„An opinion, right or wrong, can never constitute a moral offense, nor be in itself a moral obligation.“

—  Frances Wright, Context: An opinion, right or wrong, can never constitute a moral offense, nor be in itself a moral obligation. It may be mistaken; it may involve an absurdity, or a contradiction. It is a truth; or it is an error: it can never be a crime or a virtue. A Few Days in Athens (1822) Vol. II
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Frances Wright36
American activist 1795 - 1852
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William Ewart Gladstone photo

„Nothing, that is morally wrong, can be politically right.“

—  William Ewart Gladstone British Liberal politician and prime minister of the United Kingdom 1809 - 1898
No citation to Gladstone found. Hannah More https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannah_More in 1837 in Hints Towards Forming the Character of a Young Princess https://books.google.com/books?id=lv5JAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA179&lpg=PA179&dq=%E2%80%9CNothing+that+is+morally+wrong+can+be+politically+right.%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=ne_BjY9onV&sig=8RyZJKi_o7AvvR3N9WcQUU5Q0TI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=84mhVIufIoahyASOrYCoAw&ved=0CEMQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9CNothing%20that%20is%20morally%20wrong%20can%20be%20politically%20right.%E2%80%9D&f=false, The Works of Hannah More, Vol. 4, said the following on p. 179: "On the Whole, we need not hesitate to assert, that in the long course of events, nothing, that is morally wrong, can be politically right. Nothing, that is inequitable, can be finally successful."

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Josiah Quincy III photo

„If this bill passes, it is my deliberate opinion that it is virtually a dissolution of the Union; that it will free the States from their moral obligation; and, as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, definitely to prepare for a separation,—amicably if they can, violently if they must.“

—  Josiah Quincy III American politician 1772 - 1864
Regarding the admission of Orleans Territory as a U.S. State. Abridged Cong. Debates, Jan. 14, 1811. Vol. iv. p. 327. This was later famously paraphrased by Henry Clay: The gentleman [Mr. Quincy] cannot have forgotten his own sentiment, uttered even on the floor of this House, "Peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must." Speech, Jan. 8, 1813.

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.

Lyndon B. Johnson photo

„There is no constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution is plain. There is no moral issue. It is wrong–deadly wrong–to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of States fights or national rights. There is only the struggle for human rights.“

—  Lyndon B. Johnson American politician, 36th president of the United States (in office from 1963 to 1969) 1908 - 1973
Context: The Constitution says that no person shall be kept from voting because of his race or his color. We have all sworn an oath before God to support and to defend that Constitution. We must now act in obedience to that oath. There is no constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution is plain. There is no moral issue. It is wrong– deadly wrong– to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of States fights or national rights. There is only the struggle for human rights.

John Coleridge, 1st Baron Coleridge photo

„It would not be correct to say that every moral obligation involves a legal duty; but every legal duty is founded on a moral obligation.“

—  John Coleridge, 1st Baron Coleridge British lawyer, judge and Liberal politician 1820 - 1894
The Queen v. Instan (1893), L. R. 1 Q. B. [1893], p. 453.

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.

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Henry David Thoreau photo

„All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it.“

—  Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 American poet, essayist, naturalist, and abolitionist 1817 - 1862
Context: All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves. Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote.

Edward Macnaghten, Baron Macnaghten photo

„It is not the function of a Court of justice to enforce or give effect to moral obligations which do not carry with them legal or equitable rights.“

—  Edward Macnaghten, Baron Macnaghten Anglo-Irish rower, barrister, politician and Lord of Appeal in Ordinary 1830 - 1913
Blackburn, Low & Co. v. Vigors (1887), L. R. 12 Ap. Ca. 543.

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Alexis De Tocqueville photo

„Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.“

—  Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Context: By the side of these religious men I discern others whose looks are turned to the earth more than to Heaven; they are the partisans of liberty, not only as the source of the noblest virtues, but more especially as the root of all solid advantages; and they sincerely desire to extend its sway, and to impart its blessings to mankind. It is natural that they should hasten to invoke the assistance of religion, for they must know that liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith; but they have seen religion in the ranks of their adversaries, and they inquire no further; some of them attack it openly, and the remainder are afraid to defend it. Original text: À côté de ces hommes religieux, j'en découvre d'autres dont les regards sont tournés vers la terre plutôt que vers le ciel ; partisans de la liberté, non seulement parce qu'ils voient en elle l'origine des plus nobles vertus, mais surtout parce qu'ils la considèrent comme la source des plus grands biens, ils désirent sincèrement assurer son empire et faire goûter aux hommes ses bienfaits : je comprends que ceux-là vont se hâter d'appeler la religion à leur aide, car ils doivent savoir qu'on ne peut établir le règne de la liberté sans celui des mœurs, ni fonder les mœurs sans les croyances ; mais ils ont aperçu la religion dans les rangs de leurs adversaires, c'en est assez pour eux : les uns l'attaquent, et les autres n'osent la défendre. Introduction.

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