Policy, Public

Comprehending laws and contracts is impossible, unless we first learn the meaning of the words and phrases they contain.

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Policy, Public

Post by notmartha » Sun Oct 09, 2016 1:21 pm

See also Equity.


Daniel 8:25 - And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (KJV)
Micah 6:16 - The statutes of Omri and all the practices of Ahab’s house have been observed; you have followed their policies. Therefore, I will make you a desolate place and the city’s residents an object of contempt; you will bear the scorn of My people.” (HCSB)
Acts 7:19 - He adopted a crafty policy towards our race, and oppressed our forefathers, making them cast out their infants so that they might not be permitted to live. (WEY)
Revelation 17:13 - They have one common policy, and they are to give their power and authority to the Wild Beast. (WEY)


Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language, 1828
POL'ICY, noun [Latin politia; Gr. city.]

1. Policy, in its primary signification, is the same as polity, comprehending the fundamental constitution or frame of civil government in a state or kingdom. But by usage, policy is now more generally used to denote what is included under legislation and administration, and may be defined, the art or manner of governing a nation; or that system of measures which the sovereign of a country adopts and pursues, as best adapted to the interests of the nation. Thus we speak of domestic policy or the system of internal regulations in a nation; foreign policy or the measures which respect foreign nations; commercial policy or the measures which respect commerce.

2. Art, prudence, wisdom or dexterity in the management of public affairs; applied to persons governing. It has been the policy of France to preclude females from the throne. It has been the policy of Great Britain to encourage her navy, by keeping her carrying trade in her own hands. In this she manifests sound policy Formerly, England permitted wool to be exported and manufactured in the Low Countries, which was very bad policy
The policy of all laws has made some forms necessary in the wording of last wills and testaments.
All violent policy defeats itself.

3. In common usage, the art, prudence or wisdom of individuals in the management of their private or social concerns.

4. Stratagem; cunning; dexterity of management.

5. A ticket or warrant for money in the public funds.

6. policy in commerce, the writing or instrument by which a contract of indemnity is effected between the insurer and the insured; or the instrument containing the terms or conditions on which a person or company undertakes to indemnify another person or company against losses of property exposed to peculiar hazards, as houses or goods exposed to fire, or ships and goods exposed to destruction on the high seas. This writing is subscribed by the insurer, who is called the underwriter. The terms policy of insurance, or assurance, are also used for the contract between the insured and the underwriter.

Policies are valued or open; valued, when the property or goods insured are valued at prime cost; open, when the goods are not valued, but if lost, their value must be proved.

Wagering policies, which insure sums of money, interest or no interest, are illegal.

All insurances, interest or no interest, or without further proof of interest than the policy itself, are null and void.

The word policy is used also for the writing which insures against other events, as well as against loss of property.

Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, 1856

1. By public policy is meant that which the law encourages for the promotion of the public good.

2. That which is against public policy is generally unlawful. For example, to restrain an individual from marrying, or from engaging in business, when the restraint is general, in the first case, to all persons, and, in the second, to all trades, business, or occupations. But if the restraint be only partial, as that Titius shall not marry Moevia, or that Caius shall not engage in a particular trade in a particular town or, place, the restraint is not against public policy,, and therefore valid. 1 Story, Eq. Jur. §274. See Newl. Contr. 472.

Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States, vol. 3, John Joseph Lalor, 1881

This term, in legal acceptation, denotes the principle fo government and law which aims at the general welfare, as distinguished from the welfare of particular individuals, and courts of law do not allow their decisions to conflict with this public policy. Our tribunals do not confine their justice to the parties before them. As plaintiff and defendant are represented by counsel, so the people is represented by the court, and it is its duty to protect the interests of the people. A litigant might prove the clearest right to relief, so far as his adversary is concerned, and yet if his right would in any way injure the public, it must be denied. There are three kinds of relief which the court is bound to refuse on public grounds, viz.: first, that which conflicts with positive law, the expressed wish and command of the people, e.g., relief based on a contract to evade the revenue laws by smuggling; second, that which is immoral or contra bonos mores,i.e., which would have an immoral effect on the public, such as a judgment for rent under the lease of a house for disorderly purposes; third, all other relief which can interfere with the public welfare. Each of these three classes of cases may property be said to be "against public policy", but this expression is usually confined to the last class, and the claims of positive law and public morality are permitted to stand by themselves.

