Saturday, June 25, 2011

From Kent's Commentaries -- Self-Defense

"The right of self-defence is part of the law of our nature, and it is the indispensable duty of civil society to protect its members in the enjoyment of their rights, both of person and property.  This is the fundamental principle of the social contract."


"The municipal law of our own, as well as of every other country, has likewise left with individuals the exercise of the natural right of self-defence, in all those cases in which the law is either too slow or too feeble to stay the hand of violence.  Homicide is justifiable in every case in which it is rendered necessary in self-defence, against the person who comes to commit a known felony with force against one's person, or habitation, or property, or against the person or property of those who stand in near domestic relations.  The right of self-defence in these cases is founded on the law of nature, and is not, and cannot be superseded by the law of society.  In those instances, says Sir Michael Foster, the law, with great property, and in strict justice, considers the individual to be under the protection of the law of nature."

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