Ieyasu Tokugawa's quote "Give the peasants neither life nor death" is a reflection of his views on the peasant course during his regulation as the shogun of Japan. He believed that the peasant course must not be offered excessive freedom or way too much control. He intended to keep them in a state of limbo, where they were neither able to live a life of deluxe nor struggle with extreme hardship. He intended to maintain them in a state of thrall, where they depended on the gentility for their income. This quote is a pointer of the power dynamics between the ruling class as well as the peasant course throughout Tokugawa's guideline. It likewise works as an advising to those in power to not make the most of the peasant course and to treat them with regard and dignity. By keeping the peasant course in a state of limbo, Tokugawa had the ability to maintain control over the country and make sure that the gentility continued to be in power.
"There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures"