Ralph Waldo EmersonRalph Waldo Emerson, (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, and poet

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote

“The history of persecution is a history of endeavors to cheat nature, to make water run up hill, to twist a rope of sand.”

Ralph Waldo EmersonRalph Waldo Emerson
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Essays, 1841

Ratings and Comments

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

Nice thought, but it has to reach too far for those analogies...

me again
  • Reply
    me again    9/5/06

    Emerson is a great writer but this quote makes no sense to me.

    Ken, Allyn, WA

    I suppose free thought and the free interchange of ideas are as natural in human society as a stream running downhill. Persecution is the attempt to control the free thoughts of men to protect the rest of society from the heretical thoughts. It is much like damming a stream to protect a valley from floods. It takes a massive dam to stop a small stream.

    • Reply
      Anonymous    5/13/09

      This doesn't make sense to me. Then again, maybe that's the point. Persecution is pointless.

      Mike, Norwalk

      The occupying statist theocracy infesting this land is an excellent example of oppressing and harassing the noble family of man outside nature's laws. Persecution through compelled compliance, government licensing, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity (2nd plank of the communist manifesto, funny money, police state confiscations, etc.), non-recognition of individual sovereignty, active harassing of inalienable rights and violent oppression of liberty are antithetical to nature. When implemented, carnal theories and subjugating philosophies of men are all despotic procedures outside nature. Such historical persecutions that cheat nature are as temporary, even if that means decades or centuries while, inalienable rights and liberty reign hopeful eternally. While nature and its laws are palpable expressions, persecutions are a timely kin to water running up hill and twisted a rope of sand.

      Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

      Now we must find out who the persecutor is, and who is the persecuted. 


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