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Quotations about liberty

John AdamsThere is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

 - John Adams

Thomas JeffersonTimid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.

 - Thomas Jefferson

Thomas JeffersonI would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it.

 - Thomas Jefferson

Freedom is only part of the story and half the truth, that is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplanted by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.

 - Victor E. Frankl

Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty's lamp guiding your steps and opportunity's arm steadying your way.

 - Ronald Reagan

Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace -- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty powers! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

 - Patrick Henry

Milton FriedmanEvery friend of freedom must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence.

 - Milton Friedman

Henry David ThoreauDisobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.

 - Henry David Thoreau

It is not the business of government to make men virtuous or religious, or to preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly. Government should be repressive no further than is necessary to secure liberty by protecting the equal rights of each from aggression on the part of others, and the moment governmental prohibitions extend beyond this line they are in danger of defeating the very ends they are intended to serve.

 - Henry George

Samuel AdamsIf ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

 - Samuel Adams

Emma LazarusNot like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flameis the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.

From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she with silent lips.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

 - Emma Lazarus

BuddhaLiberty, courtesy, benevolence, unselfishness, under all circumstances towards all people--these qualities are to the world what the linchpin is to the rolling chariot.

 - Gautama Buddha

Lord ActonLiberty is not a means to a higher political end, it is itself the highest political end.

 - Lord Acton

John AdamsLiberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right. . .and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.

 - John Adams

David HumeLiberty of thinking, and of expressing our thoughts, is always fatal to priestly power, and to those pious frauds on which it is commonly founded.

 - David Hume

Michel de MontaigneThe premeditation of death is the premeditation of liberty; he who has learnt to die has forgot to serve.

 - Michel de Montaigne

Voltaire ArouetVirtue supposes liberty, as the carrying of a burden supposes active force. Under coercion there is no virtue, and without virtue there is no religion. Make a slave of me, and I shall be no better for it. Even the sovereign has no right to use coercion to lead men to religion, which by its nature supposes choice and liberty. My thought is no more subject to authority than is sickness or health.

 - Voltaire Arouet

Isaiah BerlinLiberty is liberty, not equality or fairness or justice or human happiness or a quiet conscience.

 - Isaiah Berlin

Samuel JohnsonResolve not to be poor: whatever you have, spend less. Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult.

 - Samuel Johnson

Louis BrandeisPolitical, social, and economic changes entail the recognition of new rights, and the common law, in its eternal youth, grows to meet the demands of society . . .Now the right to life has come to mean the right to enjoy life, -- the right to be let alone; the right to liberty secures the exercise of extensive civil privileges; and the term ‘‘property'' has grown to comprise every form of possession -- intangible, as well as tangible.

 - Louis Brandeis

Louis BrandeisExperience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

 - Louis Brandeis

George OrwellIf liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

 - George Orwell