Quotes on Independence
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418. Emigration; Independence; Society

In countries where life was yet unadjusted, and policy unformed, it sometimes happened, that, by the dissensions of heads of families, by the ambition of daring adventurers, by some accidental pressure or distress, or by the mere discontent of idleness, one part of the community broke off from the rest, and numbers, greater or smaller, forsook their habitations, put themselves under the command of some favourite of fortune, and with, or without the consent of their countrymen or governours, went out to see what better regions they could occupy, and in what place, by conquest or treaty, they could gain a habitation.

Sons of enterprise, like these, who committed to their own swords their hopes and their lives, when they left their country, became another nation, with designs, and prospects, and interests, of their own. They looked back no more to their former home; they expected no help from those whom they had left behind; if they conquered, they conquered for themselves; if they were destroyed, they were not by any other power either lamented or revenged.

Of this kind seem to have been all the migrations of the early world, whether historical or fabulous, and of this kind were the eruptions of those nations, which, from the north, invaded the Roman empire, and filled Europe with new sovereignties.

But when, by the gradual admission of wiser laws and gentler manners, society became more compacted and better regulated, it was found, that the power of every people consisted in union, produced by one common interest, and operating in joint efforts and consistent counsels.

From this time independence perceptibly wasted away. No part of the nation was permitted to act for itself. All now had the same enemies and the same friends; the government protected individuals, and individuals were required to refer their designs to the prosperity of the government.

By this principle it is, that states are formed and consolidated. Every man is taught to consider his own happiness, as combined with the publick prosperity, and to think himself great and powerful, in proportion to the greatness and power of his governours.

Johnson: Taxation No Tyranny

1,317. Diligence; Independence
"Every man considers a necessity of compliance with any will but his own as the lowest state of ignominy and meanness; few are so far lost in cowardice or negligence as not to rouse at the first insult of tyranny, and exert all their force against him who usurps their property or invades any privilege of speech or action. Yet we see often those who never wanted spirit to repel encroachment or oppose violence, at last, by a gradual relaxation of vigilance, delivering up, without capitulation, the fortress which they defended against assault, and laying down unbidden the weapons which they grasped the harder for every attempt to wrest them from their hands. Men eminent for spirit and wisdom often resign themselves to voluntary pupilage, and suffer their lives to be modeled by officious ignorance, and their choice to be regulated by presumptuous stupidity."
Johnson: Rambler #162 (October 5, 1751)

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