Samuel warns his people that if they desire a King they will inevitably have conscription, requisitioning of their property, and taxation (7th century BC)

The prophet Samuel tells the people of Israel what lies in store for them if they have their wish granted that a King rule over them:

The Prophet Isaiah urges the people to “beat their swords into plowshares” and learn war no more (700s BC)

The Gospels draw heavily on the Book of Isaiah for a utopic view of the world. The famous “swords to plowshares” quote is but one of its famous proclamations:

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)

In one of the 150 poems, songs, and prayers from the Old Testament’s Book of Psalms, King David writes:

Voltaire on the Benefits which Trade and Economic Abundance bring to People living in the Present Age (1736)

Voltaire’s poem celebrating the fact that he was living in an age of developing commerce and markets:

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)

In 1820, John Taylor was concerned that the promise of the American constitution, to radically limit the power of the central state, was being undermined by interventionist economic policies:

Bruno Leoni on the different Ways in which Needs can be satisfied, either voluntarily through the Market or coercively through the State (1963)

In a lecture given to the Freedom School in Colorado Springs in 1963, the Italian liberal jurist Bruno Leoni examines the differences between satisfying needs through voluntary cooperation (i.e. the market) and coercion (i.e. voting):

Thomas Hodgskin on the Suffering of those who had been Impressed or Conscripted into the despotism of the British Navy (1813)

Thomas Hodgskin was forced to leave the British Navy after being physically punished for complaining about the brutal treatment of sailors who been impressed (conscripted):

Sir Edward Coke defends British Liberties and the Idea of Habeas Corpus in the Petition of Right before Parliament (1628)

After a series of debates in parliament in early 1628, Sir Edward Coke wrote and got adopted one of the founding documents securing the liberties of Englishmen:

Algernon Sidney’s Motto was that his Hand (i.e. his pen) was an Enemy to all Tyrants (1660)

In the Foreword to the Liberty Fund edition of Algernon Sidney’s Discourses, Thomas G. West discusses the importance of Sidney’s work to the American Founding Fathers:

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)

In his magisterial history of the American Revolution, Bernhard Knollenberg remarks upon the problems facing the Continental Congress in September 1774:

Jean Barbeyrac on the Virtues which all free Men should have (1718)

In his translation of Samuel Pufendorf’s treatise on natural law, The Whole Duty of Man (1691, 1718), Jean Barbeyrac included a number of essays and commentaries. In one, a “Discourse on the Benefits Conferred by the Laws”, he made the following observation:

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)

In 1988, Robert Nisbet gave a series of lectures to celebrate the bicentennial of the American Constitution. He reflected on what the Framers would be most struck by in America today and concluded that they would be incredulous at the staggering size of the military establishment and the Leviathan-like size of the national government:

Adam Smith on how Government Regulation and Taxes might drive a Man to Drink (1766)

In a discussion of how taxes diminish a nation’s “opulence”, Adam Smith has some interesting observations on the drinking habits of Europeans:

Adam Smith on the rigorous education of young Fitzmaurice (1759)

Adam Smith wrote this letter to Lord Shelburne reporting on the progress of young Mr. Fitzmaurice’s education:

Adam Smith on the Sympathy one feels for those Vanquished in a battle rather than for the Victors (1762)

This passage comes from Lecture 16 of Adam Smith’s Lectures on Rhetoric which he gave at the University of Glasgow in 1762:

Adam Smith on the “Wonder, Surprise, and Admiration” one feels when contemplating the physical World (1795)

In a lecture on Astronomy, Adam Smith explores the range of feelings one feels when observing the wonders of nature and the beauties of the physical world:

Adam Smith on the Dangers of sacrificing one’s Liberty for the supposed benefits of the “lordly servitude of a court” (1759)

This passage comes from a chapter entitled “Of the Origin of Ambition and of the Distinction of Ranks” in Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759):

Adam Smith on the natural ordering Tendency of Free Markets, or what he called the “Invisible Hand” (1776)

This passage comes from Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the the Wealth of Nations and is perhaps one of his most famous quotations (1776):

Richard Price on the true Nature of Love of One’s Country (1789)

In a sermon given in 1789, Richard Price distinguished between “true” and “false” patriotism, namely between love of one;s country and the “spirit of rivalship”:

Hugo Grotius on sparing Civilian Property from Destruction in Time of War (1625)

This passage comes from Hugo Grotius, The Law of War and Peace (1625), Book III Chapter 12, “On Moderation in Despoiling an Enemy’s Country” (1625):

George Washington on the Difference between Commercial and Political Relations with other Countries (1796)

This passage comes from George Washington’s “Farewell Address” given on September 19, 1796:

Bernard Mandeville on how the Hardships and Fatigues of War bear most heavily on the “working slaving People” (1732)

This passage comes from Remark L by Bernard Mandeville in The Fable of the Bees or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits (1732):

Thomas Gordon compares the Greatness of Spartacus with that of Julius Caesar (1721)

The USA cable channel made a remake (first done brilliantly by Stanley Kubrick over 40 years ago) of the story of “Spartacus” who led a slave revolt against the Roman Empire. Here is what one of our authors (Thomas Gordon from Cato’s Letters (1721)) has to say about Spartacus, in comparison with Julius Caesar: