I have heard so often in the past few weeks, eloquent and good men plead for the chance to let the majority rule.  That is, they say, the essence of democracy. I disagree, for to me it is equally clear that democracy does not necessarily result from majority rule, but rather from the forged compromise of the majority with the minority.

The philosophy of the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights is not simply to grant the majority the power to rule, but is also to set out limitation after limitation upon that power. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion; what are these but the recognition that at times when the majority of men would willingly destroy him, a dissenting man may have no friend but the law.

You sow the wind, for minorities change and the time will surely come when you will feel the hot breath of a righteous majority at the back of your own neck. Only then perhaps will you realize what you have destroyed.


Support for the Filibuster, maiden speech on the Senate floor, January 31, 1963.