon (1818) Germaine de Staël 2011-11-07
John Adams on how absolute power intoxicates those who excercise that power (1814) John Adams 2011-10-31
Thomas Paine on the absurdity of an hereditary monarchy (1791) Thomas Paine 2011-04-25
Paine on the idea that the law is king (1776) Thomas Paine 2011-02-20
Milton on the ease with which tyrants find their academic defenders (1651) John Milton 2010-09-06
Jefferson’s list of objections to the British Empire in his first draft of the Declaration of Independence (1776) Thomas Jefferson 2010-07-04
Tocqueville on the form of despotism the government would assume in democratic America (1840) Alexis de Tocqueville 2010-06-14
Milton argues that a Monarchy wants the people to be prosperous only so it can better fleece them (1660) John Milton 2010-06-08
Cato denounces generals like Julius Caesar who use success on the battlefield as a stepping stone to political power (1710) Joseph Addison 2010-05-19
Cicero on the need for politicians to place the interests of those they represent ahead of their own private interests (1st century BC) Marcus Tullius Cicero 2010-05-09
Madame de Staël argues that Napoleon was able to create a tyrannical government by pandering to men’s interests, corrupting public opinion, and waging constant war (1817) Germaine de Staël 2010-03-23
Jefferson on how Congress misuses the inter-state commerce and general welfare clauses to promote the centralization of power (1825) Thomas Jefferson 2010-03-15
Livy on the irrecoverable loss of liberty under the Roman Empire (10 AD) Titus Livius (Livy) 2010-01-04
Jefferson feared that it would only be a matter of time before the American system of government degenerated into a form of “elective despotism” (1785) Thomas Jefferson 2009-12-07
Lao Tzu discusses how “the great sages” (or wise advisors) protect the interests of the prince and thus “prove to be but guardians in the interest of the great thieves” (600 BC) Lao Tzu 2009-11-16
Macaulay argues that politicians are less interested in the economic value of public works to the citizens than they are in their own reputation, embezzlement and “jobs for the boys” (1830) Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay 2009-11-02
Althusius argues that a political leader is bound by his oath of office which, if violated, requires his removal (1614) Johannes Althusius 2009-10-26
Lord Acton writes to Bishop Creighton that the same moral standards should be applied to all men, political and religious leaders included, especially since “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (1887) John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton 2008-09-03
Edward Gibbon gloomily observed that in a unified empire like the Roman there was nowhere to escape, whereas with a multiplicity of states there were always gaps and interstices to hide in (1776) Edward Gibbon 2008-08-18
Thomas Hodgskin wonders how despotism comes to a country and concludes that the “first step” taken towards despotism gives it the power to take a second and a third – hence it must be stopped in its tracks at the very first sign (1813) Thomas Hodgskin 2008-08-04
Thucydides on political intrigue in the divided city of Corcyra caused by the “desire to rule” (5thC BC) Thucydides 2008-03-03
George Washington warns that the knee jerk reaction of citizens to problems is to seek a solution in the creation of a “new monarch”(1786) George Washington 2008-02-25
Plato warns of the people’s protector who, once having tasted blood, turns into a wolf and a tyrant (340s BC) Plato 2008-02-03
George Washington warns the nation in his Farewell Address, that love of power will tend to create a real despotism in America unless proper checks and balances are maintained to limit government power (1796) George Washington 2007-02-21
After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 John Milton was concerned with both how the triumphalist monarchists would treat the English people and how the disheartened English people would face their descendants (1660) John Milton 2006-08-07
Benjamin Constant argued that mediocre men, when they acquired power, became “more envious, more obstinate, more immoderate, and more convulsive” than men with talent (1815) Benjamin Constant 2006-01-23
Thomas Jefferson opposed vehemently the Alien and Sedition Laws of 1798 which granted the President enormous powers showing that the government had become a tyranny which desired to govern with "a rod of iron" (1798) Thomas Jefferson 2005-12-19
John Milton laments the case of a people who won their liberty “in the field” but who then foolishly “ran their necks again into the yoke” of tyranny (1660) John Milton 2005-10-03
Adam Ferguson notes that “implicit submission to any leader, or the uncontrouled exercise of any power” leads to a form of military government and ultimately despotism (1767) Adam Ferguson 2005-09-26
Edward Gibbon believed that unless public liberty was defended by “intrepid and vigilant guardians” any constitution would degenerate into despotism (1776) Edward Gibbon 2005-07-18
Montesquieu states that the Roman Empire fell because the costs of its military expansion introduced corruption and the loyalty of its soldiers was transferred from the City to its generals (1734) Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu 2005-05-02
John Milton believes men live under a “double tyranny” within (the tyranny of custom and passions) which makes them blind to the tyranny of government without (1649) John Milton 2005-04-18
Vicesimus Knox tries to persuade an English nobleman that some did not come into the world with “saddles on their backs and bridles in their mouths” and some others like him came “ready booted and spurred to ride the rest to death” (1793) Vicesimus Knox 2005-01-17
James Bryce believed that the Founders intended that the American President would be “a reduced and improved copy of the English king” (1885) Viscount James Bryce 2004-11-02
Thomas Gordon believes that bigoted Princes are subject to the “blind control” of other “Directors and Masters” who work behind the scenes (1737) Thomas Gordon 2004-10-18
Algernon Sidney’s Motto was that his Hand (i.e. his pen) was an Enemy to all Tyrants (1660) Algernon Sidney 2004-08-09
Thomas Gordon compares the Greatness of Spartacus with that of Julius Caesar (1721) Thomas Gordon 2004-04-07

