Online Library of Liberty

A collection of scholarly works about individual liberty and free markets. A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.

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Quotations about Liberty and Power Origin of Government

William Paley dismisses as a fiction the idea that there ever was a binding contract by which citizens consented to be ruled by their government (1785) William Paley 2018-11-26
James Otis on the right of the people to alter their government (1764) James Otis 2015-07-27
Sidney argues that a People’s liberty is a gift of nature and exists prior to any government (1683) Algernon Sidney 2010-11-15
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

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