It is by and because of the direct acts of the forerunners of social change, whether they be of peaceful or warlike nature, that the Human Conscience, the conscience of the mass, becomes aroused to the need for change. It would be very stupid to say that no good results are ever brought about by political action; sometimes good things do come about that way. But never until individual rebellion, followed by mass rebellion, has forced it. Direct action is always the clamorer, the initiator, through which the great sum of indifferentists become aware that oppression is getting intolerable. - Voltairine de Cleyre, "Direct Action"
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A punishment inflicted in some countries on supposed criminals to induce them to confess their crimes, and to reveal their associates.
This absurd and tyrannical practice never was legal in the United States; for no man is bound to accuse himself. An attempt to torture a person accused of crime, in order to extort a confession, is an indictable offence.