"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

Pro Liberty Quotes

  • The fact, in short, is that freedom, to be meaningful in an organized society must consist of an amalgam of hierarchy of freedoms and restraints.  ~Samuel Hendel
  • He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.  ~Thomas Paine
  • History does not teach fatalism.  There are moments when the will of a handful of free men breaks through determinism and opens up new roads.  ~Charles de Gaulle
  • Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Liberty is the possibility of doubting, of making a mistake,... of searching and experimenting,... of saying No to any authority - literary, artistic, philosophical, religious, social, and even political.  ~Ignazio Silone, The God That Failed, 1950
  • Liberty: One of Imagination's most precious possessions.  ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
  • The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree.  ~Thomas Campbell
  • Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.  ~Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Here is my advice as we begin the century that will lead to 2081.  First, guard the freedom of ideas at all costs.  Be alert that dictators have always played on the natural human tendency to blame others and to oversimplify.  And don't regard yourself as a guardian of freedom unless you respect and preserve the rights of people you disagree with to free, public, unhampered expression.  ~Gerard K. O'Neill, 2081
  • Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.  ~Abraham Lincoln
  • I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.  ~Simone de Beauvoir
  • My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.  ~Adlai Stevenson, speech, Detroit, 1952
  • It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.  ~Author unknown, sometimes attributed to M. Grundler
  • We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.  ~Robert J. McCracken
  • You have freedom when you're easy in your harness.  ~Robert Frost
  • For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail?  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.  ~Thomas Paine
  • In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.  ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • We have to call it "freedom": who'd want to die for "a lesser tyranny"?  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
  • Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.  ~Moshe Dayan
  • There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought.  ~Charles Kingsley
  • No one is free when others are oppressed.  ~Author Unknown
  • Nations grown corrupt
    Love bondage more than liberty;
    Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty.
    ~John Milton
  • Just, harmonious, temperate as is the spirit of liberty, there is in the name and mere notion of it a vagueness so opposite to the definite clearness of the moral law....  ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827
  • Freedom means choosing your burden.  ~Hephzibah Menuhin
  • Most people want security in this world, not liberty.  ~H.L. Mencken, Minority Report, 1956
  • We feel free when we escape - even if it be but from the frying pan into the fire.  ~Eric Hoffer
  • Men fight for freedom, then they begin to accumulate laws to take it away from themselves.  ~Author Unknown
  • Freedom is that instant between when someone tells you to do something and when you decide how to respond.  ~Jeffrey Borenstein
  • Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.  ~Harry Emerson Fosdick
  • Freedom is not enough.  ~Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Liberty has never come from the government.  Liberty has always come from the subjects of it.  The history of liberty is a history of resistance.  ~Woodrow Wilson
  • The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions.  ~Adlai Stevenson, speech, New York City, 28 August 1952
  • We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.  ~William Faulkner
  • They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.  ~Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
  • Everywhere the human soul stands between a hemisphere of light and another of darkness on the confines of two everlasting hostile empires, - Necessity and Free Will.  ~Thomas Carlyle, Essays, "The Opera"
  • We have enjoyed so much freedom for so long that we are perhaps in danger of forgetting how much blood it cost to establish the Bill of Rights.  ~Felix Frankfurter
  • O Liberty...! is it well
    To leave the gates unguarded?
    ~Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  • No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.  ~Frederick Douglass, speech, Civil Rights Mass Meeting, Washington, D.C., 1883
  • Let freedom never perish in your hands.  ~Joseph Addison
  • Who speaks of liberty while the human mind is in chains?  ~Francis Wright, 1828
  • Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.  ~George Washington
  • I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.  ~James Madison, speech, Virginia Convention, 1788
  • Liberty doesn't work as well in practice as it does in speeches.  ~Will Rogers
  • Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.  ~Mahatma Gandhi
  • Order without liberty and liberty without order are equally destructive.  ~Theodore Roosevelt
  • We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.  ~Edward R. Murrow
  • Freedom has a thousand charms to show,
    That slaves, howe'er contented, never know.
