Select a quote. Write an essay about how it reflects what you feel about current events or government.
"A free society depends upon a high degree of mutual trust. The public will not give that trust to officials who are not seen to be impartially dedicated to the general public interest, nor will they give trust to those high in government who violate the rule of law they ask citizens to obey at the expense of self-interest, or to those who present government as the place where one feathers his own nest, [or] exchanges favors with friends and former associates." Archibald Cox, Common Cause Chairman Emeritus
"Each generation has a right to choose for itself the form of government it believes most promotive of its happiness."
"The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment."
"The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question it's methods or throw light upon it's crimes". - Abraham Lincoln
"If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest."
Democracy shows not only its power in reforming governments, but in regenerating a race of menand this is the greatest blessing of free governments. - Andrew Jackson
The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility and out of self-interest for himself, his family, and the future of his country to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state. Resistance need not be violent, but the civil disobedience that might be required involves confrontation with the state and invites possible imprisonment. - Ron Paul
"The common people feel themselves oppressed by the grasping of some, and their vanity is flattered by others. Fired with evil passions, they are no longer willing to submit to control, but demand that everything be subject to their authority. The invariable result is that government assumes the noble names of free and popular, but becomes in fact the most execrable thing, mob rule."
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
"The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colours breaking through."
"The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots."
"The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it."
“The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.”
"As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
"It has been observed that a pure democracy, if it were practicable, would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies, in which the people themselves deliberated, never possessed one feature of good government. Their very character was tyranny: their figure deformity."
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
"Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people."
"The efforts of the government alone will never be enough. In the end the people must choose and the people must help themselves."
Not our location is important, but the direction in which
Every person knows that he should do what unites, not
divides, him and other people.
Governments need armies to protect them from their enslaved
and oppressed subjects.
The laws of economics tell us that the expansion of the
central state can't go on forever. Its limit is reached when the looted
turn on the looters.
It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse
to be oppressed by a majority.
The essence of democracy is not that everyone makes and
administers laws but that lawgivers and rulers should be dependent on
the people's will in such a way that they may be peaceably changed if
conflict occurs. Ludwig von Mises
In the long run the ideas of the majority, however detrimental
they may be, will carry on. The future of mankind depends on the ability
of the elite to influence public opinion in the right direction. Ludwig
Despots and democratic majorities are drunk with power.
Those believing they have not voted are mistaken, for
their indifference affects all our futures.
There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more
perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the
lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Machiavelli
In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.
There is no reason to believe that there is one law for
families and another for nations.
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
Retaliation is counter-poison and poison breeds more poison.
The nectar of Love alone can destroy the poison of hate.
I see neither bravery nor sacrifice in destroying life
or property, for offense or defense.
To answer brutality with brutality is to admit one's moral
and intellectual bankruptcy.
Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or
the message and the messenger will be rejected.
Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state
becomes lawless or corrupt.
Democracy and violence can ill go together.
Evolution of democracy is not possible if we are not prepared
to hear the other side.
In true democracy every man and woman is taught to think
for himself or herself.
Democracy is not a state in which people act like sheep.
The spirit of democracy cannot be established in the midst
of terrorism, whether governmental or popular.
Nonviolence is not a weapon of the weak. It is a weapon
of the strongest and bravest.
The force generated by nonviolence is infinitely greater
than the force of all the arms created by man's ingenuity.
A "No" uttered from deepest conviction is better
and greater than a "Yes" merely uttered to please, or what is
worse, to avoid trouble.
The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice
What you do is of little significance, but it is very
important that you do it.
We must become the change we want to see in the world.
The only devils in the world are those running around
in our own hearts - that is where the battle should be fought.
Performance of one's duties should be independent of public
The spirit of democracy cannot be superimposed from the
outside. It must come from within.
I understand democracy as something that gives the weak
the same chance as the strong.
Democracy means: Sticking to the rules of the game, even
when the referee is not looking.
It is as hard for the good to suspect evil, as it is for
the bad to suspect good.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens
can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
We adore titles and heredities in our hearts and ridicule
them with our mouths. This is our democratic privilege.
Democracy is the name we give the people whenever we need
In actual fact those who do not care for politics and
sit on the fence do indeed side for a political party: The ruling party.
The dignity of man is in free choice.
Any law which violates the indefeasible rights of man
is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all.
Everybody's for democracy in principle. It's only in practice
that the thing gives rise to stiff objections.
To feed men and not to love them is to treat them as if
they were barnyard cattle. To love them and not respect them is to treat
them as if they were household pets. Mencius, philosopher
The Constitution, in a very significant sense, is not
a mechanism for making decisions but preventing them.
Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.
Every society honors its live conformists and its dead
The human race has entered a stage where we are all dependent
on each other. No other country or nation should be regarded in total
separation from another, let alone pitted against another.
If you are called upon to govern humans, treat them humanely.
In democracy its your vote that counts. In feudalism its
your count that votes.
