„That men should understand that governments do not exist by divine right, and that arbitrary government is the violation of divine right, was no doubt the medicine suited to the malady under which Europe languished.“

—  John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, Context: That men should understand that governments do not exist by divine right, and that arbitrary government is the violation of divine right, was no doubt the medicine suited to the malady under which Europe languished. But although the knowledge of this truth might become an element of salutary destruction, it could give little aid to progress and reform. Resistance to tyranny implied no faculty of constructing a legal government in its place. Tyburn tree may be a useful thing; but it is better still that the offender should live for repentance and reformation. The principles which discriminate in politics between good and evil, and make states worthy to last, were not yet found.
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„Democracy is not a tearing down; it is a building up. It is not denial of the divine right of kings; it supplements that same with the assertion of the divine right of all men. It does not destroy; it fulfills. It is the consummation of all theories of government, the spirit of which all the nations of the earth must yield. It is the great constructive course of the ages.“

—  Calvin Coolidge American politician, 30th president of the United States (in office from 1923 to 1929) 1872 - 1933
Context: Democracy is not a tearing down; it is a building up. It is not denial of the divine right of kings; it supplements that same with the assertion of the divine right of all men. It does not destroy; it fulfills. It is the consummation of all theories of government, the spirit of which all the nations of the earth must yield. It is the great constructive course of the ages. It is the alpha and omega of man's relation to man, the beginning and the end. There is, and can be, no more doubt of the triumphs of democracy in human affairs than there is of the triumph of gravitation in the physical world. The only question is how and when. Its foundation lays hold upon eternity. It is unconcerned with the idolatry, or despotism, or treason, or rebellion, or betrayal, but bows in reverence before Moses, or Hamden, or Washington, or Lincoln, or the lights that shone on Calvary.

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„Liberty is not an aggregate social project. Every individual has rights. And rights give rise to obligations between all men, including those who are in power. That men band in a collective called 'government' doesn't give them license to violate individual rights.“

—  Ilana Mercer South African writer
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„If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final.“

—  Calvin Coolidge American politician, 30th president of the United States (in office from 1923 to 1929) 1872 - 1933
Context: If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

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„Our society seems no longer able to understand that it is possible to exist otherwise than under the reign of law, elaborated by a representative government and administered by a handful of rulers.“

—  Peter Kropotkin Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, scientist, revolutionary, economist, activist, geographer, writer 1842 - 1921
Context: In existing States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. … In short, a law everywhere and for everything! A law about fashions, a law about mad dogs, a law about virtue, a law to put a stop to all the vices and all the evils which result from human indolence and cowardice. We are so perverted by an education which from infancy seeks to kill in us the spirit of revolt, and to develop that of submission to authority; we are so perverted by this existence under the ferrule of a law, which regulates every event in life — our birth, our education, our development, our love, our friendship — that, if this state of things continues, we shall lose all initiative, all habit of thinking for ourselves. Our society seems no longer able to understand that it is possible to exist otherwise than under the reign of law, elaborated by a representative government and administered by a handful of rulers. And even when it has gone so far as to emancipate itself from the thralldom, its first care has been to reconstitute it immediately. "The Year I of Liberty" has never lasted more than a day, for after proclaiming it men put themselves the very next morning under the yoke of law and authority. I

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„The great difficulty in forming legitimate governments is in persuading those forming the governments that those who are to be their fellow citizens are equal to them in the rights, which their common government is to protect. Catholics and Protestants in sixteenth-century Europe looked upon each other as less than human, and slaughtered each other without pity and without compunction. It was impossible for there to be a common citizenship of those who did not look upon each other as possessing the same right of conscience. How one ought to worship God cannot be settled by majority rule. A majority of one faith cannot ask a minority of another faith to submit their differences to a vote. George Washington, in 1793, said that our governments were not formed in the gloomy ages of ignorance and superstition, but at a time when the rights of man were better understood than in any previous age. Washington was right, in that such rights were, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, in America, better understood. But they were not perfectly understood, as the continued existence of chattel slavery attests. A difference concerning the equal rights of persons of color made the continued existence of a common government of all Americans impossible. A great civil war had to be fought, ending the existence of slavery, reuniting the nation and rededicating it to the proposition that all men are created equal.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa American historian and collegiate professor 1918 - 2015

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