    ~William Cowper
  • Most men, after a little freedom, have preferred authority with the consoling assurances and the economy of effort which it brings.  ~Walter Lippmann, A Preface to Morals, 1929
  • The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power.  ~Daniel Webster
  • Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.  ~Albert Camus
  • Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks.  Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools.  And their grandchildren are once more slaves.  ~D.H. Lawrence, Classical American Literature, 1922
  • I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery.  ~Author Unknown
  • Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves.  ~Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, 1888
  • The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.  ~Louis D. Brandeis
  • When the People contend for their liberty, they seldom get anything for their Victory but new Masters.  ~George Savile
  • Without freedom, no one really has a name.  ~Milton Acorda
  • A nation may lose its liberties in a day and not miss them in a century.  ~Baron de Montesquieu
  • Liberty means responsibility.  That is why most men dread it.  ~George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, "Maxims: Liberty and Equality," 1905
  • The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.  ~Edmund Burke
  • We anarchists do not want to emancipate the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves.  ~Errico Malatesta, l'Agitazione, 18 June 1897
  • Freedom is never free.  ~Author Unknown
  • We are free, truly free, when we don't need to rent our arms to anybody in order to be able to lift a piece of bread to our mouths.  ~Ricardo Flores Magon, speech, 31 May 1914
  • Many politicians are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom.  The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.  ~Thomas Macaulay
  • I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue! ~Karl Hess for Sen. Barry Goldwater; attribution to Cicero
  • It is not the right of property which is protected but the right to property. Property, per se, has no rights but the individual has three great rights, equally sacred from arbitrary interference: the right to life, the right to his liberty and the right to his property. These three rights are so bound together as to be essentially one right. To give a man his life but deny him his liberty is to take from him all that makes life worth living. To give him his liberty but take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty is still to leave him a slave. ~Justice George Sutherland
  • "The story of the transformation of the fundamental principle of American government from liberty to democracy is compelling, partly because the powers embodied in America's twenty-first-century democratic government are those that eighteenth-century Americans revolted against to escape." ~Randall G. Holcombe, 2002
  • A society that robs an individual of the product of his efforts, or enslaves him, or attempts to limit the freedom of his mind, or compels him to act against his own rational judgment – a society that sets up a conflict between its edicts and the requirements of man's nature is not, strictly speaking, a society, but a mob held together by institutionalized gang-rule. ~Ayn Rand
  • The ground of liberty is to be gained by inches, and we must be contented to secure what we can get from time to time and eternally press forward for what is yet to get. It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.
    ~Thomas Jefferson
    {1743-1826 3rd US President & Founding Father}
  • Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle! Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either rods or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. ~Frederick Douglass
  • If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. ~Samuel Adams, speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776.
  • The advancement of freedom is not a matter of who wields political power over creative actions; rather, it depends upon the disassembling of such power. ~Leonard E. Read
  • Liberty is the only thing you can't have unless you give it to others. ~William Allen White
  • The people of the various provinces are strictly forbidden to have in their possession any swords, short swords, bows, spears, firearms, or other types of arms. The possession of unnecessary implements makes difficult the collection of taxes and dues and tends to foment uprisings.  ~Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598), Japanese shogun, Tensho 16, Seventh Month, 8th Day [August 29?, 1588], quoted in "Sources of Japanese Tradition," Ryusaku Tsunoda, ed. (Columbia University Press, 1958), p.329
  • "It doesn't seem to me that people who are serious about freedom can indulge themselves too much longer in the fantasy that freedom can be advanced through politics without the risk of doing themselves substantial hurt. Politics are the dynamic of government, government is theft and slavery, and we can achieve freedom through political action like we can achieve celibacy through rape. ~Victor Milan
  • Liberty embraces freedom from duress; freedom from government interference; freedom of locomotion; liberty embraces the Right of self-defence against unlawful violence; right to acquire and enjoy property; Right to acquire useful knowledge; the Right to earn livelihood in any lawful calling; right to engage in a lawful business; Right to determine the price of one's labor; The Right to freely buy and sell as others may; right to live and work where one will. Right to marry and have a family. ~Blacks Law Dictionary, 5th Edition
  • I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. ~Thomas Jefferson
  • Where liberty is, there is my country. ~Benjamin Franklin
  • I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty. ~Woodrow Wilson
  • It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own. ~Thomas Jefferson
  • Liberty, not communism, is the most contagious force in the world. ~Earl Warren