What's the background behind Twain's quote "No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature?

is in session"?

What caused him to coin that phrase?

6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It's not by Twain, but probably by Judge Gideon J Tucker.

    Although appropriated for libertarian purposes, it had nothing to do with that, but came from a case summary. A widow whose husband had died intestate had been given bad legal advice by an attorney. Tucker was pointing out that the error had happened because the attorney had failed to note relevant legislative changes to inheritance law.


    The error arose from want of diligent watchfulness in respect to legislative changes. He did not remember that it might be necessary to look at the statutes of the year before. Perhaps he had forgotten the saying, that “no man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”

    -- Gideon J. Tucker, Final Accounting in the Estate of A.B. (1866)

    =end quote=

    Although Tucker quotes it as an existing saying, the Yale Dictionary of Quotations notes that his is the first findable citation, so he deserves credit as the originator.

    Source(s): Law Notes, Volume 5, 1902. This link should work if you're in the USA: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=WXwqAAAAYAAJ&dq... You can quote them, Yale Alumni Magazine: http://www.yalealumnimagazine.com/issues/2009_07/a... The Big Apple, citing Yale Book of Quotations: http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/...
  • 4 years ago

    Now more than ever, especially since the emminent domain case in the USSC, and when you combine it with a Democrat assertion that they should vote on a bill and finish it later . . . -- As usual, "Your Assistant" is skewing the scene. While he says; "Sure. I guess if one wants to be skeptical. I just wonder where all the anti government people were 8 years ago. We really could have used them then. Then they were lock stock and barrel kissing W's butt. Your assistant" The first part of his blatant, knowing and willing misrepresentation is that anyone who opposes his preferred agenda must necessarily be "anti-government." Anything anti-Constitutional -- Be it the NASCO, the NAU, the Law of the Sea Treaty, the "Patriot Act," the establishment of a Luftwaffe Air base in Arizona or a Mexican Customs port in Kansas City . . . or any of the various "stimulus" packages . . . and yes, this includes almost EVERYthing Obama has done since taking office -- is anti-government. Reducing our government's power so that another government can take us over is anti-government. Submitting our people to a foreign sovereign is anti-government. Substituting other nations' laws in place of our own is anti-government. Voting a bill into law and then secretly rewriting it after the vote is anti-government. Concealing legislation in a massive shell game and keeping the public from knowing what is being voted on . . . That is anti-government. The PRESIDENT bowing down to a foreign potentate is anti-government. Giving the Presidential firstfruits to Islamofascist foreigners (who fund our terrorist enemies) is anti-government. What he purposefully fails to mention is that all of us were crying foul at much of what W did during his presidency, and W wasn't even as bad as Clinton. and Clinton wasn't even as bad as Carter, and Carter wasn't even as bad as Johnson, and Johnson wasn't even as bad as Obama, yet "Your Assistant" would have us to believe that Obama is somehow the great savior of the nation and perhaps the world. When Obama surpasses the treachery and evil of FDR, will he declare him the Messiah as so many other liberal demagogues already have? His is the kind of shilling, about which I complain long and often, that seeps into the educational system as the likes of Bill Ayers are training the teacher trainers and writing the Education department guidelines and textbooks in Chicago . . .

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Life Liberty Or Property

  • abe
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Because the legislature can change the law with a single vote and the stroke of the pen. They can legislate your civil rights, your property right, and all your liberties. All of this being possible while the legislature is in section.

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  • 1 decade ago

    One can guess that he had little trust in government and their meddling ways back in the late 18th C. Brilliant man that he was.

    He radically changed his views about American interference in other countries and became the leading light of the American anti Imperialist League.

    I don't know at what stage in life this quote was taken but you can rest assured he was a champion of those who had little say in the political machinations of Washington eg women, native Americans etc

  • 4 years ago

    This question is worth everyone's attention

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