James Otis

(James Otis Jr.)

James Otis
James Otis
  • Born: February 5, 1725
  • Died: May 23, 1783
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Lawyer, Political Activist, Pamphleteer, Legislator









James Otis Jr. was a lawyer, political activist, pamphleteer, and legislator in Boston, a member of the Massachusetts provincial assembly, and an early advocate of the Patriot views against British policy which led to the American Revolution. His well-known catchphrase "Taxation without Representation is tyranny" became the basic Patriot position.

Quote Topics Cited
…property in fact generally confers power, though the possessor of it may not have much more wit than a mole or a mugwash… Power
It is a power that places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
It was once a fundamental maxim that every subject had the same right to his life, liberty, property, and the law that the King had to his crown; and 'tis yet, I venture to say, as much as a crown is worth, to deny the subject his law, which is his birthright. Leaders & Leadership
No representation of the Colonies in parliament alone, would however be equivalent to a subordinate legislative among themselves; nor so well answer the ends of increasing their prosperity and the commerce of Great-Britain. It would be impossible for the Parliament to judge so well, of their abilities to bear taxes, impositions on trade, and other duties and burdens, or of the local laws that might be really needful, as a legislative here. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
No war, foreign or domestic, is a sufficient reason for shutting up the courts … The shutting up of the courts is an abdication, a total dissolution of government …. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
There are limits, beyond which, if parliaments go, their acts bind not. Power
A man is accountable to no person for his doings.
A man's house is his castle.
But I think I can sincerely declare that I cheerfully submit myself to every odious name for conscience' sake; and from my soul I despise all those whose guilt, malice, or folly has made them my foes.
Every man may reign secure in his petty tyranny, and spread terror and desolation around him, until the trump of the Archangel shall excite different emotions in his soul.
Every one with this writ may be a tyrant; if this commission be legal, a tyrant in a legal manner, also, may control, imprison, or murder any one within the realm. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
I do not say that, when brought to the test, I shall be invincible.
I have accordingly considered it, and now appear not only in obedience to your order, but likewise in behalf of the inhabitants of this town, who have presented another petition, and out of regard to the liberties of the subject.
I pray God I may never be brought to the melancholy trial; but, if ever I should, it will then be known how far I can reduce to practice principles which I know to be founded in truth. Truth ;Religion & God
I will to my dying day oppose, with all the powers and faculties God has given me, all such instruments of slavery on the one hand and villainy on the other as this Writ of Assistance is. Religion & God
If we are not represented, we are slaves.
It is a clear truth that those who every day barter away other men's liberty will soon care little for their own. Truth
Let the consequences be what they will, I am determined to proceed.
MAY it please your Honors: I was desired by one of the court to look into the books, and consider the question now before them concerning Writs of Assistance.
My dear sister, I hope, when God Almighty in his righteous providence shall take me out of time into eternity, that it will be by a flash of lightning. Time ;Hope ;Religion & God
Now, one of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one's house. Freedom & Liberty
Taxation without representation is tyranny.
The only principles of public conduct that are worthy of a gentleman or a man are to sacrifice estate, ease, health, and applause, and even life, to the sacred calls of his country. Life ;Health, Healthcare & Medicine
These manly sentiments, in private life, make good citizens; in public life, the patriot and the hero. Life

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