The authority of government, even such as I am willing
to submit to--for I will cheerfully obey those who know and
can do better than I, and in many things even those who
neither know nor can do so well--is still an impure one: to
be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of
the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and
property but what I concede to it. The progress from an
absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a
democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the
individual. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to
regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a
democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible
in government? Is it not possible to take a step further
towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There
will never be a really free and enlightened State until the
State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and
independent power, from which all its own power and
authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I please
myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be
just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as
a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with
its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it, not
meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the
duties of neighbors and fellow men. A State which bore this
kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it
ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and
glorious State, which I have also imagined, but not yet
anywhere seen.

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