America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. It acted on this belief; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.
Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law.
Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purpose is beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.
I abhor averages. I like the individual case. A man may have six meals one day and none the next, making an average of three meals per day, but that is not a good way to live.
Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.
Nearly all legislation involves a weighing of public needs as against private desires; and likewise a weighing of relative social values.
Organization can never be a substitute for initiative and for judgment.
Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example.
Sunshine is the best disinfectant.
[T]he greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
The most important political office is that of private citizen.
Those who won our independence... valued liberty as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.
We are not won by arguments that we can analyze, but by tone and temper; by the manner, which is the man himself.