James Kent

Quote Topics Cited
A citizen cannot renounce his allegiance to the United States without the permission of government, to be declared by law; Citizenship & Patriotism
A contract to bribe or corruptly influence officers of a foreign government will not be enforced in the courts of this country Corruption
A rational fear of an imminent danger is said to be a justifiable cause of war. War & Peace
A safe-conduct or passport contains a pledge of the public faith, that it shall be duly respected, and the observance of this duty is essential to the character of the government which grants it. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Ambassadors form an exception to the general case of foreigners resident in the country, and they are exempted absolutely from all allegiance, and from all responsibility to the laws of the country to which they are deputed …. A foreign minister and those strictly belonging to the embassy are in general exempt from the criminal jurisdiction of the country to which they go Diplomacy & Diplomats
Every nation has an undoubted right to provide for its own safety, and to take due precaution against distant as well as impending danger. The right of self-preservation is paramount to all other considerations Defense & National Security
For half a century past, the African slave-trade began to awaken a spirit of remorse and sympathy in the breasts of men, and a conviction that the traffic was repugnant to the principles of Christian duty, and the maxims of justice and humanity Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I am entirely in opinion with all that portion of my fellow-citizens who are decidedly opposed to the interference by abolitionists with the question and practices of slavery in the Southern states. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I stood as well as any in my class, but the test of scholarship at that day was contemptible Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
If aliens come here, with an intention to make this country their permanent residence, they will have many inducements to become citizens, since they are unable as aliens, to have a stable freehold interest in land, … Immigration & Emigration
It is sometimes a very grave question when and how far one nation has a right to assist the subjects of another, who have revolted, and implored that assistance. It is said (a) that assistance may be afforded, consistently with the law of nations, in extreme cases, as when rulers have violated the principles of the social compact, and given just cause to their subjects to consider themselves discharged from their allegiance Foreign Aid
Nations are at liberty to use their own resources in such manner, and to apply them to such purposes as they may deem best, provided they do not violate the perfect rights of other nations, nor endanger their safety, nor infringe the indispensable duties of humanity Freedom & Liberty
Nations are equal in respect to each other, and entitled to claim equal consideration for their rights, whatever may be their relative dimensions or strength, or however greatly they may differ in government, religion, or manners. This perfect equality, and entire independence of all distinct states, is a fundamental principle of public law. It is a necessary consequence of this equality that each nation has a right to govern itself as it may think proper, and no one nation is entitled to dictate a form of government or religion, or a course of internal policy, to another. No state is entitled to take cognizance or notice of the domestic administration of another state, or of what passes within it as between the government and its own subjects Equality & Equal Opportunity
No nation has a right, in time of peace, to interfere with, or interrupt, any commerce which is lawful by the law of nations, and carried on between other independent powers Business, Commerce & Finance
Pirates have been regarded by all civilized nations as the enemies of the human race, and the most atrocious violators of the universal 184 law of society. (a) They are everywhere pursued and punished with death, and the severity with which the law has animadverted upon this crime arises from its enormity and danger, the cruelty that accompanies it, the necessity of checking it, the difficulty of detection, and the facility with which robberies may be committed upon pacific traders in the solitude of the ocean. Every nation has a right to attack and exterminate them without any declaration of war … they are not considered as a national body, or entitled to the laws of war, as one of the community of nations. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Private interests must be made subservient to the general interests of the community Management & Managing Government
The absolute rights of individuals may be resolved into the right of personal security, the right of personal liberty, and the right to enjoy and acquire property Freedom & Liberty
The end of war is to procure by force the justice which cannot otherwise be obtained. War & Peace
The government of a revolted state which has not yet been recognized, sometimes sends out diplomatic agents, who, although not invested with the representative character, nor entitled to diplomatic honors, may be clothed with the powers and enjoy the immunities of ministers. Diplomacy & Diplomats
This power in the judicial, of determining the constitutionality of laws, is necessary to preserve the equilibrium of the government, and prevent usurpations of one part upon another; and of all the parts of government, the legislative body is by far the most impetuous and powerful . . . . But the judicial power is the weakest of all, and as it is equally necessary to be preserved entire, it ought not in sound theory to be left naked without any constitutional means of defense Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Though the Constitution has discarded religious establishments, it does not forbid judicial cognizance of those offenses against religion and morality which have no reference to any such establishment, or to any particular form of government, but are punishable because they strike at the root of moral obligation, and weaken the security of the social ties. Religion & God
Unwholesome trades, slaughter-houses, operations offensive to the senses, the deposit of powder, the application of steam power to propel cars, the building with combustible materials, and the burial of the dead, may all, be interdicted by law, in the midst of dense masses of population, on the general and rational principle, that every person ought so to use his property as not to injure his neighbors. Public Works & Natural Resources
When foreigners are admitted into a state upon free and liberal terms, the public faith becomes pledged for their protection. The courts of justice ought to be freely open to them as a resort for the redress of their grievances. But strangers are equally bound with natives to obedience to the laws of the country during the time they sojourn in it, and they are equally amenable for infractions of the law Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement

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