„The revolutionary government is the despotism of liberty against tyranny.“

—  Georg Büchner, Dantons Tod (Danton's Death) (1835), Act I.
Georg Büchner Foto
Georg Büchner80
Deutscher Schriftsteller, Naturwissenschaftler und Revoluti… 1813 - 1837
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Maximilien Robespierre Foto

„The government in a revolution is the despotism of liberty against tyranny.“

—  Maximilien Robespierre French revolutionary lawyer and politician 1758 - 1794
Original French: Le gouvernement de la révolution est le despotisme de la liberté contre la tyrannie. Speech to the National Convention http://www.royet.org/nea1789-1794/archives/discours/robespierre_principes_morale_politique_05_02_94.htm (5 February 1794)

Alexis De Tocqueville Foto

„Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot.“

—  Alexis De Tocqueville French political thinker and historian 1805 - 1859
Democracy in America, Volume I (1835), Chapter XV-IXX, Context: Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot. How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? And what can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity? Chapter XVII.

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Thomas Jefferson Foto

„When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.“

—  Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826
Misattributed, Variant: Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty. First attributed to Jefferson in 1945, this does not appear in any known Jefferson document. When governments fear the people, there is liberty... http://wiki.monticello.org/mediawiki/index.php/When_governments_fear_the_people,_there_is_liberty...(Quotation), Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia. It first appears in 1914, in [Barnhill, John Basil, John Basil Barnhill, Indictment of Socialism No. 3, Barnhill-Tichenor Debate on Socialism, http://debs.indstate.edu/b262b3_1914.pdf, PDF, 2008-10-16, 1914, National Rip-Saw Publishing, Saint Louis, Missouri, p. 34]

„Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.“

—  John Basil Barnhill
Indictment of Socialism (#3) http://debs.indstate.edu/b262b3_1914.pdf, transcript of Barnhill-Tichenor Debate on Socialism (1914) This quote is often erroneously attributed to Thomas Jefferson

George Mason Foto

„The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.“

—  George Mason American delegate from Virginia to the U.S. Constitutional Convention 1725 - 1792
Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), Article 12

H.L. Mencken Foto
Thomas Jefferson Foto

„We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed.“

—  Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826
1790s, Letter to Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette (2 April 1790)

Thomas Jefferson Foto

„The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.“

—  Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826
Misattributed, According to the Jefferson Library, this is among the many statements misattributed to Jefferson. http://wiki.monticello.org/mediawiki/index.php/Category:Spurious_Quotations

James Madison Foto

„A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.“

—  James Madison 4th president of the United States (1809 to 1817) 1751 - 1836
1780s, Context: In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people. Speech, Constitutional Convention (29 June 1787), from Max Farrand's Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Vol. I http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llfr&fileName=001/llfr001.db&recNum=494&itemLink=D?hlaw:5:./temp/~ammem_kmli::%230010495&linkText=1 (1911), p. 465

Terry Pratchett Foto
Andrew Johnson Foto

„Tyranny and despotism can be exercised by many, more rigorously, more vigorously, and more severely, than by one.“

—  Andrew Johnson American politician, 17th president of the United States (in office from 1865 to 1869) 1808 - 1875
Quote, Context: Your President is now the Tribune of the people, and, thank God, I am, and intend to assert the power which the people have placed in me... Tyranny and despotism can be exercised by many, more rigorously, more vigorously, and more severely, than by one. As quoted in Presidential Government in the United States: The Unwritten Constitution (1947) by Caleb Perry Patterson. <!-- p. 122 -->

Thomas Jefferson Foto

„An elective despotism was not the government we fought for“

—  Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826
1780s, Notes on the State of Virginia, Context: All the powers of government, legislative, executive, and judiciary, result to the legislative body. The concentrating these in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government. It will be no alleviation that these powers will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one. [... ] As little will it avail us that they are chosen by ourselves. An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by others. Query XIII

Thomas Jefferson Foto

„Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.“

—  Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826
1790s, Letter to his Italian friend, Philip Mazzei (1796)

James Madison Foto

„The biggest danger to our rights today is not from government acting against the will of the majority but from government which has become the mere instrument of that majority. Think about it. That's where the abuse of power comes from. Not the tyranny of the King but the tyranny of the majority. Wrong will be done as much by an all-powerful people as by an all-powerful Prince.“

—  James Madison 4th president of the United States (1809 to 1817) 1751 - 1836
Misattributed, This appears to be a manufactured quote for a PBS documentary on the American Revolution, created by condensing, rewriting, and paraphrasing portions of a lengthy letter James Madison wrote to Thomas Jefferson on 17 October 1788 http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1937&chapter=118854&layout=html&Itemid=27, about the need for a Bill of Rights and the danger of an establishment of religion. The resulting "quote" profoundly changed the import of what Madison was trying to say and uses modern English. The phrases "biggest danger" and "tyranny of the majority" aren't even in the original letter. The relevant portions of the original letter are (italics in the original; bold added for emphasis):<blockquote>"… In Virginia I have seen the bill of rights violated in every instance where it has been opposed to a popular current. Notwithstanding the explicit provision contained in that instrument for the rights of Conscience, it is well known that a religious establishment would have taken place in that State, if the Legislative majority had found as they expected, a majority of the people in favor of the measure; and I am persuaded that if a majority of the people were now of one sect, the measure would still take place and on narrower ground than was then proposed, notwithstanding the additional obstacle which the law has since created. Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the Constituents. This is a truth of great importance, but not yet sufficiently attended to; and is probably more strongly impressed on my mind by facts, and reflections suggested by them, than on yours which has contemplated abuses of power issuing from a very different quarter. Wherever there is an interest and power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done, and not less readily by a powerful & interested party than by a powerful and interested prince. …"</blockquote>

John R. Commons Foto

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“