Property Rights

Herbert Spencer on human nature and the right to property (1851) Herbert Spencer 2013-10-28
Hugo Grotius on the natural sociability of humans (1625) Hugo Grotius 2013-10-14
William Paley on the tragedy of the commons (1785) William Paley 2013-09-30
William Penn on property as one of the three fundamental rights all men have (1679) William Penn 2013-07-29
McCulloch argues that the right to property extends to “the faculties of (one’s) mind and the powers of (one’s) body” (1864) John Ramsay McCulloch 2013-05-27
Percy Shelley on the two types of property [1820] Percy Bysshe Shelley 2013-04-22
Say on a person’s property right in their own “industrious faculties” (1819) Jean Baptiste Say 2013-02-18
Auberon Herbert on the “magic of private property” (1897) Auberon Herbert 2012-04-30
Molinari defends the right to property against the socialists who want to overthrow it, and the conservatives who defend it poorly (1849) Gustave de Molinari 2012-03-03
Auberon Herbert on compulsory taxation as the “citadel” of state power (1885) Auberon Herbert 2010-10-18
Gaius states that according to natural reason the first occupier of any previously unowned property becomes the just owner (2nd Century) Gaius 2010-04-05
Wollaston on crimes against person or property as contradictions of fundamental truths (1722) William Wollaston 2010-02-15
James Mill on the natural disposition to accumulate property (1808). James Mill 2009-09-07
Lysander Spooner spells out his theory of “mine and thine”, or the science of natural law and justice, which alone can ensure that mankind lives in peace (1882) Lysander Spooner 2008-10-06
Sir William Blackstone argues that occupancy of previously unowned land creates a natural right to that property which excludes others from it (1753) Sir William Blackstone 2008-09-04
Lord Kames states that the “hoarding appetite” is part of human nature and that it is the foundation of our notion of property rights (1779) Henry Home, Lord Kames 2008-03-10
Thomas Hodgskin argues for a Lockean notion of the right to property (“natural”) and against the Benthamite notion that property rights are created by the state (“artificial”) (1832) Thomas Hodgskin 2007-02-26
J.B. Say on the self-evident nature of property rights which is nevertheless violated by the state in taxation and slavery (1817) Jean Baptiste Say 2007-02-24
J.S. Mill’s great principle was that “over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign” (1859) John Stuart Mill 2006-01-02
Wolowski and Levasseur argue that Property is “the fruit of human liberty” and that Violence and Conquest have done much to disturb this natural order (1884) Louis Wolowski 2004-11-15
John Taylor on how a “sound freedom of property” can destroy the threat to Liberty posed by “an adoration of military fame” and oppressive governments (1820) John Taylor 2004-09-06

