„If our free society is to endure, and I know it will, those who govern must recognize that the Framers of the Constitution limited their power in order to preserve human dignity and the air of freedom which is our proudest heritage.“

—  William J. Brennan, Writing in Reason and Passion: Justice Brennan's Enduring Influence (1997).
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William J. Brennan2
1906 - 1997
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„Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits. The framers created our constitution to preserve that understanding of liberty“

—  Clarence Thomas Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 1948
Context: The Court's decision today is at odds not only with the constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built. Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits. The framers created our constitution to preserve that understanding of liberty. Yet the majority invokes our Constitution in the name of a 'liberty' that the framers would not have recognized, to the detriment of the liberty they sought to protect. Along the way, it rejects the idea—captured in our Declaration of Independence—that human dignity is innate and suggests instead that it comes from the Government. This distortion of our Constitution not only ignores the text, it inverts the relationship between the individual and the state in our Republic. I cannot agree with it. Obergefell v. Hodges http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf (26 June 2015).

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Calvin Coolidge photo

„We revere that day because it marks the beginnings of independence, the beginnings of a constitution that was finally to give universal freedom and equality to all American citizens — the beginnings of a government that was to recognize beyond all others the power and worth and dignity of man.“

—  Calvin Coolidge American politician, 30th president of the United States (in office from 1923 to 1929) 1872 - 1933
Context: We revere that day because it marks the beginnings of independence, the beginnings of a constitution that was finally to give universal freedom and equality to all American citizens — the beginnings of a government that was to recognize beyond all others the power and worth and dignity of man. There began the first of governments to acknowledge that it was founded on the sovereignty of the people. There the world first beheld the revelation of modern democracy.

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„Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp.“

—  Milton Friedman American economist, statistician, and writer 1912 - 2006
Context: The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country. He will ask rather "What can I and my compatriots do through government" to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom? And he will accompany this question with another: How can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect? Freedom is a rare and delicate plant. Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp. Introduction

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„Those who cherish their freedom and recognize and respect the equal right of their neighbors to be free and live in peace must work together for the triumph of law and moral principles in order that peace, justice, and confidence may prevail in the world.“

—  Franklin D. Roosevelt 32nd President of the United States 1882 - 1945
Context: Those who cherish their freedom and recognize and respect the equal right of their neighbors to be free and live in peace must work together for the triumph of law and moral principles in order that peace, justice, and confidence may prevail in the world. There must be a return to a belief in the pledged word, in the value of a signed treaty. There must be recognition of the fact that national morality is as vital as private morality.

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„Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins.“

—  Benjamin Franklin American author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, a… 1706 - 1790
Context: Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates. "On Freedom of Speech and the Press", Pennsylvania Gazette (17 November 1737) http://books.google.de/books?id=HptPAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA431&dq=pillar.

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Calvin Coolidge photo

„If the Constitution of the United States be tyranny; if the rule that no one shall be convicted of a crime save by a jury of his peers; that no orders of nobility shall be granted; that slavery shall not be permitted to exist in any state or territory; that no one shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; if these and many other provisions made by the people be tyranny, then the Supreme Court when it makes decisions in accordance with these principles of our fundamental law is tyrannical. Otherwise it is exercising the power of government for the preservation of liberty. The fact is that the Constitution is the source of our freedom. Maintaining it, interpreting it, and declaring it, are the only methods by which the Constitution can be preserved and our liberties guaranteed“

—  Calvin Coolidge American politician, 30th president of the United States (in office from 1923 to 1929) 1872 - 1933
Context: It is frequently charged that this tribunal is tyrannical. If the Constitution of the United States be tyranny; if the rule that no one shall be convicted of a crime save by a jury of his peers; that no orders of nobility shall be granted; that slavery shall not be permitted to exist in any state or territory; that no one shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; if these and many other provisions made by the people be tyranny, then the Supreme Court when it makes decisions in accordance with these principles of our fundamental law is tyrannical. Otherwise it is exercising the power of government for the preservation of liberty. The fact is that the Constitution is the source of our freedom. Maintaining it, interpreting it, and declaring it, are the only methods by which the Constitution can be preserved and our liberties guaranteed.

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Thomas Jefferson photo

„I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.“

—  Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826
Context: I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers. Our landholders, too, like theirs, retaining indeed the title and stewardship of estates called theirs, but held really in trust for the treasury, must wander, like theirs, in foreign countries, and be contented with penury, obscurity, exile, and the glory of the nation. This example reads to us the salutary lesson, that private fortunes are destroyed by public as well as by private extravagance. And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, and to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering. Then begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia, which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man. And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.

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