quotations about liberty
While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this case they are answerable.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Benedict Arnold, Sep. 14, 1775
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, attributed, If Ignorance Is Bliss, Why Aren't There More Happy People?
Social order is better preserved by liberty than by restraint.
WILLIAM E. CHANNING, Thoughts
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
GEORGE ORWELL, preface, Animal Farm
Liberty is a bitch who must be bedded on a mattress of corpses.
NEIL GAIMAN, American Gods
I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
PATRICK HENRY, speech at the Second Virginia Convention in Richmond, Virginia, Mar. 23, 1775
Liberty is beyond all price.
JUSTINIAN II, attributed, Day's Collacon
The breath of liberty is sweet.
MARY J. HOLMES, Lena Rivers
There were those who loved liberty, who cried out to live their own lives, to strive, to rise above, to achieve, and those bent on the mindless equality of stagnation brought about through the enforcement of an artificial, arbitrary, gray uniformity--those who wanted to transcend through their own effort, and those who wanted others to think for them and were willing to pay the ultimate price.
TERRY GOODKIND, Faith of the Fallen
A lion is at liberty who can follow the laws of his own nature, who can eat when his stomach tells him, who can sleep when his fierce eyes grow weary, who can scratch long furrows in a forest tree when his claws feel so disposed. He is not at liberty when he lives in a cage, is fed on horseflesh at 4 p.m., and is compelled at the point of a red-hot poker to spell P-I-G -- PIG, in the presence of a diverted crowd.
ROBERT HUGH BENSON, Intellectual Slavery
Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to James Madison, Mar. 2, 1788
Liberty has as many chains as an iron-monger's shop, and as rusty.
AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought
Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, Circular to the States, May 9, 1753
The love of liberty is a common blood that flows in our American veins.
JIMMY CARTER, Farewell Address, Jan. 14, 1981
The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime, and the punishment of his guilt.
JOHN PHILPOT CURRAN, speech, July 10, 1790
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to W.S. Smith, Nov. 13, 1787
Liberty, according to my metaphysics, is an intellectual quality; an attribute that belongs not to fate nor chance. Neither possesses it, neither is capable of it. There is nothing moral or immoral in the idea of it. The definition of it is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power; it can elect between objects, indifferent in point of morality, neither morally good nor morally evil. If the substance in which this quality, attribute, adjective, call it what you will, exists, has a moral sense, a conscience, a moral faculty; if it can distinguish between moral good and moral evil, and has power to choose the former and refuse the latter, it can, if it will, choose the evil and reject the good, as we see in experience it very often does.
JOHN ADAMS, letter to John Taylor, 1814
Idleness, ennui, noise, mischief, riot, and a nameless train of mistaken notions of pleasure, are often classed, in a young man's mind, under the general head of liberty.
MARIA EDGEWORTH, The Good Aunt
A people contending for life and liberty are seldom disposed to look with a favorable eye upon either men or measures whose passions, interests or consequences will clash with those inestimable objects.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to General Thomas, Jul. 23, 1775
There are multitudes of persons whose idea of liberty is the right to do what they please, instead of the right of doing that which is lawful and best.
HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit