Louis D. Brandeis Quotes

Who on Earth is Louis D. Brandeis?

Louis Dembitz Brandeis was an American lawyer and associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1916 to 1939.

Born November 13, 1856
Died October 05, 1941

Books by Louis D. Brandeis


Best 46 Quotes by Louis D. Brandeis

“A man is a better citizen of the United States for being also a loyal citizen of his state, and of his city; for being loyal to his family, and to his profession or trade; for being loyal to his college or his lodge. For only through the ennobling effect of its strivings can we develop the best that is in us and give to this country the full benefit of our great inheritance.”

Louis D. Brandeis
The Jewish Problem And How to Solve It

“America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. It acted on this belief; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“At the foundation of our civil liberty lies the principle which denies to government officials an exceptional position before the law and which subjects them to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Behind every argument is someone's ignorance.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Constitutional rights should not be frittered away by arguments so technical and unsubstantial.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Full and free exercise of this right by the citizen is ordinarily also his duty; for its exercise is more important to the nation than it is to himself. Like the course of the heavenly bodies, harmony in national life is a resultant of the struggle between contending forces. In frank expression of conflicting opinion lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action; and in suppression lies ordinarily the greatest peril.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“I live in Alexandria, Virginia. Near the Supreme Court chambers is a toll bridge across the Potomac. When in a rush, I pay the dollar toll and get home early. However, I usually drive outside the downtown section of the city and cross the Potomac on a free bridge. This bridge was placed outside the downtown Washington, DC area to serve a useful social service, getting drivers to drive the extra mile and help alleviate congestion during the rush hour. If I went over the toll bridge and through the barrier without paying the toll, I would be committing tax evasion. If, however, I drive the extra mile and drive outside the city of Washington to the free bridge, I am using a legitimate, logical and suitable method of tax avoidance, and am performing a useful social service by doing so. For my tax evasion, I should be punished. For my tax avoidance, I should be commended. The tragedy of life today is that so few people know that the free bridge even exists.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“If you would only recognize that life is hard, things would be so much easier for you.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“In a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is a dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“In frank expression of conflicting opinion lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action; and in suppression lies ordinarily the greatest peril.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“In the field of modern business, so rich in opportunity for the exercise of man's finest and most varied mental faculties and moral qualities, mere money-making cannot be regarded as the legitimate end. Neither can mere growth of bulk or power be admitted as a worthy ambition. Nor can a man nobly mindful of his serious responsibilities to society view business as a game; since with the conduct of business human happiness or misery is inextricably interwoven.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“It is, as a rule, far more important how men pursue their occupation than what the occupation is which they select.”

Louis D. Brandeis
The Opportunity in the Law

“Men long for an afterlife in which there apparently is nothing to do but delight in heaven's wonders.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Neutrality is at times a graver sin than belligerence.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“No law, written or unwritten, can be understood without a full knowledge of the facts out of which it arises, and to which it is to be applied.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“No people ever did or ever can attain a worthy civilization by the satisfaction merely of material needs.”

Louis D. Brandeis
Hours of Labor

“Organisation can never be a substitute for initiative and for judgement.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”

Louis D. Brandeis
Other People's Money And How the Bankers Use It

“Real success in business is to be found in achievements comparable rather with those of the artist or the scientist, of the inventor or statesman. And the joys sought in the profession of business must be like their joys and not the mere vulgar satisfaction which is experienced in the acquisition of money, in the exercise of power or in the frivolous pleasure of mere winning.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Strong, responsible unions are essential to industrial fair play. Without them the labor bargain is wholly one-sided. The parties to the labor contract must be nearly equal in strength if justice is to be worked out, and this means that the workers must be organized and that their organizations must be recognized by employers as a condition precedent to industrial peace.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“That which is man-made can be unmade.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“The bow must be strung and unstrung. There must be time also for the unconscious thinking which comes to the busy man in his play.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“The general rule of law is, that the noblest of human productions – knowledge, truths ascertained, conceptions, and ideas – become, after voluntary communication to others, free as the air to common use.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“The intensity and complexity of life, attendant upon advancing civilization, have rendered necessary some retreat from the world.”

Louis D. Brandeis
The Right to Privacy

“The investment banker is naturally on the lookout for good bargains in bonds and stocks. Like other merchants he wants to buy his merchandise cheap. But when he becomes director of a corporation, he occupies a position which prevents the transaction by which he acquires its corporate securities from being properly called a bargain. Can there be real bargaining where the same man is on both sides of a trade?”

Louis D. Brandeis
Other People's Money And How the Bankers Use It

“The logic of words should yield to the logic of realities.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“The most important political office is that of private citizen.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“The power and the growth of power of our financial oligarchs comes from wielding the savings and quick capital of others.”

Louis D. Brandeis
Other People's Money And How the Bankers Use It

“The so-called control of life insurance companies by policy-holders through mutualization is a farce and its only result is to keep in office a self-constituted, self-perpetuating management.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“There are many men now living who were in the habit of using the age-old expression: 'It is as impossible as flying.' The discoveries in physical science, the triumphs in invention, attest the value of the process of trial and error. In large measure, these advances have been due to experimentation.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“There are no shortcuts to evolution.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“There is in most Americans some spark of idealism, which can be fanned into a flame. It takes sometimes a divining rod to find what it is; but when found, and that means often, when disclosed to the owners, the results are often extraordinary.”

Louis D. Brandeis
The Words of Justice Brandeis

“There must be opportunities for judgment to mature. When, therefore, you increase your business to a very great extent, and the multitude of problems increase with its growth, you will find, in the first place, that the man at the head has a diminishing knowledge of the facts and, in the second place, a diminishing opportunity of exercising a careful judgment upon them.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Those who won our independence valued liberty as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“What are the American ideals? They are the development of the individual for his own and the common good; the development of the individual through liberty, and the attainment of the common good through democracy and social justice.”

Louis D. Brandeis
True Americanism

“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 D. Brandeis

“When a man feels that he cannot leave his work, it is a sure sign of an impending collapse.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“When once a banker has entered the Board – whatever may have been the occasion – his grip proves tenacious and his influence usually supreme; for he controls the supply of new money.”

Louis D. Brandeis
Other People's Money And How the Bankers Use It