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Quotations about Liberty and Power Politics & Liberty

George Grote on the difficulty of public opinion alone in curbing the misuse of power by “the sinister interests” (1821) George Grote 2015-04-13
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
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