James Fenimore CooperJames Fenimore Cooper, (1789-1851) American Novelist

James Fenimore Cooper Quote

“The disposition of all power is to abuses, nor does it at all mend the matter that its possessors are a majority. Unrestrained political authority, though it be confided to masses, cannot be trusted without positive limitations, men in bodies being but an aggregation of the passions, weaknesses and interests of men as individuals.”

James Fenimore CooperJames Fenimore Cooper
~ James Fenimore Cooper

The American Democrat, 1838

Ratings and Comments

David L. Rosenthal

Hmmm...men in bodies, huh? (Well, I read a couple of his stories and found his phraseology difficult to follow.) But the idea expressed here seems valid enough. Where, though, do we place those positive limitations? (Men in whose bodies?) Any man must agree to limit himself, apart from any conventions. Otherwise, nothing will improve.

E Archer, NYC

That is why we have a Constitution -- to restrain government, not the People.

ccal, Lewisville

Archer, please remind the supreme court that we have a constitution our forefathers wrote in stone. Not living.

E Archer, NYC

Remind the State governors and State legislatures of their own states' sovereignty and the sovereignty of their citizens. The State governments will have to 'grow up' and stop their whoring with DC. ;-)

Mike, Norwalk

Within a broad scope of focus, the intended message is probably more accurate than not. A good example to prove the point is the current occupying statist theocracy infesting this land. Beyond that, on the specific addressed topic; “Power” is: “The ability to act or not act” (Black’s Law Dictionary) When the disposition of power is to unjustly control someone else’s responses or exert anti-natural law dominance and/or influence over another’s actions, it is illicit abuse. Who - which individual, has authority to confide or consign to the masses unrestrained political authority? ? ? NO ONE ! ! !

There also exists a moral disposition of power in individuals to benefit others at law without limiting liberty, inalienable rights, interests or actions


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