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The mind sins, not the body; if there is no intention, there is no blame.

[Mentem peccare, non corpus, et unde consilium abfuerit, culpam abesse.]

Livy (59 BC-AD 17) Roman historian [Titus Livius]
Ab Urbe Condita [From the Founding of the City; The History of Rome], Book 1, ch. 58 (27-9 BC)

Reassurances given to Lucretia, wife of Collatinus, after her rape by Sextus Tarquin. She still kills herself.

Different sources use abfuerit or afuerit. Restated as a legal term, it's usually given as Mens peccat, non corpus, et unde consilium abfuit, culpa abest.

Alt. trans.:
  • "That it is the mind sins, not the body; and that where intention was wanting guilt could not be." [tr. Spillan (1896)]
  • "The mind sins, not the body, and there is no guilt when intent is absent." [tr. Luce]
  • "The mind sins, not the body; and where the power of judgment has been absent, guilt is absent." [Source]
  • "The mind alone was capable of sinning, not the body, and that where there was no such intention, there could be no guilt." [tr. Baker (1823)]
  • "It is the mind that sins, not the body, and where there has been no consent there is no guilt." [tr. Roberts (1905)]
  • "It is the mind that sins, not the body; and that where purpose has been wanting there is no guilt." [tr. Foster (1919)]
  • "It is the will only that is capable of sinning, not the body; and where there is no intention, there can be no guilt." [Source]
Added on 12-Oct-20 | Last updated 12-Oct-20
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But liberty is no negation. It is a substantial, tangible reality. It is the realization of those imperishable truths of the Declaration, “that all men are created equal”; that the sanction of all just government is “the consent of the governed.” Can these be realized until each man has a right to be heard on all matters relating to himself? The plain truth is, that each man knows his own interest best. It has been said, “If he is compelled to pay, if he may be compelled to fight, if he be required implicitly to obey, he should be legally entitled to be told what for; to have his consent asked, and his opinion counted at what it is worth. There ought to be no pariahs in a full-grown and civilized nation, no persons disqualified except through their own default.” I would not insult your intelligence by discussing so plain a truth, had not the passion and prejudice of this generation called in question the very axioms of the Declaration.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
“Suffrage and Safety,” speech, Ravenna, Ohio (4 Jul 1865)

On extending the vote to newly-freed slaves.
Added on 11-Sep-20 | Last updated 11-Sep-20
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A woman should never take a lover without the consent of her heart; nor a husband without the concurrence of her reason.

Anne "Ninon" de l'Enclos (1620-1705) French author, courtesan, patron of the arts [Ninon de Lenclos, Ninon de Lanclos]
The Memoirs of Ninon de L’Enclos, Vol. 1, “Life and Character” (1761)
Added on 18-Aug-20 | Last updated 18-Aug-20
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The worst error a president can make is to assume the automatic implementation of his own decisions. In certain respects, having able subordinates aggravates that problem, since strong personalities tend to have strong ideas of their own. Civil government operates by consent, not by command; the President’s task, even within his own branch of government, is not to order but to lead.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007) American historian, author, social critic
The Age of Roosevelt: The Coming of the New Deal, ch. 33, sec. 3 (1959)
Added on 28-May-20 | Last updated 28-May-20
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He who has conquered is not conqueror
Unless the conquered one confesses it.

[Qui vincit non est victor nisi victus fatetur.]

Quintus Ennius (239-169 BC) Roman poet, writer
Annales, Fragment 485

Quoted by Marcus Servius Honoratus, Commentaries on the Poems of Virgil [In Vergilii Carmina Comentarii], Book 11. Alt. trans.:
  • "He who conquers is not the conqueror unless the conquered admits it." [Source, 493 (Vahlen)]
  • "He who conquers is no conqueror unless the conquered admits it." [Source, 513]
  • "The victor is not victorious if the vanquished does not consider himself so." [Source]
Added on 12-Mar-20 | Last updated 12-Mar-20
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To be vested with enormous authority is a fine thing; but to have the onlooking world consent to it is a finer.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, ch. 8 “The Boss” (1889)
Added on 2-Feb-19 | Last updated 2-Feb-19
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That government only can be pronounced consistent with the design of all government, which allows to the governed the liberty of doing what, consistently with the general good, they may desire to do, and which only forbids their doing the contrary. Liberty does not exclude restraint; it only excludes unreasonable restraint. To determine precisely how far personal liberty is compatible with the general good, and of the propriety of social conduct in all cases, is a matter of great extent, and demands the united wisdom of a whole people. And the consent of the whole people, as far as it can be obtained, is indispensably necessary to every law, by which the whole people are to be bound; else the whole people are enslaved to the one, or the few, who frame the laws for them.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
Political Disquisitions, Book 1 “Of Government, briefly” (1774)
Added on 20-Nov-14 | Last updated 20-Nov-14
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It is almost impossible to remain silent in the face of tyranny without, by this very act of silence, becoming an agent of that tyranny.

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (b. 1941) American author
Against Therapy, Conclusion (1988)
Added on 7-Aug-14 | Last updated 8-Aug-14
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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights; that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
“Declaration of Independence” (4 Jul 1776)

As modified and approved by the Continental Congress. Compare to Jefferson's original draft.
Added on 10-Jan-13 | Last updated 4-Jul-22
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Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) South African revolutionary, politician, statesman
Letter from prison to Zindzi Mandela, given in Soweto speech (10 Feb 1985)

On refusing to bargain for freedom after 21 years in prison. Quoted in Time (25 Feb 1985).
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 9-Jun-15
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