If, of all words of tongue and pen, The saddest are,'It might have been,' More sad are these we daily see: 'It is, but hadn't ought to be.'(Francis) Bret Harte: 1871 'Mrs. Judge Jenkins'.
Moulmein is situated up the mouth of a river which ought to flow through South America.(Joseph) Rudyard Kipling: 1889 From Sea to Sea.
The rule of distributive justice is a statement of what ought to be, and what people say ought to be is determined in the long run and with some lag by what they find in fact to be the case.George C Homans: 1974 Social Behavior: Its Elementary Forms (rev edn).
I’ve been described as a tough and noisy woman, a prize fighter, a man-hater, you name it. They call me Battling Bella, Mother Courage, and a Jewish mother with more complaints than Portnoy. There are those who say I’m impatient, impetuous, uppity, rude, profane, brash, and overbearing. Whether I’m any of those things, or all of them, you can decide for yourself. But whatever I am —and this ought to be made very clear—I am a very serious woman.bella abzug: Bella!, introduction (1972)
Without presuming to decide the purely legal question, on which it seems evident to me from Madison's and Hamilton's papers that the Fathers of the Constitution were not agreed, I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. The institutions of your Republic have not exercised on the old world the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy. I believed that the example of that great Reform would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics. Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.john acton: Letter (4 November 1866) to Robert E. Lee
The inflexible integrity of the moral code is, to me, the secret of the authority, the dignity, the utility of History.If we may debase the currency for the sake of genius, or success, or rank, or reputation, we may debase it for the sake of a man’s influence, of his religion, of his party, of the good cause which prospers by his credit and suffers by his disgrace. Then History ceases to be a science, an arbiter of controversy, a guide of the Wanderer, the upholder of that moral standard which the powers of earth and religion itself tend constantly to depress. It serves where it ought to reign; and it serves the worst cause better than the purest.john acton: Letter to Mandell Creighton (5 April 1887), published in Historical Essays and Studies, by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (1907), edited by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence, Appendix, p. 504; also in Essays on Freedom and Power (1972)
There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.john adams: Notes for an oration at Braintree (Spring 1772)
Yesterday the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America; and a greater perhaps never was, nor will be, decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, "that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States."john adams: On the decision to proclaim independence from British rule, which was made on 2 July 1776, in a letter to Abigail Adams (3 July 1776), published in The Adams Papers : Adams Family Correspondence (2007) edited by Margaret A. Hogan
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.john adams: Letter to Abigail Adams (3 July 1776); because of the official adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence two days later, the fourth of July rather than the second, became known as the US Independence Day
The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.john adams: Letter to Abigail Adams (12 May 1780)
The consequences arising from the continual accumulation of public debts in other countries ought to admonish us to be careful to prevent their growth in our own.john adams: First Address to Congress (23 November 1797)
You and I ought not to die before we have explained ourselves to each other.john adams: Letter to Thomas Jefferson (15 July 1813)
We think ourselves possessed, or, at least, we boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects, and of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, and yet how far are we from these exalted privileges in fact! There exists, I believe, throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny or doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is punished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel. In England itself it is punished by boring through the tongue with a poker. In America it is not better; even in our own Massachusetts, which I believe, upon the whole, is as temperate and moderate in religious zeal as most of the States, a law was made in the latter end of the last century, repealing the cruel punishments of the former laws, but substituting fine and imprisonment upon all those blasphemers upon any book of the Old Testament or New. Now, what free inquiry, when a writer must surely encounter the risk of fine or imprisonment for adducing any argument for investigating into the divine authority of those books? Who would run the risk of translating Dupuis? But I cannot enlarge upon this subject, though I have it much at heart. I think such laws a great embarrassment, great obstructions to the improvement of the human mind. Books that cannot bear examination, certainly ought not to be established as divine inspiration by penal laws. It is true, few persons appear desirous to put such laws in execution, and it is also true that some few persons are hardy enough to venture to depart from them. But as long as they continue in force as laws, the human mind must make an awkward and clumsy progress in its investigations. I wish they were repealed. The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and unchangeable, and will bear examination forever, but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, which I think will not bear examination, and they ought to be separated.john adams: Letter to Thomas Jefferson (23 January 1825), published in Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams (UNC Press, 1988), p. 607