Religion & Toleration

John Locke on the separation of Church and Magistrate (1689) John Locke 2014-06-30
William Walwyn wittily argues against state enforced religious conformity (1646) William Walwyn 2013-11-18
Lord Acton argues that civil liberty arose out of the conflict between the power of the Church and the Monarchy (1877) John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton 2013-09-23
The 6th Day of Christmas: Vicesimus Knox on the Christian religion and peace on earth (1793) Vicesimus Knox 2012-12-30
The 5th Day of Christmas: Samuel Cooper on the Articles of Confederation and peace on earth (1780) Ellis Sandoz 2012-12-29
Noah Webster on the resilience of common religious practices in the face of attempts by the state to radically change them (1794) Noah Webster 2009-12-21
David Hume argues that “love of liberty” in some individuals often attracts the religious inquisitor to persecute them and thereby drive society into a state of “ignorance, corruption, and bondage” (1757) David Hume 2009-09-28
St. John, private property, and the Parable of the Wolf and the Good Shepherd (2ndC AD) Saint John 2009-07-27
John Locke believed that the magistrate should not punish sin but only violations of natural rights and public peace (1689) John Locke 2008-09-29
Job rightly wants to know why he, “the just upright man is laughed to scorn” while robbers prosper (6thC BC) Job 2008-09-15
William Findlay wants to maintain the separation of church and state and therefore sees no role for the “ecclesiastical branch” in government (1812) William Findley 2008-01-28
In Ecclesiastes there is the call to plant, to love, to live, and to work and then to enjoy the fruits of all one’s labors (3rdC BC) Old Testament (Various Authors) 2006-09-11
Pierre Bayle begins his defence of religious toleration with this appeal that the light of nature, or Reason, should be used to settle religious differences and not coercion (1708) Pierre Bayle 2006-04-10
Voltaire argued that religious intolerance was against the law of nature and was worse than the “right of the tiger” (1763) Voltaire 2006-03-13
Voltaire notes that where Commerce and Toleration predominate, a Multiplicity of Faiths can live together in Peace and Happiness (1764) Voltaire 2004-10-25
Samuel warns his people that if they desire a King they will inevitably have conscription, requisitioning of their property, and taxation (7th century BC) Old Testament (Various Authors) 2004-10-04
The Prophet Isaiah urges the people to “beat their swords into plowshares” and learn war no more (700s BC) Isaiah 2004-09-27
The Psalmist laments that he lives in a Society which “hateth peace” and cries out “I am for peace: but when I speak they are for war” (1000 BC) King David 2004-09-20

Revolution

Tom Paine on the “birthday of a new world” (1776) Thomas Paine 2014-03-04
Jefferson warns about the rise of an “Anglo-Monarchio-Aristocratic party” in America (1797) Thomas Jefferson 2014-01-27
Benjamin Franklin on the trade off between essential liberty and temporary safety (1775) Benjamin Franklin 2013-12-02
Condorcet on why the French revolution was more violent than the American (1794) Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet 2013-07-14
Lord Acton on the storming of “the instrument and the emblem of tyranny” in Paris, the Bastille, on July 14, 1789 (1910) John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton 2013-07-13
Adams and Jefferson reflect on the Revolution and the future of liberty (1823) John Adams 2013-07-03
Adam Smith on social change and “the man of system” (1759) Adam Smith 2012-11-12
Tocqueville on the 1848 Revolution in Paris (1851) Alexis de Tocqueville 2012-01-16

Rhetoric Of Liberty

John Lilburne rails against his unjust imprisonment (1646) John Lilburne 2014-07-07
Macaulay wittily denounces a tyrannical priest as being an intermediate grub between sycophant and oppressor (1837) Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay 2014-01-13

