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- The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.
- John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, The History of Freedom in Antiquity (1877)
- When people talk of the Freedom of Writing, Speaking, or thinking, I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists; but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more.
- John Adams Letter to Thomas Jefferson (15 July 1817)
- Freedom for me is to live with dignity, and if my dignity and freedom is controlled by a man, I will never be free.
- Manal al-Sharif, as quoted in Saudi women 'still enslaved', says activist as driving ban ends (22 June 2018) by Heba Kanso, Thomson Reuters Foundation.
- Make yourself known as a philosopher, that is a free man.
- Apollonius of Tyana, Epp. Apoll. 28
- Man cannot be free if he does not know that he is subject to necessity, because his freedom is always won in his never wholly successful attempts to liberate himself from necessity.
- Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (1958), part 3, chapter 16
- He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.
- The price of freedom is to decide moral and political issues.
- Joxe Azurmendi, interview in Deia (1 September 2012)
- We are convinced that freedom without Socialism is privilege and injustice, and that Socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality.
- Mikhail Bakunin, as quoted in The Political Philosophy of Bakunin: Scientific Anarchism (1953) edited by Grigoriĭ Petrovich Maksimov, p. 269
- Political Freedom without economic equality is a pretense, a fraud, a lie; and the workers want no lying.
- Liberty that recognizes no restrictions other than those determined by the laws of our own individual nature, which cannot properly be regarded as restrictions since these laws are not imposed by any outside legislator beside or above us, but are immanent and inherent, forming the very basis of our material, intellectual and moral being — they do not limit us but are the real and immediate conditions of our freedom.
- Freedom is the absolute right of every human being to seek no other sanction for his actions but his own conscience, to determine these actions solely by his own will, and consequently to owe his first responsibility to himself alone.
- Even the most wretched individual of our present society could not exist and develop without the cumulative social efforts of countless generations. Thus the individual, his freedom and reason, are the products of society, and not vice versa: society is not the product of individuals comprising it; and the higher, the more fully the individual is developed, the greater his freedom — and the more he is the product of society, the more does he receive from society and the greater his debt to it.
- Mikhail Bakunin, as quoted in The Philosophy of Bakunin (1953) edited by G. P. Maximoff, p. 158
- The materialistic, realistic, and collectivist conception of freedom, as opposed to the idealistic, is this: Man becomes conscious of himself and his humanity only in society and only by the collective action of the whole society. He frees himself from the yoke of external nature only by collective and social labor, which alone can transform the earth into an abode favorable to the development of humanity. Without such material emancipation the intellectual and moral emancipation of the individual is impossible. He can emancipate himself from the yoke of his own nature, i.e. subordinate his instincts and the movements of his body to the conscious direction of his mind, the development of which is fostered only by education and training. But education and training are preeminently and exclusively social … hence the isolated individual cannot possibly become conscious of his freedom.
To be free … means to be acknowledged and treated as such by all his fellowmen. The liberty of every individual is only the reflection of his own humanity, or his human right through the conscience of all free men, his brothers and his equals.
I can feel free only in the presence of and in relationship with other men. In the presence of an inferior species of animal I am neither free nor a man, because this animal is incapable of conceiving and consequently recognizing my humanity. I am not myself free or human until or unless I recognize the freedom and humanity of all my fellowmen.
Only in respecting their human character do I respect my own. ...
I am truly free only when all human beings, men and women, are equally free. The freedom of other men, far from negating or limiting my freedom, is, on the contrary, its necessary premise and confirmation.
- Mikhail Bakunin, 'Man, Society, and Freedom (1871), as translated by Sam Dolgoff in Bakunin on Anarchy (1971)
- Variant translations: A natural society, in the midst of which every man is born and outside of which he could never become a rational and free being, becomes humanized only in the measure that all men comprising it become, individually and collectively, free to an ever greater extent.
Note 1. To be personally free means for every man living in a social milieu not to surrender his thought or will to any authority but his own reason and his own understanding of justice; in a word, not to recognize any other truth but the one which he himself has arrived at, and not to submit to any other law but the one accepted by his own conscience. Such is the indispensable condition for the observance of human dignity, the incontestable right of man, the sign of his humanity.
To be free collectively means to live among free people and to be free by virtue of their freedom. As we have already pointed out, man cannot become a rational being, possessing a rational will, (and consequently he could not achieve individual freedom) apart from society and without its aid. Thus the freedom of everyone is the result of universal solidarity. But if we recognize this solidarity as the basis and condition of every individual freedom, it becomes evident that a man living among slaves, even in the capacity of their master, will necessarily become the slave of that state of slavery, and that only by emancipating himself from such slavery will he become free himself.