—The third class of cases is somewhat indefinite. The common law always strove to be definite, and sought for exact precedents, Hence a general discretionary power in the court to declare that a contract or will is avoid as against public policy, would seem to be repugnant to the established rules of law. Such a power has, however, been held to exist, and, as might have been expected, it gained currency in an anomalous way. The general principle, that a condition in a contract which is "against the general good" can not be enforced, was recognized in England at a very early date in Sheppard's "Touchstone". Bracton hints at it (book iii., p. 100), and lord Coke seems to regard as void those conditions which are "repugnant to the state". Still, the law on the subject was not developed and formulated until a much later day, when it became closely associated and even identified with the law of wagers. The English judges had by some mischance decided that wagers could be enforced at law, although in other civilized countries the contrary rule prevailed. They discovered afterward how pernicious the effects of betting were, and how much of the time of the courts was wasted in determining trivial questions, but it was too late to retract. They could not then hold all wagers illegal, but they found some relief in the doctrine of public policy. Whenever they could, they decided that particular wagers were invalid, as against public policy, and they displayed considerable ingenuity in extending the number of such cases. Thus, a wager on the sex of a third person was held void, as it tended to call forth indecent evidence, although such evidence would not be considered an objection in any other case. A bet upon an election was not enforced, as it might have influenced votes, and the public is interested in removing such influence from the polls. In short, any wager upon public matters would have been held bad, because it would have created a dangerous interest in public affairs. So in Gilbert vs. Sykes, 16 East, 150, (1812), it appeared that in 1802 Sir Marks Sykes received a hundred guineas from one Gilbert, promising in return to pay Gilbert a guinea a day until the death of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was then first consul. The wager arose out of a conversation upon the probability of his assassination. Lord Ellenborough, the chief justice, said, "Whenever the tolerating of any species of contract has a tendency to produce a public mischief or inconvenience, such a contract has been held to be void." The court decided that this contract was illegal, as it would naturally create a desire to assassinate a public enemy, contrary to the law of nations. In the case of Eltham vs. Kingsman, 1 Barn. 8 Ald., 683, (1818), the rule was carried to an extreme, although the court disposed of the issue on another point. One proprietor of livery carriages at Cheltenham bet watches with another proprietor that a certain Col. Longford would go to the assembly in his "fly by night" (a vehicle) and no other. The court held that the wager was void, because it would tend to subject Longford to great inconvenience by exposing him to the importunities of the proprietors of these vehicles, one of the judges remarking that "any person who has walked through Piccadilly must be sensible that this is no small inconvenience." Finally, those wagers were held bad, 1, which tended to create an improper bias in the mind of a person with relation to some public duty (as in the election case above mentioned), or, 2, which had a tendency to injure third persons or the public. Such wagers were regarded as "against public policy."

—Meanwhile the doctrine of public policy spread through all branches of the law. The courts, after introducing the principle into the law of wagers, soon found that it was applicable to many other subjects of litigation. It has now been definitely settled that any contract or will may be declared void as against public policy, if it be calculated to injure either, 1, the government in its foreign relations, or 2, the government in its domestic relations and the administration of justice, or 3, the public generally by restraining the freedom of individuals. Under the first head, viz., of contracts, etc., injurious to the government in its foreign relations, are included those which benefit an enemy or affront a friendly state. Consequently it is held that "as the presumed object of war is as much to cripple the enemy's commerce as to capture his property, a declaration of war imports a prohibition of commercial intercourse and correspondence with the inhabitants of the enemy's country, and that such intercourse is illegal," (Esposito vs. Bowden, 7 Ellis 8 Blackb., 763, 779); and a contract between citizens of two countries is annulled by a subsequent war, as it is against public policy to enforce it. "On the principles of the English law, it is not competent to any subject to enter into a contract to do anything which may be detrimental to the interests of his own country." (Furtado vs. Rogers, 3 B. 8 P., 191, 198.) The second division, viz., of contracts, etc., injurious to the government in its domestic relations and the administration of justice, embraces all agreements contemplating the bribery of public officers, executive, legislative or judicial, or of any person having some public duty to perform, such as voting. The leading English case on the doctrine of public policy is Egerton vs. Earl Brounlow, 4 House of Lords Cases, 1, and it has reference to corrupt influence of this kind. The earl of Bridgewater died leaving a will, in which he left a very large estate to a certain legatee on condition that he should obtain the title of duke or marquis of Bridgewater. The house of lords held the condition invalid, as it held out a temptation to the legatee to indulge in bribery in endeavoring to obtain the title. In short, contracts creating an interest at variance with a duty are void. The sale of offices is also against public policy. So is the assignment of salary, not yet due, by a public officer. It is for the interest of the public that he should be able to support himself while he is in office, and he can not place his future salary out of his power. Again, it is illegal to compound a felony or misdemeanor, viz., to refrain from its prosecution for any consideration. This is against public policy, because it frustrates justice; and, for the same reason, maintenance and champerty, i.e., the impertinent encouragement and assistance of litigation by persons who are not interested, vitiates contracts. Agreements not to bid at judicial sales are void, and, indeed, all auction sales are carefully scrutinized to prevent frauds upon the public. Under the third class, viz., of contracts, etc., which are injurious to the public generally, as restraining the freedom of individuals, the most important are contracts made in restraint of trade. A man can not bind himself not to carry on his business. The people at large are interested that he should earn a living for himself and his family, and not become a pauper, and that there should be the freest competition in all trades and professions. The enforcement of contracts, taking away the right of men to pursue their callings, would discourage industry, diminish products, prevent competition, enhance prices, and introduce monopoly. A man may bind himself not to trade within certain limits; e.g., a retiring partner may agree with his copartners not to compete with his firm in a certain town,the seller of a business with the buyer, or a servant with a master who undertakes to teach him the secrets of his art; but these are manifestly wise exceptions, based on peculiar grounds. A father can not abdicate his parental rights. It is the interest of the public that paternal authority should be upheld. An agreement not to marry can not be enforced; nor can an agreement not to marry any one except a certain person: nor a "marriage-brocage contract"; viz., a promise to pay a person a sum of money if he can induce a certain person to marry the promisor. All these contracts interfere with freedom of choice in marriage, and imperil the happiness of that domestic system in which the people has everything at stake. An agreement to use influence with a testator is also against public policy.

