Quotations on Democracy, Morality and Society

I've heard that there's nothing new under the sun and that history repeats itself.  It amazes, and sometimes disturbs me that some of the things I see going on in our country and the world have happened before.  Some great thinkers, statesmen and writers have commented on democracy and morality, and I've gathered a few of my favorites here.  I tried to arrange them along with 2 Amendments to the Constitution.  They seem, amendments and quotations, to support each other very nicely. 

These are important lessons for the people of today.  We need to know what has happened in the past.  As Edmund Burke said:  "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it."  Many people in many societies have tried many systems of government and economics.  We need to know which ones have worked, and which have not and why.  Repeating failed experiments is a waste of time and resources.


5th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.   


Democracy and Economics

Rev. William John Henry Boetcker (1873–1962) Presbyterian minister

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.

You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.

You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.

And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.


Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) US President; author of the Declaration of Independence  

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.



The Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.  

  Alexander Tytler (1747-1813) Scottish writer, historian & lawyer

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury.

James Madison (1751-1836) US President, co-author of the Federalist Papers, co-author of the US Constitution

I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."


Margaret Thatcher (1925- ) Prime Minister of Great Britain

The problem with Socialism is you eventually run out of other people’s money.


Robert Heinlein  (1907-1988) American writer

TANSTAAFL – There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.


Democracy and Morality

 Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) US President; author of the Gettysburg Address

A government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Ayn Rand (1905-1982) Russian-American writer

Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual

A. A. Bestuzhev-Marlinsky (1797–1837) Russian poet

The official's heart must stand at attention before his mind.


Kenneth McClellan (1955- ) American soldier

Democracy without morality is dictatorship by the majority and slavery of the minority.


 Democracy and Liberty

 2d Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Inventory, philosopher, newspaper editor, co-author of the US Constitution

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.  Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Inventory, philosopher, newspaper editor, co-author of the US Constitution

They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) US President; author of the Declaration of Independence  

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms

Alastair Farrugia ( - ) British Mathematician

Freedom is when the people can speak, democracy is when the government listens.


Final Thoughts

Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797) Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher

Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it.

In a democracy, the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.


Cicero   - 55 BC

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt.  People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.


If you have quotations you like, or corrections, 

please send them to the Web Editor: Ken McClellan