Thus, too, the freedom of all is essential to my freedom. And it follows that it would be fallacious to maintain that the freedom of all constitutes a limit for and a limitation upon my freedom, for that would be tantamount to the denial of such freedom. On the contrary, universal freedom represents the necessary affirmation and boundless expansion of individual freedom.
- This passage was translated as Part III : The System of Anarchism , Ch. 13: Summation, Section VI, in The Political Philosophy of Bakunin : Scientific Anarchism (1953), compiled and edited by G. P. Maximoff
- My dignity as a man, my human right which consists of refusing to obey any other man, and to determine my own acts in conformity with my convictions is reflected by the equally free conscience of all and confirmed by the consent of all humanity. My personal freedom, confirmed by the liberty of all, extends to infinity.
The materialistic conception of freedom is therefore a very positive, very complex thing, and above all, eminently social, because it can be realized only in society and by the strictest equality and solidarity among all men.
- Mikhail Bakunin, 'Man, Society, and Freedom (1871), as translated by Sam Dolgoff in Bakunin on Anarchy (1971)
- Freedom, like any other virtue, does not exist in a vacuum. It must be worked and practiced to exist at all. And like any other virtue, it imposes upon those who would have it the unpleasant tasks of discipline and sacrifice.
- There are two kinds of freedom to be found in our world: the freedom of desires, and the freedom from desires. Our modern Western culture only recognizes the first of these, freedom of desires. It then worships such a freedom by enshrining it at the forefront of national constitutions and bills of human rights. One can say that the underlying creed of most Western democracies is to protect their people's freedom to realize their desires, as far as this is possible. It is remarkable that in such countries people do not feel very free. The second kind of freedom, freedom from desires, is celebrated only in some religious communities. It celebrates contentment, peace that is free from desires. It is remarkable that in such abstemious communities like my monastery, people feel free.
- Ajahn Brahm, Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung (2005).
- We thought (the United States) could lead us to freedom, but they led us into feardom, not freedom.
- Giannina Braschi, in "United States of Banana" (2011)
- Ambulances always come with clouds of smoke. And then they disappear in a whistle. But what they bring is fear. Not freedom. Feardom is what they bring. And they bring fire and smoke. Oh, my nerves are bad tonight, yes, bad. I fear freedom. I, above all, fear the freedom that is above all feardom.
- Giannina Braschi, in "United States of Banana" (2011)
- Freedom is not the possession of one race. We know with equal certainty that freedom is not the possession of one nation.
- Freedom honors and unleashes human creativity — and creativity determines the strength and wealth of nations.
- Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom, and never even to have a choice in the matter? I, for one, do not believe it. I believe every person has the ability and the right to be free.
- We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.
- We can't impose freedom, but we can eliminate roadblocks to freedom, and to allow free societies to develop.
- George W. Bush, . President Bush Participates in Joint Press Availability with Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom. The White House (30 July 2007). Retrieved on 2007-07-30.
- Some question whether people in certain parts of the world actually desire freedom. This self-serving condescension has been disproved before our eyes. From the voting booths of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Liberia to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Rose Revolution in Georgia to the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, we have seen people consistently make the courageous decision to demand their liberty. For all the suggestions to the contrary, the truth is that whenever or wherever people are given the choice, they choose freedom.
- George W. Bush, Address to the United Nations General Assembly by President George W. Bush (23 September 2008)
- When people live in freedom, they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror.
- Freedom is a universal human desire... and a force for peace and prosperity in the world... We hear you and we support your cause.
- Hereditary bondsmen! Know ye not
Who would be free themselves must strike the blow?
- Yet, Freedom! yet thy banner, torn, but flying,
Streams like the thunder-storm against the wind.
- For Freedom's battle once begun,
Bequeath'd by bleeding sire to son,
Though baffled oft is ever won.
- Lord Byron, The Giaour (1813), line 123
- Inner freedom demands the rejection of any imposition that injures our dignity.
- Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Quotes we cherish. Quotations from Fausto Cercignani, 2013, p. 17
- Secret thoughts are only half free: they fly undisturbed in the skies of the inner freedom, but they can never leave them.
- Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Simply Transcribed. Quotations from Fausto Cercignani,2013, p. 19
- I call that mind free, which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith, which opens itself to light whencesoever it may come, which receives new truth as an angel from heaven.
