We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.

— Louis D. Brandeis

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Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.


Our government... teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.


The only title in our democracy superior to that of President is the title of citizen.


If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.


It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.


Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases.

Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.


To declare that in the administration of criminal law the end justifies the means to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure conviction of a private criminal would bring terrible retribution.


The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people.


If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.


... fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones.


Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.


The function of the press is very high.

It is almost holy. It ought to serve as a forum for the people, through which the people may know freely what is going on. To misstate or suppress the news is a breach of trust.


About Louis D. Brandeis

Quotes 88 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Judge
Birthday October 16

The makers of our Constitution . . . conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone - the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.


Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent.


Neutrality is at times a graver sin than belligerence.


Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.


America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. It acted on this belief; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.


The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.


Crime is contagious....if the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law.


Those who won our independence... valued liberty as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.


There are no shortcuts in evolution.


The old idea of a good bargain was a transaction in which one man got the better of another. The new idea of a good contract is a transaction which is good for both parties to it.


The world presents enough problems if you believe it to be a world of law and order; do not add to them by believing it to be a world of miracles.


Behind every argument is someone's ignorance.


I used to oppose women's suffrage and I've come to support it because these women have convinced me that we need full gender equality for full democratic participation.


Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards.

They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty.


The best of wages will not compensate for excessively long working hours which undermine heath.


Men long for an afterlife in which there apparently is nothing to do but delight in heaven's wonders.


The goose that lays golden eggs has been considered a most valuable possession.

But even more profitable is the privilege of taking the golden eggs laid by somebody else's goose. The investment bankers and their associates now enjoy that privilege.


The right to be alone -- the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized man.


Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly.


Strong, responsible unions are essential to industrial fair play.

Without them the labor bargain is wholly one-sided.


At the foundation of our civil liberties lies the principle that denies to government officials an exceptional position before the law and which subjects them to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen.


There is no good writing; there is only good rewriting.


Subtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy have become available to the government. Discovery and invention have made it possible for the government, by means far more effective than stretching upon the rack, to obtain disclosure in court of what is whispered in the closet.


History is not life, but since only life makes history, the union of the two is obvious.


In differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress.


Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases.


Repression breeds hate; hate menaces stable government.


Ownership has been separated from control;

and this separation has removed many of the checks which formerly operated to curb the misuse of wealth and power.


What I have desired to do is to make the people of Boston realize that the most important office, and the one which all of us can and should fill, is that of private citizen.


I abhor averages. I like the individual case. A man may have six meals one day and none the next, making an average of three meals per day, but that is not a good way to live.


If you would only recognize that life is hard, things would be so much easier for you.


The constitutional right of free speech has been declared to be the same in peace and war. In peace, too, men may differ widely as to what loyalty to our country demands, and an intolerant majority, swayed by passion or by fear, may be prone in the future, as it has been in the past, to stamp as disloyal opinions with which it disagrees.


No system of regulation can safely be substituted for the operation of individual liberty as expressed in competition.


The general rule of law is, that the noblest of human productions knowledge, truths ascertained, conceptions and ideas become, after voluntary communication to others, free as the air to common use.


If you will just start with the idea that this is a hard world,it will all be much simpler.


No danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is an opportunity for full discussion. Only an emergency can justify repression.


The most important political office is that of the private citizen.

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