—But it is needless to multiply instances. The main point to be remembered is, that the court always protects the interests of the people. Enough examples have been cited to show the nature of that protection in England and America. Our judges are always ready to annul engagements which are "against public policy," but it is probable that the principle will never be extended much further, for, as has been ably said, it is paramount public policy to allow freedom in making contracts, and to enforce them as made. (19 Equity, 462.)

—See Pollock on Contracts, 251 et seq.; 1 Story's Equity Jurisprudence, § 259, note 1; Hubbard, J., in Sedgwick vs. Stanton, 14 New York Reports, 289, 291.

The Century Dictionary, an Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language, 1895
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Black’s Law Dictionary, 1st edition, 1891
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Words and Phrases Judicially Defined by the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Court Of Appeals, Dean E. Ryman, 1910
In general.—Public policy is that vague and undefinable concept—the will of the public. The court gathers it from the constitution and the acts of the General Assembly. It is sometimes defined as that principle of law which holds that no one can lawfully do that which has a tendency to be injurious to the public or against the public good. A law will not be declared void as against public policy unless such appears to be the fact without any reasonable doubt. Smith v. Dubose, 78 Ga. 413, 3 S. E. 314.

Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th edition, 1979

The general principles by which a government is guided in its management of public affairs, or the legislature in its measures.

A general term used to describe all contracts of insurance.

This term, as applied to law, ordinance, or rule of law, denotes its general purpose or tendency considered as directed to the welfare or prosperity of the state or community.

Public Policy

That principle of the law which holds that no subject can lawfully do that which has a tendency to be injurious to the public or against the public good. The principles under which the freedom of contract or private dealings is restricted by law for the good of the community. The term “policy,” as applied to a statute, regulation, rule of law, course of action, or the like, refers to its probable effect, tendency, or object, considered with reference to the social or political well-being of the state. Thus, certain classes of acts are said to be “against public policy,” when the law refuses to enforce or recognize them, on the ground that they have a mischievous tendency, so as to be injurious to the interests of the state, apart from illegality or immorality.


Joel Miller said:
Far from a simple attempt to rid the nation of crime and drugs, our policy against narcotics -- like any public policy -- comes with strings attached. And increasingly these strings are constricting around the necks of Americans' lives and liberties.
Richard Haass:
Television was our chief tool in selling our policy.
Robert Reich:
The dirty little secret is that both houses of Congress are irrelevant. ... America's domestic policy is now being run by Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve, and America's foreign policy is now being run by the International Monetary Fund [IMF]. ...when the president decides to go to war, he no longer needs a declaration of war from Congress.
Quintus Tullius Cicero:
Avoid any specific discussion of public policy at public meetings.
Thomas Sowell:
No matter how disastrously some policy has turned out, anyone who criticizes it can expect to hear: 'But what would you replace it with?' When you put out a fire, what do you replace it with?
George McGovern:
The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher standard.
James Madison:
The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less informed part of the community. They have seen, too, that one legislative interference is but the first link of a long chain of repetitions, every subsequent interference being naturally produced by the effects of the preceding.
The internal effects of a mutable policy are [...] calamitous. It poisons the blessings of liberty itself. It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow.
It is a principle incorporated into the settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute.
John Casey:
The growth of drug-related crime is a far greater evil to society as a whole than drug taking. Even so, because we have been seduced by the idea that governments should legislate for our own good, very few people can see how dangerously absurd the present policy is.
George Washington:
My policy has been, and will continue to be, while I have the honor to remain in the administration of the government, to be upon friendly terms with, but independent of, all the nations of the earth. To share in the broils of none. To fulfil our own engagements. To supply the wants, and be carriers for them all: Being thoroughly convinced that it is our policy and interest to do so.
Edmund Burke:
No government ought to exist for the purpose of checking the prosperity of its people or to allow such a principle in its policy.
M. Stanton Evans:
Once 'our people' get themselves into a position to make policy, they cease being 'our people'.
Reginald McKenna:
I am afraid that the ordinary citizen will not like to be told that the banks can and do create and destroy money. And they who control the credit of a nation direct the policy of governments, and hold in the hollow of their hands the destiny of the people.
Henry Kissinger:
Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.
Benjamin Franklin:
The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. ... These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed...
Thomas Jefferson:
The policy of American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits.
Nathaniel Branden:
The policy of seeking values from human beings by means of force, when practiced by an individual, is called crime. When practiced by a government, it is called statism ...
Sheldon Richman:
Apologists for activist government never tire of telling us that the benevolent state is our protector and that without it we'd be at the mercy of monsters. It is about time that we understood that the U.S. government does more to endanger the American people than any imagined monsters around the world…by pursuing its Grand Foreign Policy of meddling anywhere and everywhere.
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