What I have desired to do is to make the people of Boston realize that the most important office, and the one which all of us can and should fill, is that of private citizen. The duties of the office of private citizen cannot under a republican form of government be neglected without serious injury to the public.

Louis Brandeis (1856-1941) American lawyer, activist, Supreme Court Justice (1916-39)
Statement to a reporter, Boston Record (14 Apr 1903)

Quoted in Alpheus Thomas Mason, Brandeis: A Free Man's Life (1946).
    Commonly paraphrased:
  • "The most important office is that of the private citizen"
  • "The most important political office is that of the private citizen"
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Jun-14
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