The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.Samuel Adams: Essay, written under the pseudonym "Candidus," in The Boston Gazette (14 October 1771), later published in The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams (1865) by William Vincent Wells, p. 425
In monarchy the crime of treason may admit of being pardoned or lightly punished, but the man who dares rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death.Samuel Adams: Arguing for a Riot Act which prohibited 12 or more persons from congregating in public and which empowered county sheriffs to kill rioters, during debates prompted by Shays' Rebellion (1786 - 1787) and the death sentences given to many of the rebels; as quoted in Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States (1980) Chapter 5 : A kind of Revolution; also quoted in "Completing the American Revolution" by Norman D. Livergood
I have never felt any inward assurance of genius, or any presentiment of glory or of happiness. I have never seen myself in imagination great or famous, or even a husband, a father, an influential citizen. This indifference to the future, this absolute self-distrust, are, no doubt, to be taken as signs. What dreams I have are all vague and indefinite; I ought not to live, for I am now scarcely capable of living.henri-frédéric amiel: 3 May 1849
The calculus of probabilities, when confined within just limits, ought to interest, in an equal degree, the mathematician, the experimentalist, and the statesman.françois arago: Laplace, p. 364
What evil is there in seeing a man possess a woman? Why, the beasts would be more free than we! It seems to me that that which is given us by nature for our own preservation ought to be worn round the neck as a pendant and in the hat for a medal.Pietro Aretino: Edward Hutton (1922) Pietro Aretino, the scourge of princes. p. 65
No man ought to be so absurd as to make a purchase without looking at the title deeds; if he is, he must take the consequence of his own negligence.william henry ashurst: Goodtitle v. Morgan (1787), 1 T. R. 762.
Though the mere opinion of an Attorney- or Solicitor-General ought not to be cited, yet coupled with the fact, it may have some weight as showing the general sense of professional men.william henry ashurst: King v. Pasmore (1789), 3 T. R. 243.
... I shall not waste any time on such miserable twaddle as to say that I ought to have been elected. ... It is the undoubted right of the people to change their servants, and to remove one and displace him with another at any time they choose, for a good reason, for a bad reason, or for no reason at all. If we are to remain a free people, it is the duty of public servants not grumpily and sourly to accept the verdict of the majority, but joyously to accept that verdict. . . .henry fountain ashurst: "Ashurst Out". Time (September 23, 1940)
The knowledge of anything, since all things have causes, is not acquired or complete unless it is known by its causes. Therefore in medicine we ought to know the causes of sickness and health. And because health and sickness and their causes are sometimes manifest, and sometimes hidden and not to be comprehended except by the study of symptoms, we must also study the symptoms of health and disease. Now it is established in the sciences that no knowledge is acquired save through the study of its causes and beginnings, if it has had causes and beginnings; nor completed except by knowledge of its accidents and accompanying essentials. Of these causes there are four kinds: material, efficient, formal, and final.avicenna: "On Medicine, (c. 1020)
If a man cannot make his point to keen boys in ten minutes, he ought to be shot!sir robert baden-powell: The Scouter (November 1928); Reprinted in Footsteps of the Founder (1987)
I thank you, sincerely, for your letter of the 19th instant, and for the Almanac it contained. No body wishes more than I do, to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren talents equal to those of the other colors of men ; and that the appearance of the want of them, is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence, both in Africa and America. I can add with truth, that no body wishes more ardently to see a good system commenced, for raising the condition, both of their body and mind, to what it ought to be, as far as the imbecility of their present existence, and other circumstances, which cannot be neglected, will admit.I have taken the liberty of sending your Almanac to Monsieur de Condozett, Secretary of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, and Member of the Philanthropic Society, because I considered it as a document, to which your whole color had a right for their justification, against the doubts which have been entertained of them.I am with great esteem, Sir, Your most obedient Humble Servant…benjamin banneker: Response to Banneker's letter of the 19th of August 1791 by Thomas Jefferson (30 August 1791)
One of the things I miss about teaching is that students would tell me what I ought to read. One of my students, back in the 1960s, put me onto [Jorge Luis] Borges, and I remember another mentioning Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two-Birds in the same way.john barth: Boston Sunday Globe, C7 (2 Nov 2008)