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If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be: An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last. It is by this, in a great degree, that the rich and powerful are to be restrained from enterprises of a general sentiment, by their interest in the principle, and by the obstacles which the habit it produces erects against innovation and encroachment. It is by this, in a still greater degree, that caballers, intriguers, and demagogues are prevented from climbing on the shoulders of faction to the tempting seats of usurpation and tyranny.
A large and well organized Republic can scarcely lose its liberty from any other cause than that of anarchy, to which a contempt of the laws is the high road…
A sacred respect for constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.
–Alexander Hamilton, Letter No. III to the American Daily Advertiser, Aug. 28, 1794, in The Writings of Alexander Hamilton pp. 830-31.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Number of people who attended the World Grits Festival, held in St. George, South Carolina, last spring:
The brown bears of Greece continued chewing through telephone poles.
In Peru, a 51-year-old activist became the first former sex worker to run for the national legislature. “I’m going to put order,” she said, “in that big brothel which is Congress.”
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“Civilization masks us with a screen, from ourselves and from one another, with thin depth of unreality. We habitually live — do we not? — in a world self-created, half established, of false values arbitrarily upheld, largely inspired by misconception, misapprehension, wrong perspective, and defective proportion, misapplication.”