Freedom and Liberty Quotes

 

“Formerly no one was allowed to think freely; now it is permitted, but no one is capable of it any more. Now people want to think only what they are supposed to think, and this they consider freedom.” Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), The Decline of the West, 1926
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“A people may prefer a free government, but if, from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; if they can be deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it; if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions; in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty: and though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it.” John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, 1861
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“Who are a free people? Not those over whom government is exercised, but those who live under a government so constitutionally checked and controlled that proper provision is made against its being otherwise exercised.” John Dickenson (1732-1808), source: Farmer’s Letters, 1767
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“The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that ‘if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.’ it is a very serious consideration...that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.” Samuel Adams, speech in Boston, 1771
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“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Plato
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“The people who, in order to enjoy the liberty which suites them, resort to the representative system, must exercise an active and constant surveillance over their representatives, and reserve for themselves...the right to discard them if they betray their trust, and to revoke the powers which them might have abused.” Benjamin Constant.
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“Most people want security in this world, not liberty.” Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956), American journalist
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“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.” Patrick Henry
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“From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor’s rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own.” Carl Schurz (1829-1906), German-born, US General, US Senator (MO), Founded the Liberal Republican movement
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“Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics.’ When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy hypocrisy.” Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th US President
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“I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not so desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.” Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, 1849
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“No man survives when freedom fails, the best men rot in filthy jails, And those who cry ‘appease, appease’ Are hanged by those they tried to please.” Hiram Mann
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“A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular.” Adlai Stevenson
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“No truly sophisticated proponent of repression would be stupid enough to shatter the facade of democratic institutions.” Murray B. Levin
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“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” Samuel Adams
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“It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.” James Madison
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“No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.” Edward R. Murrow, about Senator Joseph McCarthy’s accusations about Communism in the American government
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“Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.” Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791
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“Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.” Edward Everett
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“When the same man, or set of men, holds the sword and the purse, there is an end of liberty.” George Mason

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