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Principles are laws or rules that have to be, or usually are followed, or can be desirably followed, or are an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed. The principles of such a system are understood by its users as the essential characteristics of the system, or reflecting system's designed purpose, and the effective operation or use of which would be impossible if any one of the principles was to be ignored.


  • Precedents are not mere dusty phrases, which do not substantially affect the question before us. A precedent embalms a principle. The principle may be right or may be wrong—that is a question for discussion; but at the first glance it is right to conclude that it is a principle that has been acted upon and recognised by those who preceded us.
  • Principles have a way of enduring, as do the few irreducible individuals who maintain allegiance to them.
    • Christopher Hitchens, as quoted in Merchey, Jason (2004). Values of the Wise : Aspiring to "The Life of Value". p. 330. 
  • I don't believe in princerple,
    But, oh, I du in interest.
  • Ez to my princerples, I glory
    In hevin' nothin' o' the sort.
  • I wish to establish some sort of system not guided by chance but by some sort of definite and exact principle.
    • Dmitri Mendeleev, Lecture to the Russian Chemical Society as quoted in "Peering Into the Unseen—What Is Revealed?" in Awake! magazine (22 August 2000).
  • Treat the negro as a citizen and a voter, as he is and must remain, and soon parties will be divided, not on the color line, but on principle.

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