Quotes by James F. Cooper

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It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny.

The common faults of American language are an ambition of effect, a want of simplicity, and a turgid abuse of terms.
Candor is a proof of both a just frame of mind, and of a good tone of breeding. It is a quality that belongs equally to the honest man and to the gentleman.
Everybody says it, and what everybody says must be true.
It is a misfortune that necessity has induced men to accord greater license to this formidable engine, in order to obtain liberty, than can be borne with less important objects in view; for the press, like fire, is an excellent servant, but a terrible master.
Party leads to vicious, corrupt and unprofitable legislation, for the sole purpose of defeating party.
America owes most of its social prejudices to the exaggerated religious opinions of the different sects which were so instrumental in establishing the colonies.
A monarchy is the most expensive of all forms of government, the regal state requiring a costly parade, and he who depends on his own power to rule, must strengthen that power by bribing the active and enterprising whom he cannot intimidate.
A refined simplicity is the characteristic of all high bred deportment, in every country, and a considerate humanity should be the aim of all beneath it.
Slavery is no more sinful, by the Christian code, than it is sinful to wear a whole coat, while another is in tatters, to eat a better meal than a neighbor, or otherwise to enjoy ease and plenty, while our fellow creatures are suffering and in want.
The very existence of government at all, infers inequality. The citizen who is preferred to office becomes the superior to those who are not, so long as he is the repository of power, and the child inherits the wealth of the parent as a controlling law of society.
Individuality is the aim of political liberty. By leaving to the citizen as much freedom of action and of being, as comports with order and the rights of others, the institutions render him truly a freeman. He is left to pursue his means of happiness in his own manner.
Equality, in a social sense, may be divided into that of condition and that of rights. Equality of condition is incompatible with civilization, and is found only to exist in those communities that are but slightly removed from the savage state. In practice, it can only mean a common misery.
The American doctrinaire is the converse of the American demagogue, and, in this way, is scarcely less injurious to the public. The first deals in poetry, the last in cant. He is as much a visionary on one side, as the extreme theoretical democrat is a visionary on the other.
The tendency of democracies is, in all things, to mediocrity.