Quotes on Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech Quotes:


"Once you permit those who are convinced of their own superior rightness to censor and silence and suppress those who hold contrary opinions, just at that moment the citadel has been surrendered." -- Archibald Macleish - (1892-1982) Poet, playwright, Librarian of Congress, & Assistant Secretary of State under Franklin Roosevelt Source: Saturday Review, 12 May 1979
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"No duty, however, binds us to these so-called laws, whose corrupting influence menaces what is noblest in our being..." -- Benjamin Constant [Henri-Benjamin Constant de Rebecque] (1767-1830) Swiss-born thinker, writer and French politician. Source: Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments (1810) Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003), p. 401-402.
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"We are reluctant to admit that we owe our liberties to men of a type that today we hate and fear -- unruly men, disturbers of the peace, men who resent and denounce what Whitman called 'the insolence of elected persons' -- in a word, free men." -- Gerald W. Johnson - (1890-1980) Source: American Freedom and the Press, 1958
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"And I honor the man who is willing to sink half his present repute for the freedom to think, and, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak, will risk the other
half for the freedom to speak." -- James Russell Lowell: - (1819-1891) Poet and author Source: A Fable for Critics, 1848
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"When even one "American" -- who has done nothing wrong -- is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth, then all Americans are in peril." -- Harry S. Truman - (1884-1972), 33rd US President August 14, 1951 Source: Address at the Dedication of the New Washington Headquarters of the American Legion
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"Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing Freedom of Speech... Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech..." - Cato - John Trenchard (1662-1723) & Thomas Gordon (169?-1750) Source: Letters, 1720
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"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." William O Douglas
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"Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless." -- Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi - (1828-1910) Russian writer Source: On Life and Essays on Religion
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"Free inquiry requires that we tolerate diversity of opinion and that we respect the right of individuals to express their beliefs, however unpopular they may be, without social or legal prohibition or fear of success." -- Paul Kurtz Source: "A Secular Humanist Declaration," in On The Barricades, 1989

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