Science

Voltaire laments the destruction of Lisbon in an earthquake and criticises the philosophers who thought that “all’s well with the world” and the religious who thought it was “God’s will” (1755) Voltaire 2010-01-19
Charles Darwin on life as a spontaneous order which emerged by the operation of natural laws (1859) Charles Darwin 2009-09-21
Adam Smith on the “Wonder, Surprise, and Admiration” one feels when contemplating the physical World (1795) Adam Smith 2004-06-14

Socialism & Interventionism

Molinari appeals to socialists to join him in marching down “the broad, well-trodden highway of liberty” (1848) Gustave de Molinari 2012-01-28
Mises on how price controls lead to socialism (1944) Ludwig von Mises 2011-09-12
Mises and the Emergence of Etatism in Germany (1944) Ludwig von Mises 2011-09-05
Mill on the dangers of the state turning men into “docile instruments” of its will (1859) John Stuart Mill 2011-05-30
James Madison on the “sagacious and monied few” who are able to “harvest” the benefits of government regulations (1787) James Madison 2011-05-16
Sumner criticizes the competing vested interests and the role of legislators in the “new democratic State” (1887) William Graham Sumner 2010-07-20
Yves Guyot on the violence and lawlessness inherent in socialism (1910) Yves Guyot 2010-04-23
Ludwig von Mises on the impossibility of rational economic planning under Socialism (1922) Ludwig von Mises 2009-11-09
Alexis de Tocqueville stood up in the Constituent Assembly to criticize socialism as a violation of human nature, property rights, and individual liberty (1848) Alexis de Tocqueville 2008-08-20
Nassau Senior objected to any government regulation of factories which meant that a horde of inspectors would interfere with the organization of production (1837) Nassau William Senior 2008-05-19
Ludwig von Mises argues that monopolies are the direct result of government intervention and not the product of any inherent tendency within the capitalist system (1949) Ludwig von Mises 2007-09-24

Society

Herbert Spencer on customs which are the result of human action but not of deliberate design (1876) Herbert Spencer 2014-08-18

Sport And Liberty

Mises on human action, predicting the future, and who will win the World Cup Football tournament (1966) Ludwig von Mises 2010-06-21
Macaulay and Bunyan on the evils of swearing and playing hockey on Sunday (1830) Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay 2010-03-01
John Hobson argues that sport plays an important part in British imperialism for all classes and that the “spirit of adventure” is now played out in the colonies (1902) John A. Hobson 2010-02-07
The Earl of Shaftesbury relates the story of an unscrupulous glazier who gives the rowdy town youths a football so they will smash windows in the street and thus drum up business (1737) Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury 2010-02-04
Nisbet on how violent, contact sports like football redirect people’s energies away from war (1988) Robert A. Nisbet 2010-02-03
Frederick Pollock argues that a violent assault on the football field is not an actionable tort because it is part of the activities of a voluntarily agreed to association of adults (1895) Sir Frederick Pollock 2010-02-01
Herbert Spencer worries that the violence and brutalities of football will make it that much harder to create a society in which individual rights will be mutually respected (1879) Herbert Spencer 2010-01-25

