Quotes supporting Principle Seven

From The American Ideal...

BY NATURE, EQUALLY FREE AND INDEPENDENT

That all men are by nature equally free and independent . . .

Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776

DIVERSE FACULTIES CREATE INEQUALITY OF INTERESTS, PARTIES, POSSESSIONS

As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed . . . The diversity in the faculties of men from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to an uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; And from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

The Federalist (no. 10, by James Madison)

LIBERTY AND EQUALITY

In the supposed state of nature, all men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly, the laws of the Creator:--They are imprinted by the finger of God on the heart of man. Thou shall do no injury to thy neighbour, is the voice of nature and reason, and it is confirmed by written revelation. In the state of nature, every man hath an equal right by honest means to acquire property, and to enjoy it; in general, to pursue his own happiness, and none can consistently controul or interrupt him in the pursuit . . . [But government is needed to defend the weak and honest against the strong and selfish, so government is organized] for the better security of their natural rights. In this state of society, the unalienable rights of nature are held sacred:--- . . . the doctrine of Liberty and Equality is an article in the political creed of the United States . . . without Liberty and Equality, there cannot exist that tranquillity of mind, which results from the assurance of every citizen, that his own personal safety and rights are secure . . . it is the end and design of all free and lawful Governments.

Samuel Adams (As Lt. Governor of Mass., to the Legislature, upon the death of Governor John Hancock, 1794)

(Note: "Equality" here--per the Declaration of Independence--means equality in sight of God and Law)

FROM LEATHER APRONS TO LEATHER APRONS IN THREE GENERATIONS

Is not one half of the property in the city of Philadelphia owned by men who wear LEATHER APRONS?

Does not the other half belong to men whose fathers or grandfathers wore LEATHER APRONS?

An Anonymous Item, Pa. Evening Post, 1776

EQUALITY DESPITE DIFFERING CIRCUMSTANCES

. . . the important ends of Civil Society, and the personal Securities of Life and Liberty, these remain the same in every Member of the society; and the poorest continues to have an equal Claim to them with the most opulent, whatever Difference Time, Chance, or Industry may occasion in their Circumstances.

Benjamin Franklin ("Queries etc." regarding Constitution of Pa., 1789)

EQUALITY IN AMERICA GREATER

[In the U.S.] Every freeman has a right to the same protection & security; and a very moderate share of property entitles them to the possession of all the honors and privileges the public can bestow: hence arises a greater equality, than is to be found among the people of any other country, and an equality which is more likely to continue . . .

Charles Pinckney (In the Framing Convention, 1787)

EQUALLY AND GOVERNMENT

In the state of nature there was subordination: The weaker was by force made to bow down to the more powerful. This is still the unhappy lot of a great part of the world, under government: So among the brutal herd, the strongest horns are the strongest laws. Mankind have entered into political societies, rather for the sake of restoring equality; the want of which, in the state of nature, rendered existence uncomfortable and even dangerous. I am not of levelling principles: But I am apt to think, that constitution of civil government which admits equality in the most extensive degree, consistent with the true design o! government, is the best . . .

(Last emphasis added.) Samuel Adams (Essay, in Boston Gazette, 1771)

EQUAL LEGAL JUSTICE

Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political . . . [is the goal]

President Thomas Jefferson (First Inaugural Address) (Note: "Justice" here means legal justice.)

A DELUSION ABOUT EQUALITY

"Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government [democracy], have erroneously supposed, that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions."

The Federalist (no. 10 by James Madison)

A NATURAL ARISTOCRACY OF VIRTUE AND TALENTS

For I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents . . . The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature, for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society. And indeed, it would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society.

Thomas Jefferson (Letter to John Adams, 1813)

ENDING SLAVERY

I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it [slavery]; but there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, and that is by Legislative authority; and this, as far as my suffrage will go, shall never be wanting.

George Washington (Letter to Robert Morris, 1786)

The abolition of domestic slavery is the great object of desire in those colonies, where it was unhappily introduced in their infant state. But previous to the enfranchisement of the slaves we have, it is necessary to exclude all further importations from Africa; yet our repeated attempts to effect this by prohibitions . . . [have been prevented by the King].

Thomas Jefferson (Rights of British America, 1774)