Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"Even legal punishments lose all appearance of justice, when too strictly inflicted on men compelled by the last extremity of distress to incur them." -

"I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten... America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness - justice." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"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.

"The grandeur of natural order, man's pursuit of truth, his appreciation of beauty, his drive toward justice and holiness - it is all one... One God, one Mind, one Will, one Beauty, one Love." - Morris S. Lazaron, fully Morris Samuel Lazaron

"Public opinion, though often formed upon a wrong basis, yet generally has a strong underlying sense of justice." - Abraham Lincoln

"Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world?" - Abraham Lincoln

"Justice is blind not deaf - Justice listens too much and looks too little." - Steele Mackaye, fully James Morrison Steele Mackaye

"It is from reason that justice springs, but goodness is born of wisdom." - Maurice Maeterlinck, fully Count Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck

"Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." -

"Justice is the only friend that follows men after death." -

"Habit creates the appearance of justice: progress has no greater enemy than habit." -

"Injustice is relatively easy to bear: what stings is justice." - H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

"There is no more cruel tyranny than that which is exercised under cover of the law, and with the colors of justice." - Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"As Syria gave to the world through its kings and armies the principle of world-conquest, world-empire, and world-exploitation. In direct answer and refutation, Israel gave to the world, through the mouth of its inspired prophets, the principle of world-justice, world-peace, world-brotherhood." - Christian Morgenstern

"The four cardinal virtues are prudence, fortitude, temperance and justice." - William Paley, Archdeacon of Saragossa

"Salvation and justice are not to be found in revolution, but in evolution through concord. Violence has ever achieved only destruction, not construction; the kindling of passions, not their pacification; the accumulation of hate and destruction, not the reconciliation of the contending parties; and it has reduced men and parties to the difficult task of building slowly after sad experience on the ruins of discord." - Pope Pius XI, born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti NULL

"At present we can only reason of the divine justice form what we know of justice in man. When we are in other scenes, we may have truer and nobler ideas of it; but while we are in this life, we can only speak from the volume that is laid open before us." - Alexander Pope

"Justice is that which is most primitive in the human soul, most fundamental in society, most sacred among ideas, and what the masses demand today with most ardor. It is the essence of religions and at the same time the form of reason, the secret object of faith, and the beginning, middle and end of knowledge. What can be imagined more universal, more strong, more complete than justice?" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

"The first founder of Christianity was Isaiah. By introducing into the Jewish world the concept of ethical religion, of justice, and of the relative unimportance of sacrifices, he antedated Jesus by more than seven centuries." - Renan NULL

"It has always seemed to me a sad incongruity the way we represent the figure of Justice... Neither the love nor the justice of God is blindfolded." - Paul E. Scherer, fully Paul Ehrman Scherer

"The voice of the majority is no proof of justice." - Friedrich Schiller, fully Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

"A hungry people listens not to reason, nor cares for justice, nor is bent by any prayers." -

"Peace is not merely a vacuum left by the ending of wars. It is the creation of two eternal principles, justice and freedom." - James T. Shotwell

"Why, you never expected justice from a company, did you? They have neither a soul to lose nor a body to kick." - Sydney Smith

"You never expected justice from a company, did you? They have neither a soul to lose, nor a body to kick." - Sydney Smith

"Peace is not absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice." -

"It is no certain evidence, that because the conscience feels the weight of sin, the heart is humbled on account of it; that because the conscience approves of the rectitude of the Divine justice, the heart bows to the Divine sovereignty." - Gardiner Spring

"Justice, like lightning, ever should appear to few men's ruin, but to all men's fear." - Milo Sweetman

"You never expected justice from a company, did you? They have neither a soul to lose, nor a body to kick." - Lord Edward Thurlow, First Baron

"The power of the majority... is not unlimited. Above it in the moral world are humanity, justice, and reason; and in the political world, vested rights." - Alexis de Tocqueville, fully Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville

"We may naturally believe that it is not the singular prosperity of the few, but the greater well-being of all that is most pleasing in the sight of the Creator and Preserver of men. What appears to me to be man’s decline, is His eye, advancement; what afflicts me is acceptable to Him. A state of equality is perhaps less elevated, but it is more just: and its justice constitutes its greatness and its beauty. I would strive, then, to raise myself to this point of the divine contemplation and thence to view and judge the concerns of men." - Alexis de Tocqueville, fully Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville

"Authority is properly the servant of justice, and political powers are arbitrary and illegitimate if not based upon qualification for that service. This is the doctrine of the ethical derivation of authority or public power, as opposed to that of an unconditioned and inherent sovereignty." - David Atwood Wasson

"The meaning of life is wrapped up in what will remain after we depart. The meaning of life is to help create a better future... The meaning of life is to be mindful of the past - to always remember - in order to make certain that history’s atrocities are not repeated again and that justice will win." - Simon Wiesenthal

"Since all justice is rightness, the justice, which brings praise to the one who preserves it, is in nowise in any except rational beings… This justice is not rightness of knowledge, or rightness of action, but rightness of will." - Anselm of Canterbury, aka Saint Anselm or Archbishop of Canterbury NULL

"A goal-oriented life locates the purposed of life in the achievement of a goal, which is necessarily tied to a discrete moment in time… But we also exist across time, and when our life’s goals are fixed so narrowly on moments that are only briefly the present, we fail to do justice to the enduring aspect of human life… Moments slip away and so if life’s purpose is tied to moments. Although moments can play a part, in order to find a purpose which is truly fulfilling, we also need to find a way of living which is worthwhile in itself. Life is rarely an undiluted pleasure that our own attitudes are themselves important to our sense of well-being." - Julian Baggini

"If there is no justice, there is no peace." -

"If justice is the end of the law, the law the work of the prince, and the prince the image of god, it follows of necessity that the law of the prince should be modeled on the law of God." - Jean Bodin

"Wisdom is the highest virtue, and it has in it four other virtues; of which one is prudence, another temperance, the third fortitude, the fourth justice." -

"If justice prevails, good faith is found in treaties, truth in transaction, order in government, the earth is at peace, and heaven itself sheds overus its beneficent light and radiates down to us its blessed influence." - Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

"Medieval churchmen… held that faith, hope and love are the fundamental Christian virtues and that the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude) are needed to express faith, hope and love in all the varying circumstances of life in the world." - R. E. C. Browne, fully Robert Eric Charles Browne

"It is necessary to cease to be a man in order to do justice to a microbe; it is not necessary to cease to be a man in order to do justice to men." - Gilbert Keith "G.K." Chesteron

"The origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality." -

"Chairman Mao once said that political power comes from the barrel of a gun. He was only partly right: power that comes from the barrel of a gun can be effective only for a short time. In the end, people’s love for truth, justice, freedom, and democracy will triumph. No matter what governments do, the human spirit will always prevail." -

"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

"The greatest enemy of justice is privilege." -

"No man is obliged to conform to any rule of conduct farther than the rule is consistent with justice." - William Godwin

"There is not even one single thing we value when we restrict the question to ethical values. Instead, there is a plurality of different things we value, but in ethics and in life in general. In life we value pleasure, human interaction, achievement and contact with reality. In ethics we value human flourishing but also commitment and justice per se… No single set of rules seems adequate to the irreducible plurality of incommensurable things that we value." - Patrick Grim

"Do you have the courage of your desires, or have you always considered your yearnings as idle and unproductive? Do you feel the wonder of existence, your own and that of everything? Does it truly do justice to that wonder to see it as an illusion or as a product of chance?" - Os Guiness