tyranny of the majority

Liberty Quotation: Mark Twain on Majority Rule

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Mark Twain
“When you set aside mere names & come down to realities, you find that we are ruled by a King just as other absolute monarchies are.  His name is The Majority.  He is mighty in bulk & strength . . . He rules by the right of possessing less money & less brains & more ignorance than the other competitor for the throne, The Minority.  Ours is an Absolute Monarchy.”

Mark Twain, in an unsent letter to Bayard Taylor, June 10, 1878.
(Published in Mark Twain at Large by Arthur L. Scott)

Liberty Quotation: James Madison on the Danger of Oppression by the Majority

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James Madison“Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression.  In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents.”

James Madison, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, Oct. 17, 1788

Liberty Quotation: Lord Acton on the Tyranny of the Majority

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Sir John Dalberg-Acton“The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority; or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.”

Sir John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, The History of Freedom and Other Essays