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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.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
Length in days of the sentence Russian blogger Alexei Navalny served for leading an opposition rally last year:
Israeli researchers developed software that evaluates the depression of bloggers.
It was revealed that reading material recovered during the U.S. raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan included Popular Science, Time, silk-screening instructions, and a suicide-prevention manual called “Is It the Heart You Are Asking?”
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”