„To disrespect the masses is moral; to honor them, lawful.“

—  Friedrich Schlegel, Lucinde and the Fragments, P. Firchow, trans. (1991), “Athenaeum Fragments” § 211
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Friedrich Schlegel6
1772 - 1829
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Thomas Jefferson photo

„Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law.“

—  Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826
Context: It should be remembered, as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also; in theory only, at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law. Letter http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_18s16.html to Judge Spencer Roane (6 September 1819)

Daniel Webster photo

„The law: It has honored us; may we honor it.“

—  Daniel Webster Leading American senator and statesman. January 18, 1782 – October 24, 1852. Served as the Secretary of State for thr... 1782 - 1852
Speech at the Charleston Bar Dinner (May 10, 1847); reported in Edward Everett, ed., The Works of Daniel Webster (1851), Vol. II, p. 394

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Robert Chambers (publisher, born 1802) photo

„This statistical regularity in moral affairs fully establishes their being under the presidency of law. Man is now seen to be an enigma only as an individual; in the mass he is a mathematical problem.“

—  Robert Chambers (publisher, born 1802) Scottish publisher and writer 1802 - 1871
Context: This statistical regularity in moral affairs fully establishes their being under the presidency of law. Man is now seen to be an enigma only as an individual; in the mass he is a mathematical problem. It is hardly necessary to say, much less to argue, that mental action, being proved to be under law, passes at once into the category of natural things. Its old metaphysical character vanishes in a moment, and the distinction usually taken between physical and moral is annulled, as only an error in terms. This view agrees with what all observation teaches, that mental phenomena flow directly from the brain. p. 170-171 ( 1846 edition http://books.google.com/books?id=UkoWAAAAYAAJ)

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Alexis De Tocqueville photo

„The best laws cannot make a constitution work in spite of morals; morals can turn the worst laws to advantage.“

—  Alexis De Tocqueville French political thinker and historian 1805 - 1859
Context: The best laws cannot make a constitution work in spite of morals; morals can turn the worst laws to advantage. That is a commonplace truth, but one to which my studies are always bringing me back. It is the central point in my conception. I see it at the end of all my reflections. De la supériorité des mœurs sur les lois (1831) Oeuvres complètes, vol. VIII, p. 286 https://books.google.de/books?id=yrMFAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA286&dq=meilleures. Original text: Les meilleures lois ne peuvent faire marcher une constitution en dépit des mœurs ; les mœurs tirent parti des pires lois. C'est là une vérité commune, mais à laquelle mes études me ramènent sans cesse. Elle est placée dans mon esprit comme un point central. Je l'aperçois au bout de toutes mes idées.

Theodore Parker photo

„Justice is the constitution or fundamental law of the moral universe, the law of right, a rule of conduct for man in all his moral relations.“

—  Theodore Parker abolitionist 1810 - 1860
Context: Justice is the constitution or fundamental law of the moral universe, the law of right, a rule of conduct for man in all his moral relations. Accordingly all human affairs must be subject to that as the law paramount; what is right agrees therewith and stands, what is wrong conflicts and falls. Private cohesions of self-love, of friendship, or of patriotism, must all be subordinate to this universal gravitation towards the eternal right.

Peter Kropotkin photo

„The law is an adroit mixture of customs that are beneficial to society, and could be followed even if no law existed, and others that are of advantage to a ruling minority, but harmful to the masses of men, and can be enforced on them only by terror.“

—  Peter Kropotkin Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, scientist, revolutionary, economist, activist, geographer, writer 1842 - 1921
"Words of a Rebel"; as quoted in The Heretic's Handbook of Quotations: Cutting Comments on Burning Issues (1992) by Charles Bufe, p. 26

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V.S. Naipaul photo

„As "unkindness has no remedy at law," let its avoidance be with you a point of honor.“

—  Hosea Ballou American Universalist minister (1771–1852) 1771 - 1852
Manuscript, Sermons; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 828.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. photo

„One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
Context: One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

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Richard Stallman photo

„Laws that oppress people have no moral authority.“

—  Richard Stallman American software freedom activist, short story writer and computer programmer, founder of the GNU project 1953
<!-- DEAD LINK!!! — --> Human Rights in the Use of Software and Other Published Works (16 May 2007) http://rms2007.se/in-english/

Martin Luther King, Jr. photo

„One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr. American clergyman, activist, and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement 1929 - 1968

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