Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense—nonsense upon stilts.

—Jeremy Bentham, c. 1832

The U.S. presidency is a Tudor monarchy plus telephones.

—Anthony Burgess, 1972

I am invariably of the politics of the people at whose table I sit, or beneath whose roof I sleep.

—George Borrow, 1843

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.

—E.B. White, 1944

Sic semper tyrannis! The South is avenged.

—John Wilkes Booth, 1865

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure it is right.

—Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Whether for good or evil, it is sadly inevitable that all political leadership requires the artifices of theatrical illusion. In the politics of a democracy, the shortest distance between two points is often a crooked line.

—Arthur Miller, 2001

The more corrupt the republic, the more numerous the laws.

—Tacitus, c. 117

Envy is the basis of democracy.

—Bertrand Russell, 1930

Why has the government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.

—Alexander Hamilton, 1787

What experience and history teach is this—that nations and governments have never learned anything from history or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.

—Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, 1830

The first requirement of a statesman is that he be dull.

—Dean Acheson, 1970

It is a certain sign of a wise government and proceeding, when it can hold men’s hearts by hopes, when it cannot by satisfaction.

—Francis Bacon, 1625