"Of the best rulers The people only know that they exist; The next best they love and praise The next they fear; And the next they revile. When they do not command the people's faith, Some will lose faith in them, And then they resort to oaths! But of the best when their task is accomplished, their work done, The people all remark, "We have done it ourselves."
"I would like [the working man] to give me back books and newspapers and theories. And I would like to give him back, in return, his old insouciance, and rich, original spontaneity and fullness of life."
"Generosity is a part of my character, and I therefore hasten to assure this Government that I will never make an allegation of dishonesty against it wherever a simple explanation of stupidity will suffice."
"Most governments have been based, practically, on the denial of equal rights of men ... ours began, by affirming those rights. They said, some men are too ignorant, and vicious, to share in government. Possibly so, said we; and, by your system, you would always keep them ignorant, and vicious. We proposed to give all a chance; and we expected the weak to grow stronger, the ignorant wiser; and all better, and happier together."
"Freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power vested in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things, when the rule prescribes not, and not to be subject to the inconstant, unknown, arbitrary will of another man."
"Whenever the society is dissolved, it is certain the government of that society cannot remain ... that being as impossible, as for the frame of a house to subsist when the materials of it are scattered and dissipated by a whirlwind, or jumbled into a confused heap by an earthquake."
"Whenever the legislators endeavour to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, and are left to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and violence."
"The reason why men enter into society, is the preservation of their property; and the end why they choose and authorize a legislative, is, that there may be laws made, and rules set, as guards and fences to the properties of all the members of the society: to limit the power, and moderate the dominion, of every part and member of the society."
"The most absurd apology for authority and law is that they serve to diminish crime. Aside from the fact that the State is itself the greatest criminal, breaking every written and natural law, stealing in the form of taxes, killing in the form of war and capital punishment, it has come to an absolute standstill in coping with crime. It has failed utterly to destroy or even minimize the horrible scourge of its own creation."
"The contention that a standing army and navy is the best security of peace is about as logical as the claim that the most peaceful citizen is he who goes about heavily armed. The experience of every-day life fully proves that the armed individual is invariably anxious to try his strength. The same is historically true of governments. Really peaceful countries do not waste life and energy in war preparations, with the result that peace is maintained."
"It seems to me that the most important thing in Texas, as everywhere else, is education for all. I, of course, don't believe in forcing whites and blacks together. But both classes should be fully provided for. I recognize fully the evil of rule by ignorance. I see enough of it under my own eyes. You are not so much worse off in this respect than New York, Chicago, and other cities having a large immigrant population. But the remedy is not, I am sure, to be found in the abandonment of the American principle that all must share in government. The whites of the South must do as we do, forget to drive and learn to lead the ignorant masses around them."