"But the fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness, considered as individual possessions are secured by those maxims of
constitutional law which are the monuments showing the victorious progress of
the race in securing to men the blessings of civilization under the reign of
just and equal laws, so that, in the famous language of the Massachusetts Bill of
Rights, the government of the commonwealth 'may be a government of laws and not
of men.' For, the very idea that one man may be compelled to hold his life, or
the means of living, or any material right essential to the enjoyment of life,
at the mere will of another, seems to be intolerable in any country where
freedom prevails, as being the essence of slavery itself."
"The erosion of a nation's concern for life and for individual rights,
has always preceded the intrusion of tyranny."
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the rights of
the people by the gradual & silent encroachments of those in power than by
violent & sudden usurpations."
"And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought
are still at issue around the globe--the belief that the rights of man come not
from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God."
"For the principal aim of society is to protect individuals in the
enjoyment of those absolute rights, which were vested in them by the immutable
laws of nature; but which could not be preserved in peace without the mutual
assistance and intercourse, which is gained by the institution of friendly and
social communities. Hence it follows, thay the first and primary end of human
laws is to maintain and regulate these absolute rights of individuals."
"By the absolute rights of individuals we
mean those which are so in their primary and strictest sense; such as would
belong to their persons merely in a state of nature, and which every man is
entitled to enjoy whether out of society or in it."
"The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old
parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole
volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be
erased or obscured by mortal power."
Copyright Family Guardian Fellowship
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