I call that mind free, which sets no bounds to its love, which is not imprisoned in itself or in a sect, which recognises in all human beings the image of God and the rights of his children, which delights in virtue and sympathizes with suffering wherever they are seen, which conquers pride, anger, and sloth, and offers itself up a willing victim to the cause of mankind.
- Controversy may rage as long as it adheres to the presuppositions that define the consensus of elites, and it should furthermore be encouraged within these bounds, thus helping to establish these doctrines as the very condition of thinkable thought while reinforcing the belief that freedom reigns.
- Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions (1989)
- The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum—even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
- Noam Chomsky, The Common Good (1998)
- Fatherland without freedom and merit is a large word with little meaning.
- Anders Chydenius, For What Reason do so Many Swedes Emigrate Every Year?, 1765.
- But what is Freedom? Rightly understood,
A universal license to be good.
- Hartley Coleridge, Liberty
- He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,
And all are slaves besides.
- William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book V, line 733
- I think that the sweetest freedom for a man on earth consists in being able to live, if he likes, without having the need to work.
- Salvador Dalí, Diary of a Genius (1964), p. 79
- You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free.
- Clarence Darrow Address to the court in People v. Lloyd (1920)
- For so long as but a hundred of us remain alive, we will in no way yield ourselves to the dominion of the English. For it is not for glory, nor riches, nor honour that we fight, but for Freedom, which no good man lays down but with his life.
- From the Declaration of Arbroath, 1302. The Times Book of Quotations (2000)
- Once a man has tasted freedom he will never be content to be a slave.
- Walt Disney, Radio address "Our American Culture" broadcast during an intermission of the Metropolitan Opera. (1 March 1941)
- Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate 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 many waters.
- Frederick Douglass, West India Emancipation (1857)
- All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.
- Albert Einstein, "Moral Decay" (1937); later published in Out of My Later Years (1950)
- Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.
- Albert Einstein, Out of My Later Years (1950)
- No technique is possible when men are free. When technique enters into the realm of social life, it collides ceaselessly with the human being to the degree that the combination of man and technique is unavoidable, and that technical action necessarily results in a determined result. Technique requires predictability and, no less, exactness of prediction. It is necessary, then, that technique prevail over the human being. For technique, this is a matter of life or death. Technique must reduce man to a technical animal, the king of the slaves of technique. Human caprice crumbles before this necessity; there can be no human autonomy in the face of technical autonomy. The individual must be fashioned by techniques, either negatively (by the techniques of understanding man) or positively (by the adaptation of man to the technical framework), in order to wipe out the blots his personal determination introduces into the perfect design of the organization.
- Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society (1964), p. 138
- When we become conscious of that which determines our life we attain the highest degree of freedom.
- Jacques Ellul, The Betrayal by Technology (1993)
- The only difference as compared with the old, outspoken slavery is this, that the worker of today seems to be free because he is not sold once for all, but piecemeal by the day, the week, the year, and because no one owner sells him to another, but he is forced to sell himself in this way instead, being the slave of no particular person, but of the whole property-holding class.
- Friedrich Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845)
- Freedom does not consist in any dreamt-of independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives of systematically making them work towards definite ends.
- The Age of Empty Freedom ... does not know that man must first through labour, industry, and art, learn how to know; but it has a certain fixed standard for all conceptions, and an established Common Sense of Mankind always ready and at hand, innate within itself and there present without trouble on its part;—and those conceptions and this Common Sense are to it the measure of the efficient and the real. It has this great advantage over the Age of Science, that it knows all things without having learned anything; and can pass judgment upon whatever comes before it at once and without hesitation,—without needing any preliminary evidence:—'That which I do not immediately comprehend by the conceptions which dwell within me, is nothing,'—says Empty Freedom.
- Johann Gottlieb Fichte, The Characteristics of the Present Age (1806), as translated by William Smith (1847), p. 20
- The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.
- The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country. He will ask rather "What can I and my compatriots do through government" to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom? And he will accompany this question with another: How can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect? Freedom is a rare and delicate plant. Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp.
- Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (1962), Introduction
- Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men. The fundamental threat to freedom is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority. The preservation of freedom requires the elimination of such concentration of power to the fullest possible extent and the dispersal and distribution of whatever power cannot be eliminated — a system of checks and balances.
- Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (1962), Ch. 1 "The Relation Between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom"
- O, we all long for the day, the blessed day, when freedom shall at least be co-extensive with Christendom.
