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Quotations about Liberty and Power War & Peace

Benjamin Constant on the dangers to liberty posed by the military spirit (1815) Benjamin Constant 2014-12-15
John Bright denounces the power of the war party in England (1878) John Bright 2014-11-17
Richard Price on how the “domestic enemies” of liberty have been more powerful and more successful than foreign enemies (1789) Richard Price 2014-10-20
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

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