Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.
Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.
Law is a process. If there is equality of process for everybody, then that's our definition of justice. Whether or not what is done is right or wrong, you follow the process. And so, the end result is just by definition within that alternative universe that is American law. Most people still operate within a moral universe where principles of good and bad and what is right and wrong in itself, and not just as a result of the process.
If the present American laws concerning the taxation of the profits of corporations, the incomes of individuals, and inheritances had been introduced about 60 years ago, all those new products whose consumption has raised the standard of living of the 'common man' would either not be produced at all or only in small quantities for the benefit of a minority. The Ford enterprises would not exist if Henry Ford's profits had been taxed away as soon as they came into being.
It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be tomorrow.