Exigencies create the necessary ability to meet and conquer them.
Agitation is the method that plants the school by the side of the ballot box.
Society—the only field where the sexes have ever met on terms of equality, the arena where character is formed and studied, the cradle and the realm of public opinion, the crucible of ideas, the world’s university, at once a school and a theatre, the spur and the crown of ambition, the tribunal which unmasks pretension and stamps real merit, the power that gives government leave to be, and outruns the lazy church in fixing the moral sense.
With us, law is nothing unless close, behind it stands a warm, living public opinion. Let that die or grow indifferent, and statutes was waste paper, lacking all executive force.
To be as good as our fathers we must be better, imitation is not discipleship.
The old Hindoo saw, in his dream, the human race led out to its various fortunes.—First, men were in chains, that went back to an iron hand—then he saw them led by threads from the brain, which went upward to an unseen hand. The first was despotism, iron, and ruling by force.—The last was civilization, ruling by ideas.
Agitation prevents rebellion, keeps the peace, and secures progress. Every step she gains is gained forever. Muskets are the weapons of animals. Agitation is the atmosphere of the brains.
What gunpowder did for war, the printing press has done for the mind; the statesman is no longer clad in the steel of special education, but every reading man is his judge.
Topics: Reading, Books
Wants awaken intellect. To gratify them disciplines intellect. The keener the want, the lustier the growth.
Statutes are mere milestones, telling how far yesterday’s thought had travelled; and the talk of the sidewalk today is the law of the land.—With us, law is nothing unless close behind it stands a warm, living public opinion.
Topics: Justice, Opinion
If you want to be an orator, first get your great cause.
The heart is the best logician.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty power is ever stealing from the many to the few. The hand entrusted with power becomes the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continual oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot: only by unintermitted Agitation can a people be kept sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity.
Government is only a necessary evil, like other go-carts, and crutches. The need of it shows exactly how far we are still children.—All overmuch governing kills the self-help and energy of the governed.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Lydia Maria Child American Abolitionist
- Harriet Beecher Stowe American Abolitionist
- Frederick Douglass American Abolitionist
- Thomas Wentworth Higginson American Reformer, Editor
- John Weiss American Author
- James Russell Lowell American Poet, Critic
- William Lloyd Garrison American Abolitionist
- Elliot Richardson American Lawyer
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. American Jurist, Author
- Adlai Stevenson American Diplomat