In democracy its your vote that counts.; In feudalism
its your count that votes.
It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible,
but also for what we do not do.
Whatever field of human activity one may take, only those
trends that are in harmony with the needs of society show rapid progress.
If an individual agrees with everybody, he lacks conviction;
if he likes everybody and is everybody's friend, he is indifferent to
one and all.
In a democracy, the individual enjoys not only the ultimate
power but carries the ultimate responsibility.
A modern democracy is a tyranny whose borders are undefined;
one discovers how far one can go only by traveling in a straight line
until one is stopped. Norman Mailer
Who's more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows
I have no respect for the passion for equality, which
seems to me merely idealizing envy.
Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by
the people for the people.
Democracy is the bludgeoning of the people, by the people,
for the people.
Laws are like sausages. You sleep far better the less
you know about how they are made.
Traditions are never left in peace: they degenerate if
they are not perfected.
Politicians are always interested in people. Not that
this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs.
Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful
and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
The common people suffer when the powerful disagree.
An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most
fatal ailment of all republics.
Democracy is a charming form of government, full of variety
and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequal
When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest
or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them,
Justice will only exist where those not effected by injustice
are filled with the same amount of indignation as those offended.
The history of any nation is not only a succession of
events, but also a chain of ideas.
There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship.
Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by
If you put a chain around the neck of a slave, the other
end fastens itself around your own.
Democracy feeds on argument, on the discussion as to the
right way forward. This is the reason why respecting the opinion of others
belongs to democracy. Richard von Weizsacker
The greatest fallacy of democracy is that everyone's opinion
is worth the same.
We once worried that democracy could not survive if an
undereducated populace knew too little. Now we worry if it can survive
us knowing too much. Robert Bianco
Democracy is being allowed to vote for the candidate you
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve
the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a
tiny ripple of hope...build(ing) a current that can sweep down the mightiest
walls of oppression and resistance.
The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination
from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy,
Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness
of every single human being to cede to lawful authority
The way to virtually eliminate genocide and mass murder
appears to be through restricting and checking power.
Violence is the last resource of the incompetence.
He that accepts protection, stipulates obedience.
A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance
when the need for illusion is deep.
Democracy is a form of government in which it is permitted
to wonder aloud what the country could do under first-class management.
Good government could never be a substitute for government
by the people themselves. - Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, British Prime
The flood of money that gushes into politics today is
a pollution of democracy.
Democracy means not "I am as good as you are"
but "You are as good as I am.".
I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic
must, sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both.
If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who
has so much as to be out of danger?
Unnecessary laws are not good laws, but traps for money.
Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted
with their own government.
In a government bottomed on the will of all, the... liberty
of every individual citizen becomes interesting to all.
The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a
crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest
breaks up the foundations of society. Thomas Jefferson
The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from
those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
Laws provide against injury from others; but not from
I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of
society but the people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the
remedy is not to take power from them, but to inform them by education.
It is the old practice of despots to use a part of the
people to keep the rest in order.
It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting.
The most serious threat to democracy is the notion that
it has already been achieved.
A great war always creates more scoundrels than it kills.
Democracy is a government where you can say what you think
even if you don't think.
When the government fears the people, that is LIBERTY.
When people fear the government, that is TYRANNY.
When a nation's government becomes more fearful of its
citizens' rights than protective of them,
He who fox-like got his rank, Is wolf-like in his office.
Politics is the most concentrated expression of economics.
Face the truth squarely. In politics that is always the
best and the only correct attitude.
False rhetoric and false boastfulness spell moral ruin
and lead unfailingly to political extinction.
Honesty in politics is the result of strength; hypocrisy
is the result of weakness. - V. I. Lenin
Our idea is that a state is strong when the people are
politically conscious. It is strong when the people know everything,
Don't be afraid to admit defeat. Learn from defeat. Do
over again more thoroughly, more carefully,
Politics and war are remarkably similar situations.
The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument.
The right to be respected is won by respecting others.
I am strongly convinced that the people or society is
the best and the most unerring critic.
Democracy is when you are not closed for being open. -
A great many laws in a country, like many physicians,
is a sign of malady.
This is one of the paradoxes of the democratic movement
-- that it loves a crowd and fears the individuals who compose it -- that
the religion of humanity should have no faith in human beings.
Too many people expect wonders from democracy, when the
most wonderful thing of all is just having it.
Political elections do not choose leaders of society.
Rather, they are an exercise in which groups of people choose individuals
who will assist them in looting other groups of individuals. - William
The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive
The real difference between the United States and other
nations lies not in the words of the preamble to the Constitution, but
in the fact that the substantive clauses of that Constitution are enforced
by individuals independent of and not beholden to the elected branches.
Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders
than the arguments of its opposers.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human
freedom: it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
A politician will do anything to keep his job - even become
The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation
with the average voter.
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been tried. - Winston Churchil
Updated 9/2006 by Cynthia J. O'Hora