- Henry Giles, as quoted in Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 379
- The ideas of freedom and equality which come to the fore in bourgeois society cannot be taken at their “face value,” as directly summing up social reality; on the contrary, the legal freedoms which exist in bourgeois society actually serve to legitimize the reality of contractual obligations in which propertyless wage-labor is heavily disadvantaged as compared to the owners of capital.
- Anthony Giddens, Capitalism and Modern Social Theory (1971), p. 41
- Niemand ist mehr Sklave, als der sich für frei hält, ohne es zu sein.
- None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Bk. II, Ch. 5; source: Die Wahlverwandtschaften, Hamburger Ausgabe, Bd. 6 (Romane und Novellen I), dtv Verlag, München, 1982, p. 397 (II.5)
- Para evolucionar es preciso ser libre y no podemos tener libertad si no somos rebeldes, porque nunca tirano alguno ha respetado a los pueblos pasivos.
- I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.
- Friedrich Hayek, Economic Freedom and Representative Government (1973)
- A society that does not recognise that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom.
- Friedrich Hayek, as quoted in The Market : Ethics, Knowledge, and Politics (1998) by John O'Neill, p. 68
- Our faith in freedom does not rest on the foreseeable results in particular circumstances, but on the belief that it will, on balance, release more forces for the good than for the bad … Freedom granted only when it is known beforehand that its effects will be beneficial is not freedom.
- Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (1960)
- Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one's government is not necessarily to secure freedom.
- Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (1960)
- The case for individual freedom rests chiefly on the recognition of the inevitable and universal ignorance of all of us concerning a great many of the factors on which the achievement of our ends and welfare depend.
- Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (1960), p. 29
- You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.
- Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1973)
- The opposite of freedom is not determinism, but hardness of heart. Freedom presupposes openness of heart, of mind, of eye and ear.
- Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets (1962), Volume 1, p. 191
- Freedom is not a natural disposition, but God's precious gift to man. Those in whom viciousness becomes second-nature, those in whom brutality is linked with haughtiness, forfeit their ability and therefore their right to receive that gift. Hardening of the heart is the suspension of freedom.
- Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets (1962), Volume 1, p. 191
- The significant point is that people unfit for freedom — who cannot do much with it — are hungry for power. The desire for freedom is an attribute of a "have" type of self. It says: leave me alone and I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities.
- Eric Hoffer, Working and Thinking on the Waterfront : A Journal: June 1958-May 1959 (1969), Journal entry (28 March 1959)
- Freedom gives us a chance to realize our human and individual uniqueness.
- Eric Hoffer, Working and Thinking on the Waterfront : A Journal: June 1958-May 1959 (1969), Journal entry (28 March 1959)
- Those who lack the capacity to achieve much in an atmosphere of freedom will clamor for power.
- The ‘normal’ woman knows that, given freedom and equality before the law, she can be trusted to safeguard her own interests as wife, mother, daughter, or what you will.
- Winifred Holtby, "Black Words for Women Only" (1934), in Paul Berry and Alan Bishop, Testament of a Generation: The Journalism of Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby, London : Virago, 1985. Also quoted in Patrick Deane, History in Our Hands : A Critical Anthology of Writings on Literature, Culture and Politics from the 1930s, Leicester University Press, 1998.
- Freedom cannot be bestowed — it must be achieved.
- The most effective way of gaining our freedom is not through violence.
- If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
- I think that freedom means being able to do what you want without harming others... Freedom isn't something given by the government. I think it is a God-given right, and you are born with this right as a human being... I only had a vague understanding of what freedom meant when I was back in North Korea... When I thought about freedom or rights, I thought it was a concept that was given under the great leader. Everything was subordinate to the great leader of North Korea.
- Once the truth is denied to human beings, it is pure illusion to try to set them free. Truth and freedom either go together hand in hand or together they perish in misery.
- No one can flatter himself that he is immune to the spirit of his own epoch, or even that he possesses a full understanding of it. Irrespective of our conscious convictions, each one of us, without exception, being a particle of the general mass, is somewhere attached to, colored by, or even undermined by the spirit which goes through the mass. Freedom stretches only as far as the limits of our consciousness.
- “Do you feel free?”
“I feel like I've lost too much.”
“Freedom can feel that way.”
- Freedom is the alone unoriginated birthright of man, and belongs to him by force of his humanity; and is independence on the will and co-action of every other in so far as this consists with every other person’s freedom.
- Free, yes, but freedom well understood.
