Notable Quotes
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Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it.

MALCOLM X, Malcolm X Speaks

Any existence deprived of freedom is a kind of death.

MICHEL AOUN, attributed, Dictionary of Quotations

Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.

SIGMUND FREUD, Civilization and Its Discontents

Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.

NELSON MANDELA, Long Walk to Freedom

Freedom based on respect for the individual, is an idea whose strength and beauty has remained undimmed down the ages. Other ideas and other words have been twisted and usurped. But freedom resists such treatment. It is the great gift of Western culture to mankind. It remains the driving force of the Western democracies today. It is the source of their strength, of their diversity and of their prosperity.

MARGARET THATCHER, speech accepting Donovan Award, Feb. 28, 1981

Any nation or government that deprives an individual of freedom is in that moment committing an act of moral and spiritual murder. Any individual who is not concerned about his freedom commits an act of moral and spiritual suicide.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., Address at the Fiftieth Annual NAACP Convention, Jul. 17, 1959

We know what works: Freedom works. We know what's right: Freedom is right. We know how to secure a more just and prosperous life for man on Earth: through free markets, free speech, free elections, and the exercise of free will unhampered by the state.

GEORGE H. W. BUSH, Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 1989

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, letter to Abbés Chalut and Arnaud, Apr. 17, 1787

To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

NELSON MANDELA, Long Walk to Freedom

Freedom is obedience to self-formulated rules.

ARISTOTLE, Nicomachean Ethics

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," 1963

I am as free as Nature first made man,
Ere the base laws of servitude began,
When wild in woods the noble savage ran.

JOHN DRYDEN, The Conquest of Granada

The cry for freedom is a sign of suppression. It will not cease to ring as long as man feels himself captive. As diverse as the cries for freedom may be, basically they all express one and the same thing: The intolerability of the rigidity of the organism and of the machine-like institutions which create a sharp conflict with the natural feelings for life. Not until there is a social order in which all cries for freedom subside will man have overcome his biological and social crippling, will he have attained genuine freedom.

WILHELM REICH, The Mass Psychology of Fascism

The anchor in our world today is freedom, holding us steady in times of change.

GEORGE H. W. BUSH, State of the Union Address, Jan. 31, 1990

Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.

AYN RAND, The Fountainhead

This freedom of which men speak, for which they fight, seems to some people a perilous thing. It has to be earned at a bitter cost and then — it has to be lived with. For freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, You Learn by Living

Mistaking insolence for freedom has always been the hallmark of the slave.

WILHELM REICH, Listen, Little Man!

The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.

LORD ACTON, The History of Freedom in Antiquity

Freedom ... the sauce best beloved by the boyish soul.


We feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, "Introduction: The Missing Ink", Welcome to the Desert of the Real!: Five Essays on September 11 and Related Dates

The greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself.

SAUL ALINSKY, Rules for Radicals

The whole world yearns after freedom, yet each creature is in love with his chains.

SRI AUROBINDO, Thoughts and Glimpses

I've read and heard a lot of unbelievable stuff about those times when people lived in freedom -- that is, in disorganized wildness.


You get freedom by letting your enemy know that you'll do anything to get your freedom; then you'll get it. It's the only way you'll get it.

MALCOLM X, Advice to the Youth of Mississippi, Dec. 31, 1964

Love of country follows from the exercise of its freedoms, not from pride in its fleets or its armies.

LEWIS H. LAPHAM, "Them", Lapham's Quarterly: Foreigners, winter 2014

Until we are all free, we are none of us free.

EMMA LAZARUS, An Epistle to the Hebrews

For many minutes, for many hours, for a bleak eternity, he lay awake, shivering, reduced to primitive terror, comprehending that he had won freedom, and wondering what he could do with anything so unknown and so embarrassing as freedom.


Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward towards the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.

URSULA K. LE GUIN, The Tombs of Atuan

Real freedom lies in wildness, not in civilization.

CHARLES LINDBERGH, attributed, Lindbergh

What most clearly characterizes true freedom and its true employment is its misemployment.


For it is in the field where meaning is constitutive that man's freedom reaches its highest point. There too his responsibility is greatest. There there occurs the emergence of his existential subject, finding out for himself that he has to decide for himself what he is to make of himself.

BERNARD LONERGAN, The Lonergan Reader

The freedom of all is essential to my freedom.

MIKHAIL BAKUNIN, Man, Society and Freedom

Freedom begins between the ears.

EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto)

All men are born free: just not for long.

JOHN LE CARRÉ, A Murder of Quality

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