Shall we then judge a country by the majority, or by the minority? By the minority, surely.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Considerations by the Way,” The Conduct of Life (1860)
I come more and more to the conclusion that one must take the side of the minority which is always the more intelligent one.
In republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority.
Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion—and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion ... while Truth again reverts to a new minority.
The moment a mere numerical superiority by either states or voters in this country proceeds to ignore the needs and desires of the minority, and for their own selfish purpose or advancement, hamper or oppress that minority, or debar them in any way from equal privileges and equal rights—that moment will mark the failure of our constitutional system.
In making the great experiment of governing people by consent rather than by coercion, it is not sufficient that the party in power should have a majority. It is just as necessary that the party in power should never outrage the minority.
What characterizes a member of a minority group is that he is forced to see himself as both exceptional and insignificant, marvelous and awful, good and evil.
A dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority: what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority.Eric Hoffer
A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight.Henry David Thoreau