A ship is always safe at the shore, but that is not what it is built for.
In a certain sense, there was no American Revolution at all. There was, instead, an American War for Independence in which Americans threw off British authority in order to retain their liberties and self-government.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
Most people prefer to believe that their leaders are just and fair, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which he lives is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one’s self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.
One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence.
If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.
The instruments, by which [government] must act, are either the authority of the Laws or force. If the first be destroyed, the last must be substituted; … and where this becomes the ordinary instrument of government, there is an end to liberty.
The inherent right in the people to reform their government, I do not deny; and they have another right, and that is to resist unconstitutional laws without overturning the government.
Can any reasonable man be well disposed toward a government which makes war and carnage the only means of supporting itself?
We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a feather bed.