There can be no criminal intent in resisting injustice.
When a man says he is building a house for himself and his posterity, he does not mean to be understood as saying that he has any thought of binding them, nor is it to be inferred that he is so foolish as to imagine that he has any right or power to bind them, to live in it.
Our Constitution does not profess to have been established simply by the majority, but by ‘the people’ – the minority as much as the majority.
The greatest of all crimes are the wars that are carried on by governments, to plunder, enslave, and destroy mankind.
If physical power be the fountain of law, then law and force are synonymous terms. Or, perhaps, rather, law would be the result of a combination of will and force; of will, united with a physical power sufficient to compel obedience to it, but not necessarily having any moral character whatever.
A man’s natural rights are his own, against the whole world; and any infringement of them is equally a crime, whether committed by one man, or by millions; whether committed by one man, calling himself a robber, (or by any other name indicating his true character,) or by millions, calling themselves a government.
Any rule, not existing in the nature of things, or that is not permanent, universal and inflexible in its application, is no law, according to any correct definition of the term law.
All, or nearly all, the advantage there is in fixing any constitutional limits to the power of a government, is simply to give notice to the government of the point at which it will meet with resistance.
It is with government paper, and bank paper, as it is with the paper of private persons; that is, it is worth just what can be delivered in redemption of it, and no more. We all understand that the notes of the Astors, and Stewarts, and Vanderbilts, though issued by millions, and tens of millions, are really worth their nominal values.
There is not, in the Constitution, a syllable that implies that persons, born within the territorial limits of the United States, have allegiance imposed upon them on account of their birth in the country, or that they will be judged by any different rule, on the subject of treason, than persons of foreign birth.