Learned Hand Quotes

The condition of our survival in any but the meagerest existence is our willingness to accommodate ourselves to the conflicting interests of others, to learn to live in a social world.

Oliver Cromwell’s plea just before the Battle of Dunbar: “I beseech ye in the bowels of Christ, think that ye may be mistaken.” These words I would like to have written over the portals of every church, every courthouse and at every crossroads in the nation. For, it seems to me that if we are […]

There is no surer way to misread any document than to read it literally. As nearly as we can, we must put ourselves in the place of those who uttered the words, and try to divine how they would have dealt with the unforeseen situation; and, evidence of what they would have done, they are […]

To be pulled in many opposite ways at once results negatively, but it is not the same thing as to feel no impulse at all. An ass between two bales of hay is said to have died of starvation, but not from indifference.

No doubt one may quote history to support any cause, as the devil quotes scripture.

I shall ask no more than that you agree with Dean Inge that even though counting heads is not an ideal way to govern, at least it is better than breaking them.

Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through.

Our dangers, as it seems to me, are not from the outrageous but from the conforming; not from those who rarely and under the lurid glare of obloquy upset our moral complaisance, or shock us with unaccustomed conduct, but from those, the mass of us, who take their virtues and tastes, like their shirts and […]

That community is already in the process of dissolution where each man begins to eye his neighbor as a possible enemy, where nonconformity with the accepted creed, political as well as religious, is a mark of disaffection… (and) where orthodoxy chokes freedom of dissent.

(Common law) stands as a monument slowly raised, like a coral reef, from the minute accretions of past individuals, of whom each built upon the relics which his predecessors left, and in his turn left a foundation upon which his successors might work.