Taxation

Adam Smith on the need for “peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice” (1755) Adam Smith 2013-05-06
Jefferson on Taxes and the General Welfare (1791) Thomas Jefferson 2012-07-30
Sven Forkbeard and new Yuletide Taxes (11thC) Snorre Sturlason 2011-12-18
Adam Smith on how governments learn from each other the best way of draining money from the pockets of the people (1776) Adam Smith 2011-11-14
Luke, Taxes, and the Birth of Jesus (85) Saint Luke 2011-05-01
Mises on the public sector as “tax eaters” who “feast” on the assets of the ordinary tax payer (1953) Ludwig von Mises 2011-04-10
Knox on how the people during wartime are cowered into submission and pay their taxes “without a murmur” (1795) Vicesimus Knox 2011-01-18
Lysander Spooner argues that according to the traditional English common law, taxation would not be upheld because no explicit consent was given by individuals to be taxed (1852) Lysander Spooner 2009-08-18
Thomas Paine responded to one of Burke’s critiques of the French Revolution by cynically arguing that wars are sometimes started in order to increase taxation (“the harvest of war”) (1791) Thomas Paine 2009-07-13
Adam Smith claims that exorbitant taxes imposed without consent of the governed constitute legitimate grounds for the people to resist their rulers (1763) Adam Smith 2008-08-11
Alexander Hamilton denounces the British for imposing “oppressive taxes” on the colonists which amount to tyranny, a form of slavery, and vassalage to the Empire (1774) Alexander Hamilton 2008-07-28
Jefferson tells Congress that since tax revenues are increasing faster than population then taxes on all manner of items can be “dispensed with” (i.e. abolished) (1801) Thomas Jefferson 2008-05-26
William Graham Sumner reminds us never to forget the “Forgotten Man”, the ordinary working man and woman who pays the taxes and suffers under government regulation (1883) William Graham Sumner 2007-03-14
Frank Chodorov argues that taxation is an act of coercion and if pushed to its logical limits will result in Socialism (1946) Frank Chodorov 2007-03-05
John C. Calhoun notes that taxation divides the community into two great antagonistic classes, those who pay the taxes and those who benefit from them (1850) John C. Calhoun 2005-11-28
David Ricardo considered taxation to be a “great evil” which hindered the accumulation of productive capital and reduced consumption (1817) David Ricardo 2005-07-11
Thomas Hodgskin noted in his journey through the northern German states that the burden of heavy taxation was no better than it had been under the conqueror Napoleon (1820) Thomas Hodgskin 2005-03-21
Thomas Jefferson boasts about having reduced the size of government and eliminated a number of “vexatious” taxes (1805) Thomas Jefferson 2005-01-24

The State

Tocqueville on the absence of government in America (1835) Alexis de Tocqueville 2014-05-05
Thomas Gordon on the nature of power to expand (1721) Thomas Gordon 2013-10-07
John Wade exposes the system of political corruption in England (1835) John Wade 2013-06-24
Mises on the worship of the state or statolatry (1944) Ludwig von Mises 2013-03-04
James Buchanan on chaining Leviathan (1975) James M. Buchanan 2013-01-14
Benjamin Franklin on the “superstructure” of Good Government (1736) Benjamin Franklin 2012-12-03
Macaulay argues that “the main end” of government is the protection of persons and property (1839) Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay 2012-09-24
Nassau Senior argues that government is based upon extortion (1854) Nassau William Senior 2012-06-18
Hippolyte Taine on how the modern bureaucratic state destroys spontaneous and fruitful private cooperation (1890) Hippolyte Taine 2012-03-05
Sumner on the legalization of robbery by the State (1883) William Graham Sumner 2012-02-27
Spooner on the difference between a government and a highwayman (1870) Lysander Spooner 2011-01-24
St. Augustine states that kingdoms without justice are mere robberies, and robberies are like small kingdoms; but large Empires are piracy writ large (5th C) Saint Augustine 2009-04-13
Frédéric Bastiat on the state as the great fiction by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else (1848) Frédéric Bastiat 2009-03-09
Frédéric Bastiat and the state as “la grande fiction à travers laquelle Tout Le Monde s'efforce de vivre aux dépens de Tout Le Monde (1848) Frédéric Bastiat 2007-10-04
Edmund Burke asks a key question of political theory: quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (how is one to be defended against the very guardians who have been appointed to guard us?) (1756) Edmund Burke 2005-03-07

