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The meaning and origin of the expression: One law for the rich and another law for the poor

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There's one law for the rich and another law for the poor

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'One law for the rich and another law for the poor'?

This proverbial saying express the opinion that the poor are treated harshly by the law whereas the rich, with their access to clever lawyers and bribes, usually escape punishment.

What's the origin of the phrase 'One law for the rich and another law for the poor'?

It isn't often that a proverb can be attributed to a specific source. Many are modifications of similar sayings that date from before such things were normally written down, others may have existed in other languages before being translated into English. The source of these is often impossible to determine.

There's one law for the rich and another law for the poor.'One law for the rich and another law for the poor' stands apart from them as it was coined by the English Royal Navy officer and novelist Captain Frederick Marryat in his book The King's Own, 1830:

There cannot be one law for the rich and another for the poor, Debriseau. When I hear that the wives of the aristocracy have been seized by the revenue officers, and the contraband articles which they wear have been taken off their backs, and that they have been sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment, by a committal from the magistrate, then - and not till then - will I acknowledge our profession to be dishonest.

Some proverbs offer dubious advice and many are directly contradictory of others. As for 'there's one law for the rich and another law for the poor' it is a truth universally accepted.

Other 'One' phrases:

One fell swoop - At
One for the road
One foot in the grave
One over the eight
One sandwich short of a picnic
One small step for man
One stop shop
One swallow doesn't make a summer