Wendell Phillips

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What is defeat? Nothing but education. Nothing but the first step to something better.

Wendell Phillips (29 November 18112 February 1884), born in Boston, Massachusetts, was an American abolitionist, Native American advocate and orator.


  • Revolutions are not made; they come. A revolution is as natural a growth as an oak. It comes out of the past. Its foundations are laid far back.
  • Truth is one forever absolute, but opinion is truth filtered through the moods, the blood, the disposition of the spectator.
  • He who stifles free discussion, secretly doubts whether what he professes to believe is really true.
    • Boston, 6 August 1870. Oration delivered at Daniel O'Connell Celebration. Reproduced in Wendell Phillips: The Agitator. Martyn, William Carlos (1890). New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, p. 563.
  • Take the whole range of imaginative literature, and we are all wholesale borrowers. In every matter that relates to invention, to use, or beauty or form, we are borrowers.
    • Lecture: The Lost Arts, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • "It's just what Wendell Phillips said," she declared. "'The Puritan's idea of hell is a place where everybody has to mind his own business.'"

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