Historic Views on Government – Aristotle

Honest opinion about government from Aristotle:

It is best that laws should be so constructed as to leave as little as possible to the decision of those who judge.
   Rhetoric, I

Good laws, if they are not obeyed, do not constitute good government.

Those who think that all virtue is to be found in their own party principles push matters to extremes; they do not consider that disproportion destroys a state.
   Politics, 4th century B.C.

Aristotle was Plato's most outstanding pupil (367-347 B.C.), a tutor of Alexander the Great (c.342-335) and a teacher in Athens (335-322). He wrote and lectured on logic, metaphysics, natural science, ethics and politics, and rhetoric and poetics. Aristotle's great philosophical work is Metaphysics (13 books), but he is also famous for many other works, including Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, Rhetoric, and Poetics.

Quotation and short bio from The Quotable Conservative: The Giants of Conservatism on Liberty, Freedom, Individual Responsibility, and Traditional Values. Rod L. Evans and Irwin M. Berent, editors. Holbrook, Mass.: Adams Publishing, 1996.

Historic Views on Government – John Adams

Honest opinion about government from John Adams:

The judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, so that it may be a check upon both.
   Thoughts on Government, 1776

Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.
   Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law, 1765

That all men are born to equal rights is true. Every being has a right to his own, as clear, as moral, as sacred, as any other being has. This is as indubitable as a moral government in the universe. But to teach that all men are born with equal powers and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal property and advantages through life, is as gross a fraud, as glaring an imposition on the credulity of the people, as ever was practiced by monks, by Druids, by Brahmins, by priests of the immortal Lama, or by the self-styled philosophers of the French revolution.
   Letter to John Taylor of Caroline, 1814

John Adams was elected as a delegate to the First Continental Congress in 1774, serving until his appointment as commissioner to France (1777-1778). He served as Vice-President for two terms (1788-1796) and in 1796 was elected the second President of the United States. The views of Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, on human nature, on the need for government, and on the causes of political conflict are significant contributions to Conservative social, political, and economic thought. His A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America (3 volumes, 1787-1788) is a classic.

Quotation and short bio from The Quotable Conservative: The Giants of Conservatism on Liberty, Freedom, Individual Responsibility, and Traditional Values. Rod L. Evans and Irwin M. Berent, editors. Holbrook, Mass.: Adams Publishing, 1996.