A contract for the establishment of government, being nothing but a voluntary contract between individuals for their mutual benefit, differs, in nothing that is essential to its validity, from any other contract between man and man, or between nation and nation.
Any number of scoundrels, having money enough to start with, can establish themselves as a ‘government’; because, with money, they can hire soldiers, and with soldiers extort more money; and also compel general obedience to their will.
One essential of a free government is that it rest wholly on voluntary support. And one certain proof that a government is not free, is that it coerces more or less persons to support it, against their will.
It cannot be said that the Constitution formed ‘the people of the United States,’ for all time, into a corporation. It does not speak of ‘the people’ as a corporation, but as individuals. A corporation does not describe itself as ‘we,’ nor as ‘people,’ nor as ‘ourselves.’ Nor does a corporation, in legal language, have any ‘posterity.’
Now a slave is not ‘held’ by any legal contract, obligation, duty, or authority, which the laws will enforce. He is ‘held’ only by brute force. One person beats another until the latter will obey him, work for him, if he require it, or do nothing if he require it.
No court presumes to tell a jury that they are to try a capital case with the same indifference and unconcern as to consequences, that they would a case where the results of their decision would be less important.
All governments, the worst on earth, and the most tyrannical on earth, are free governments to that portion of the people who voluntarily support them.
Jesus never instructed men to do what was right because it was right; yet this is the true reason why they should do it.
Legally speaking, there are no such things as ‘public rights,’ as distinguished from individual rights. Legally speaking, there is no such creature or thing as ‘the public.’
Majorities and minorities cannot rightfully be taken at all into account in deciding questions of justice.