Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
To all of which is added a selection from the elementary schools of subjects of the most promising genius, whose parents are too poor to give them further education, to be carried at the public expense through the college and university. The object is to bring into action that mass of talents which lies buried in poverty in every country, for want of the means of development, and thus give activity to a mass of mind, which, in proportion to our population, shall be double or treble of what it is in most countries.
I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.
To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education.
There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.
A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.
The policy of the American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits.
Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.
Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.
What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.
One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.
What country before ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.
A strong body makes the mind strong.
Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
Among the most inestimable of our blessings is that … of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will; a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.