Salus populi suprema lex esto

Salus populi suprema lex esto (Latin: "The health (welfare, good, salvation, felicity) of the people should be the supreme law", "Let the good (or safety) of the people be the supreme (or highest) law",[1] or "The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law") is a maxim or principle found in Cicero's De Legibus (book III, part III, sub. VIII).[2]

In the United States, the phrase is the state motto of Missouri and the University of Missouri, and accepted, like many other states, as an element of its state seal.[3]. It is also used for Manassas Park, Virginia, and the Duquesne University School of Law.

It also appears on many coats of arms, sometimes in variant forms such as Salus populi suprema lex, or Salus populi suprema est. In the United Kingdom, these coats of arms include the City of Salford, the London Borough of Lewisham, Eastleigh, Harrow, Southport, Lytham St. Anne's, Mid Sussex, West Lancashire, Swinton and Pendlebury, Urmston and Willenhall;[4]

John Locke uses it as the epigraph in the form Salus populi suprema lex in his Second Treatise on Government and refers to it as a fundamental rule for government.[5] It was the inscription on the cornet of Roundhead and Leveller William Rainsborowe during the English Civil War. This motto was also endorsed by Hobbes at the beginning of Chapter 30 of Leviathan and by Spinoza in Chapter 19 of his Theological-Political Treatise. It was frequently quoted as Salus populi est suprema lex since at least 1737.[6]

The motto was featured on the masthead of the Irish medical journal Medical Press and Circular.[7]