War & Peace

Herbert Spencer on the State’s cultivation of “the religion of enmity” to justify its actions (1884) Herbert Spencer 2014-04-21
Kant believed that citizens must give their free consent via their representatives to every separate declaration of war (1790) Immanuel Kant 2013-09-01
The 10th Day of Christmas: Richard Cobden on public opinion and peace on earth (c. 1865) Richard Cobden 2013-01-03
The 8th Day of Christmas: Jefferson on the inevitability of revolution in England only after which there will be peace on earth (1817) Thomas Jefferson 2013-01-01
The 7th Day of Christmas: Madison on “the most noble of all ambitions” which a government can have, of promoting peace on earth (1816) James Madison 2012-12-31
The 4th Day of Christmas: Dante Alighieri on human perfectibility and peace on earth (1559) Dante Alighieri 2012-12-28
The 3rd Day of Christmas: Erasmus stands against war and for peace on earth (16th century) Desiderius Erasmus 2012-12-27
The 2nd Day of Christmas: Petrarch on the mercenary wars in Italy and the need for peace on earth (1344) Francesco Petrarch 2012-12-26
The 1st Day of Christmas: Jan Huss' Christmas letters and his call for peace on earth (1412) Jan Huss 2012-12-25
The evangelist Luke “on earth peace, good will toward men” (1st century) Saint Luke 2012-12-24
Molinari on the elites who benefited from the State of War (1899) Gustave de Molinari 2012-11-26
John Bright calls British foreign policy “a gigantic system of (welfare) for the aristocracy” (1858) John Bright 2012-11-05
James Madison on the necessity of separating the power of “the sword from the purse” (1793) James Madison 2012-09-10
John Bright on war as all the horrors, atrocities, crimes, and sufferings of which human nature on this globe is capable (1853) John Bright 2012-03-26
Cobden argues that the British Empire will inevitably suffer retribution for its violence and injustice (1853) Richard Cobden 2012-03-01
Cobden on the complicity of the British people in supporting war (1852) Richard Cobden 2011-12-25
The City of War and the City of Peace on Achilles' new shield (900 BC) Homer 2011-11-28
Cobden on the principle of non-intervention in the affairs of other countries (1859) Richard Cobden 2011-10-24
Cobden urges the British Parliament not to be the “Don Quixotes of Europe” using military force to right the wrongs of the world (1854) Richard Cobden 2011-09-26
James Mill likens the expence and economic stagnation brought about by war to a “pestilential wind” which ravages the country (1808) James Mill 2011-08-29
The Duke of Burgundy asks the Kings of France and England why “gentle peace” should not be allowed to return France to its former prosperity (1599) William Shakespeare 2011-08-22
Grotius on Moderation in Despoiling the Country of one’s Enemies (1625) Hugo Grotius 2011-05-25
Sumner and the Conquest of the United States by Spain (1898) William Graham Sumner 2011-05-09
Trenchard on the dangers posed by a standing army (1698) John Trenchard 2010-09-13
John Jay on the pretended as well as the just causes of war (1787) John Jay 2010-08-09
Vicesimus Knox on how the aristocracy and the “spirit of despotism” use the commemoration of the war dead for their own aims (1795) Vicesimus Knox 2010-06-01
Milton warns Parliament’s general Fairfax that justice must break free from violence if “endless war” is to be avoided (1648) John Milton 2010-03-07
Madison argued that war is the major way by which the executive office increases its power, patronage, and taxing power (1793) James Madison 2009-11-30
Thomas Jefferson on the Draft as "the last of all oppressions" (1777) Thomas Jefferson 2009-07-20
Daniel Webster thunders that the introduction of conscription would be a violation of the constitution, an affront to individual liberty, and an act of unrivaled despotism (1814) Daniel Webster 2009-05-25
Alexander Hamilton warns of the danger to civil society and liberty from a standing army since “the military state becomes elevated above the civil” (1787) Alexander Hamilton 2008-12-29
John Trenchard identifies who will benefit from any new war “got up” in Italy: princes, courtiers, jobbers, and pensioners, but definitely not the ordinary taxpayer (1722) John Trenchard 2008-11-17
Adam Smith observes that the true costs of war remain hidden from the taxpayers because they are sheltered in the metropole far from the fighting and instead of increasing taxes the government pays for the war by increasing the national debt (1776) Adam Smith 2008-02-18
James Madison on the need for the people to declare war and for each generation, not future generations, to bear the costs of the wars they fight (1792) James Madison 2007-12-17
Thomas Gordon on standing armies as a power which is inconsistent with liberty (1722) Thomas Gordon 2007-11-05
James Madison argues that the constitution places war-making powers squarely with the legislative branch; for the president to have these powers is the “the true nurse of executive aggrandizement” (1793) James Madison 2007-09-10
St. Thomas Aquinas discusses the three conditions for a just war (1265-74) St. Thomas Aquinas 2007-07-23
A.V. Dicey noted that a key change in public thinking during the 19thC was the move away from the early close association between “peace and retrenchment” in the size of the government (1905) Albert Venn Dicey 2006-09-25
J.M. Keynes reflected on that “happy age” of international commerce and freedom of travel that was destroyed by the cataclysm of the First World War (1920) John Maynard Keynes 2006-02-20
John Jay in the Federalist Papers discussed why nations go to war and concluded that it was not for justice but “whenever they have a prospect of getting any thing by it” (1787) John Jay 2006-01-09
Thomas Gordon gives a long list of ridiculous and frivolous reasons why kings and tyrants have started wars which have led only to the enslavement and destruction of their own people (1737) Thomas Gordon 2005-11-21
Hugo Grotius states that in an unjust war any acts of hostility done in that war are “unjust in themselves” (1625) Hugo Grotius 2005-09-19
Hugo Grotius discusses the just causes of going to war, especially the idea that the capacity to wage war must be matched by the intent to do so (1625) Hugo Grotius 2005-09-12
Herbert Spencer argued that in a militant type of society the state would become more centralised and administrative, as compulsory education clearly showed (1882) Herbert Spencer 2005-06-20
William Graham Sumner denounced America’s war against Spain and thought that “war, debt, taxation, diplomacy, a grand governmental system, pomp, glory, a big army and navy, lavish expenditures, political jobbery” would result in imperialsm (1898) William Graham Sumner 2005-05-30
Erasmus has the personification of Peace come down to earth to see with dismay how war ravages human societies (1521) Desiderius Erasmus 2005-05-23
Ludwig von Mises laments the passing of the Age of Limited Warfare and the coming of Mass Destruction in the Age of Statism and Conquest (1949) Ludwig von Mises 2004-11-01
Thomas Hodgskin on the Suffering of those who had been Impressed or Conscripted into the despotism of the British Navy (1813) Thomas Hodgskin 2004-08-23
Robert Nisbet on the Shock the Founding Fathers would feel if they could see the current size of the Military Establishment and the National Government (1988) Robert A. Nisbet 2004-07-19
Adam Smith on the Sympathy one feels for those Vanquished in a battle rather than for the Victors (1762) Adam Smith 2004-06-21
Hugo Grotius on sparing Civilian Property from Destruction in Time of War (1625) Hugo Grotius 2004-05-17
Bernard Mandeville on how the Hardships and Fatigues of War bear most heavily on the “working slaving People” (1732) Bernard Mandeville 2004-05-03

