Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Oppression

"The best principles, if pushed to excess, degenerate into fatal vices. Generosity is nearly allied to extravagance; charity itself may lead to ruin; and the sternness of justice is but one step removed from the severity of oppression." - Archibald Alison

"There is no unmixed good in human affairs; the best principles, if pushed to excess, degenerate into fatal vices. Generosity is nearly allied to extravagance; charity itself may lead to ruin; the sternness of justice is but one step removed from the severity of oppression. It is the same in the political world; the tranquillity of despotism resembles the stagnation of the Dead Sea; the fever of innovation the tempests of the ocean It would seem as if, at particular periods, from causes inscrutable to human wisdom, a universal frenzy seizes mankind; reason, experience, prudence, are alike blinded; and the very classes who are to perish in the storm are the first to raise its fury." - Archibald Alison

"Oppression maketh a wise man mad." -

"He who allows oppression shares the crime." - Erasmus Darwin

"He that will do anything for his pleasure, must engage himself to suffer all the pains annexed to it; and these pains, are the natural punishments of those actions, which are the beginning of more harm than good. And hereby it comes to pass that intemperance is naturally punished with diseases; rashness with mischances; injustice with the violence of enemies: Pride, with ruin; cowardice, with oppression; negligent government of princes, with rebellion; and rebellion, with slaughter." - Thomas Hobbes

"Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"The true purpose of life, aside from resisting oppression from without, each individual carries within himself, the responsibility of living nobly or ignobly." - David O. McKay

"Had I no other proof of the immortality of the soul than the oppression of the just and the triumph of the wicked in this world, this alone would prevent my having the least doubt of it. So shocking a discord amidst a general harmony of things would make me naturally look for a cause; I should say to myself we do not cease to exist with this life; everything reassumes its order after life." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Luxury is a remedy much worse than the disease it sets up to cure; or rather it is in itself the greatness of all evils; for every State, great or small: for, in order to maintain all the servants and vagabonds it creates, it brings oppression and ruin on the citizen and the laborer; it is like those scorching winds, which, covering the trees and plants with their devouring insects, deprive useful animals of their subsistence and spread famine and death wherever they blow." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Extreme old age is childhood; extreme wisdom is ignorance, for so it may be called, since the man whom the oracle pronounced the wisest of men professed that he knew nothing; yea, push a coward to the extreme and he will show courage; oppress a man to the last, and he will rise above oppression." - J. Beaumont

"They believe their words. Everybody shows a respectful deference to certain sounds that he and his fellows can make. But about feelings people really know nothing. We talk with indignation or enthusiasm; we talk about oppression, cruelty, crime, devotion, self-sacrifice, virtue, and we know very little beyond the words." - Joseph Conrad, born Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski

"The end of all political associations is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man; and these rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance of oppression." - French National Assembly - Declaration of the Rights of Man NULL

"The oppression of a majority is detestable and odious: the oppression of a minority is only by one degree less detestable and odious." - William Ewart Gladstone

"Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed; -'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the people's injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. The choice today is not between violence and non-violence. It is either non-violence or non-existence...Segregation is the offspring of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I am a man of peace, God knows how I love peace; but I hope I shall never be such a coward as to mistake oppression for peace." - Louis Kossuth, also Lajos Kossuth, fully Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva

"To change the conditions that allow war, oppression, and mass suffering, we must change the thinking that has allowed the conditions to be present.”" - Gregg Braden

"The occasions to which the concept of the just war can be rightly applied have become highly restricted. A war to “defend the victims of wanton aggression” where the demands of justice join the demands of order, is today the clearer case of a just war… The concept of a just war does not provide moral justification for initiating a war of incalculable consequences to end such oppression." - Angus Dun and Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr

"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Economic oppression cannot exist without its religious justifications." - Douglas Meeks, also M. Douglas Meeks

"Wealth tends to corrupt the mind and to nourish its love of power, and to stimulate its oppression." - Gouverneur Morris

"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine

"True religion is a revolutionary force: it is an inveterate enemy of oppression, privilege, and injustice." - Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, fully Sir or Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

"Men's manners have improved markedly since Genghis Khan's day. Harems went out of style centuries ago and even despots now disavow pillage and oppression as ideals. At heart, though, we're the same animals we were 800 years ago. Which is to say we are status seekers. We may talk of equality and fraternity. We may strive for classless societies. But we go right on building hierarchies and jockeying for status within them. Can we abandon the tendency? Probably not. For as scientists are now discovering, status seeking is not just a habit or cultural tradition. It's a design of the male psyche - a biological drive that is rooted in the nervous system and regulated by hormones and brain chemicals." -

