…Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices...a punisher.
An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best laws.
...governments...pervert the abundance which civilized life produces...It affords to them pretenses for power and revenue, for which there would be neither occasion nor apology, if the circle of civilization were rendered complete.
We still feel the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner…It watches property as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute.
When…[government] operates to create and increase wretchedness in any of the parts of society, it is on a wrong system, and reformation is necessary.
When I contemplate the natural dignity of man...I become irritated at the attempt to govern mankind by force and fraud, as if they were all knaves and fools...
We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free...
The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.
In the end we will be the victors. For though at times the flames of liberty may cease to shine, the coal can never expire.
An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot...and it will conquer.
He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression…
It is impossible to sit down and think seriously on the affairs of America, but the original principles upon which she resisted, and the glow and ardor which they inspired, will occur...The principles deserve to remembered, and to remember them rightly is repossessing them.
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered...Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated.
Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.
I would rather die in attempting to obtain permanent freedom for a handful of people than survive a conquest which would serve only to extend the empire of despotism.
We have it in our power to begin the world over again...men...are to receive their portion of freedom.