Women’s Rights

Mary Wollstonecraft’s “I have a dream” speech from 1792 Mary Wollstonecraft 2013-05-13
Mary Wollstonecraft likens the situation of soldiers under a tyrant king to women under a tyrant husband (1792) Mary Wollstonecraft 2013-04-15
J.S. Mill on the wife as the “actual bondservant of her husband” in the 19th century (1869) John Stuart Mill 2012-10-08
Harriet Taylor wants to see “freedom and admissibility” in all areas of human activity replace the system of “privilege and exclusion” (1847) Harriet Taylor 2009-10-12
John Stuart Mill uses an analogy with the removal of protective duties and bounties in trade to urge a similar “Free Trade” between the sexes (1869) John Stuart Mill 2009-04-27
J.S. Mill in The Subjection of Women argued that every form of oppression seems perfectly natural to those who live under it (1869) John Stuart Mill 2006-10-31
J.S. Mill spoke in Parliament in favour of granting women the right to vote, to have “a voice in determining who shall be their rulers” (1866) John Stuart Mill 2006-03-20
Mary Wollstonecraft believes that women are no more naturally subservient than men and nobody, male or female, values freedom unless they have had to struggle to attain it (1792) Mary Wollstonecraft 2005-10-10
J.S. Mill denounced the legal subjection of women as “wrong in itself” and as “one of the chief hindrances to human improvement” (1869) John Stuart Mill 2005-05-09