Our constitution does not copy the laws of
neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves.Its administration favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy.If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private
differences; if to social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for
capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he
is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition.
The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary
life.There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do
not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbor for doing what he likes,
or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be
offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty.
But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as
citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard, teaching us to obey the
magistrates and the laws, particularly such as regard the protection of the
injured, whether they are actually on the statute book, or belong to that
code which, although unwritten, yet cannot be broken without acknowledged
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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