A government which deliberately enacts injustice, and persists in it, will at length ever become the laughingstock of the world.—"Slavery in Massachusetts"
I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.—"Civil Disobedience"
If you aspire to anything better than politics, expect no cooperation from men. They will not further anything good. You must prevail of your own force, as a plant springs and grows by its own vitality.—Journal, 3 April 1858
Is it not possible that an individual may be right and a government wrong?—"A Plea for Captain John Brown"
It is a strange age of the world this, when empires, kingdoms, and republics come a-begging to our doors and utter their complaints at our elbows.—Journal, 17 November 1850
It is not to be forgotten, that while the law holds fast the thief and murderer, it lets itself go loose.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Law never made men a whit more just.—"Resistance to Civil Government"
Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.—"Resistance to Civil Government"
New Hampshire courts have lately been deciding—as if it was for them to decide—whether the top of Mt. Washington belonged to A or to B; and, it begin decided in favor of B, as I hear, he went up one winter with the proper officer and took formal possession of it. But I think that the top of Mt. Washington should not be private property; it should be left unappropriated for modesty and reverence’s sake, or if only to suggest that earth has higher uses than we put her to.—Journal, 3 January 1861
Nobody legislates for me for the way would be not to legislate at all.—Journal, 23 March 1853