"The nobility of our calling will always be rooted in two commitments difficult to observe: refusal to lie about what we know, and resistance to oppression." - Albert Camus

"The nobility of our calling will always be rooted in two commitments difficult to observe: refusal to lie about what we know, and resistance to oppression." -

"We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression; the heart of a wise man should resemble a mirror, which reflects every object without being sullied by any." - Confucius, aka Kong Qiu, Zhongni, K'ung Fu-tzu or Kong Fuzi NULL

"The pact of Munich was a more fell blow to humanity than the atom bomb at Hiroshima. Suffocation of human freedom among a once free people, however quietly and peacefully accomplished, is more far-reaching in its implications and its effects on their future than the destruction of their homes, industrial centers and transportation facilities. Out of rubble heaps, willing hands can rebuild a better city; but out of freedom lost can stem only generations of hate and bitter struggle and brutal oppression." - Dwight Eisenhower, fully Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower

"The poorest being that crawls on earth, contending to save itself from injustice, and oppression, is an object respectable in the eyes of God and man." - Edmund Burke

"Great evils befall the world when the powerful begin to copy the weak. The desperate devices which enable the weak to survive are unequaled instruments of oppression and extermination in the hands of the strong." - Eric Hoffer

"The moral law is written on the tablets of eternity. For every false word or unrighteous deed, for cruelty and oppression, for lust or vanity, the price has to be paid at last." - James Froude, fully James Anthony Froude

"Oppression leaves [slaves] no choice other than resignation or revolution." - Jean-Paul Sartre

"One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free." -

"Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather, it condemns the oppression or persecution of others." -

"They have exiled me now from their society and I am pleased, because humanity does not exile except the one whose noble spirit rebels against despotism and oppression. He who does not prefer exile to slavery is not free by any measure of freedom, truth and duty." - Kahlil Gibran

"Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress." -

"We speak here of the challenge of the dichotomies of war and peace, violence and non-violence, racism and human dignity, oppression and repression and liberty and human rights, poverty and freedom from want." - Nelson Mandela, fully Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of the rest or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance... Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change the world that yields most painfully to change." - Robert Kennedy, fully Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." - Robert Kennedy, fully Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy

"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. n." - Robert Kennedy, fully Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy

"All oppression creates a state of war. And this is no exception. The existent who is regarded as inessential cannot fail to demand the re-establishment of her sovereignty." - Simone de Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir

"They have vanished before the avarice and oppression of the white man, as snow before the summer." - Tecumseh, aka Tecumtha or Tekamthi NULL

"If oppression and wrong should gain the ascendancy, and injustice stalk abroad in the land, and all else fail him; nevertheless his humblest roof, and all things that are sheltered beneath it, would find, somehow, someway, a final refuge and protection in the Supreme Court of the United States." - Edward John Phelps

"The conception of worth, that each person is an end per se, is not a mere abstraction. Our interest in it is not merely academic. Every outcry against the oppression of some people by other people, or against what is morally hideous is the affirmation of the principle that a human being as such is not to be violated. A human being is not to be handled as a tool but is to be respected and revered." - Felix Adler

"When a system of oppression has become institutionalized it is unnecessary for individuals to be oppressive." - Florynce R. Kennedy

"The term "just war" contains an internal contradiction. War is inherently unjust, and the great challenge of our time is how to deal with evil, tyranny, and oppression without killing huge numbers of people." - Howard Zinn

"The longer I live the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and wonder of the world… I have loved the feel of the grass under my feet, and the sound of the running streams by my side. The hum of the wind in the treetops has always been good music to me, and the face of the fields has often comforted me more than the faces of men. I am in love with this world...I have tilled its soil, I have gathered its harvest, I have waited upon its seasons, and always have I reaped what I have sown. I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, crossed its deserts, felt the sting of its frosts, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings." - John Burroughs

"No free people ever existed, or can ever exist, without keeping the purse strings in their own hands. Where this is the case, they have a constitutional check upon the administration, which may thereby by brought into order without violence. But when such a power is not lodged in the people, oppression proceeds uncontrolled in its career, till the governed, transported into rage, seek redress in the midst of blood and confusion. " - John Dickinson, pen name Fabius

"We have a right, also, in various ways, to act upon our unfavorable opinion of anyone, not to the oppression of his individuality, but in the exercise of ours." - John Stuart Mill

"No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority." - Joseph Addison

"It is a tragedy when the mind, soul and heart are in slavery in a way of life which refuses to recognize that people have rights before God. It is a war which makes hate a badge of honor, slavery the keystone to prosperity. Not to resist would make one an accomplice to crime.... We must resist oppression and tyranny. We have to end it no matter what it costs." - Joseph R. Sizoo