„Government is, or ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration and […] when any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.“

Article 3
Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776)

George Mason Foto
George Mason
US-amerikanischer Politiker 1725 - 1792

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Thomas Jefferson Foto
Thomas Jefferson Foto

„Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government…“

—  Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826

1770s, Declaration of Independence (1776)
Kontext: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Gerald Ford Foto

„The Declaration was not a protest against government but against the excesses of government. It prescribed the proper role of government to secure the rights of individuals and to effect their safety and their happiness. In modern society, no individual can do this all alone, so government is not necessarily evil but a necessary good.“

—  Gerald Ford American politician, 38th President of the United States (in office from 1974 to 1977) 1913 - 2006

On the United States Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution at the U.S. Bicentennial celebrations, Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (4 July 1976)
1970s
Kontext: The Declaration was not a protest against government but against the excesses of government. It prescribed the proper role of government to secure the rights of individuals and to effect their safety and their happiness. In modern society, no individual can do this all alone, so government is not necessarily evil but a necessary good.
The framers of the Constitution feared a central government that was too strong, as many Americans rightly do today. The framers of the Constitution, after their experience under the Articles, feared a central government that was too weak, as many Americans rightly do today. They spent days studying all of the contemporary governments of Europe and concluded with Dr. Franklin that all contained the seeds of their own destruction. So the framers built something new, drawing upon their English traditions, on the Roman Republic, on the uniquely American institution of the town meeting.

James Madison Foto
George Mason Foto
Robert Owen Foto
Abigail Adams Foto
Harry V. Jaffa Foto
John Marshall Foto
Alexander Hamilton Foto
George Fitzhugh Foto
Enoch Powell Foto
John C. Calhoun Foto
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

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>
Misattributed

Theobald Wolfe Tone Foto

„When it comes right down to physical war and bloodshed, governments don’t protect people; people protect governments.“

—  L. K. Samuels American writer 1951

Quelle: In Defense of Chaos: The Chaology of Politics, Economics and Human Action, (2013), p. 180

James Madison Foto
Errico Malatesta Foto

„The "government of all the people", if we have to have government, can at best be only the government of the majority.“

—  Errico Malatesta Italian anarchist 1853 - 1932

Neither Democrats, Nor Dictators: Anarchists (1926)
Kontext: The "government of all the people", if we have to have government, can at best be only the government of the majority. And the democrats, whether socialists or not, are willing to agree. They add, it is true, that one must respect minority rights; but since it is the majority that decides what these rights are, as a result minorities only have the right to do what the majority wants and allows. The only limit to the will of the majority would be the resistance which the minorities know and can put up. This means that there would always be a social struggle, in which a part of the members, albeit the majority, has the right to impose its own will on the others, yoking the efforts of all to their own ends.
And here I would make an aside to show how, based on reasoning backed by the evidence of past and present events, it is not even true that where there is government, namely authority, that authority resides in the majority and how in reality every "democracy" has been, is and must be nothing short of an "oligarchy" – a government of the few, a dictatorship. But, for the purposes of this article, I prefer to err on the side of the democrats and assume that there can really be a true and sincere majority government.
Government means the right to make the law and to impose it on everyone by force: without a police force there is no government.

Oscar Wilde Foto
Harry V. Jaffa Foto

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