- How does the light of a star set out and plunge into black eternity in its immortal course? The star dies, but the light never dies; such also is the cry of freedom.
- Nikos Kazantzakis, The Saviors of God (1923), Ασκητική. Salvatores dei [Ascesis : The Saviors of God] (1923). written in 1923; Published in English as The Saviors of God : Spiritual Exercises (1960) as translated by Kimon Friar; Excerpts later published in The Rock Garden : A Novel (1963), chapter The Action: The Relationship Between Man and Man
- The gentlest and most insidious way we are dominated by the body politic is by the official versions of the good life that are implicit in advertising and propaganda. Happiness is a new car, a color TV—fill in the gap with your own “freely chosen” artificially stimulated desire.
- Sam Keen, The Passionate Life (1992), p. 102
- The great revolution in the history of man, past, present and future, is the revolution of those determined to be free.
- John F. Kennedy: "Message to Chairman Khrushchev Concerning the Meaning of Events in Cuba," April 18, 1961. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project
- Conformity is the jailor of freedom.
- The basis of self-government and freedom requires the development of character and self-restraint and perseverance and the long view. And these are qualities which require many years of training and education.
- For to save mankind's future freedom, we must face up to any risk that is necessary.
- While we shall negotiate freely, we shall not negotiate freedom.
- Our goal is not victory of might but the vindication of right — not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this hemisphere and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.
- While we shall never weary in the defense of freedom, neither shall we ever abandon the pursuit of peace.
- Only an educated and informed people will be a free people.
- This Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.
- Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.
- The absence of freedom is the presence of death. 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.
- I say to you that our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be as a people, our destiny is tied up in the destiny of America.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., in "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution" (31 March 1968)
- Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation. That is what we have not taught young people, or older ones for that matter. You finally win a state of freedom that is protected forever. It doesn't work that way.
- Coretta Scott King, My Life with Martin Luther King Jr. (1969), p. xiii
- There are two freedoms — the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where a man is free to do what he ought.
- Charles Kingsley, as quoted in Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 377
- I wanted to be free. I wanted to express desires on my own, to shape my own little life.
- Alexandra Kollontai, The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman (1926), translated by Salvator Attansio, Herder and Herder, 1971.
- What universities are saying by these codes, special protections, and double standards — to women, to blacks, to Hispanics, to gay and lesbian students — is, "You are too weak to live with freedom. You are too weak to live with the First Amendment." If someone tells you you are too weak to live with freedom, they have turned you into a child.
- Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose
Nothing ain't worth nothing but it's free
- While the State exists, there can be no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no State.
- Vladimir Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917), Ch. 5
- Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave-owners.
- Vladimir Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917), Ch. 5
- If there breathe on earth a slave,
Are ye truly free and brave?
If ye do not feel the chain,
When it works a brother's pain,
Are ye not base slaves indeed,
Slaves unworthy to be freed?
- James Russell Lowell, in "Stanzas on Freedom" (1843)
- Is true Freedom but to break
Fetters for our own dear sake,
And, with leathern hearts, forget
That we owe mankind a debt?
No! true freedom is to share
All the chains our brothers wear,
And, with heart and hand, to be
Earnest to make others free!
- James Russell Lowell, in "Stanzas on Freedom" (1843)
- The first freedom is freedom from sin.
- Martin Luther, as quoted in Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 377
- It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.
When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both. Some say that has now been achieved. But I know that that is not the case. The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For 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. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.
- Freedom is a more complex and delicate thing than force. It is not as simple to live under as force is.
- La libertad es como la mañana. Hay quienes esperan dormidos a que llegue, pero hay quienes desvelan y caminan la noche para alcanzarla.
- If the individual were no longer compelled to prove himself on the market, as a free economic subject, the disappearance of this kind of freedom would be one of the greatest achievements of civilization. The technological processes of mechanization and standardization might release individual energy into a yet uncharted realm of freedom beyond necessity. The very structure of human existence would be altered; the individual would be liberated from the work world's imposing upon him alien needs and alien possibilities. The individual would be free to exert autonomy over a life that would be his own.
- Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man (1964), p. 2
- Non bene, crede mihi, servo servitur amico;
Sit liber, dominus qui volet esse meus.
- Service cannot be expected from a friend in service; let him be a freeman who wishes to be my master.
- Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), II. 32. 7
- The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, ... has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
- Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, I
- If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.
- W. Somerset Maugham, Strictly Personal, Chapter 31 (1941)
- You know, there are two good things in life, freedom of thought and freedom of action.
- Freedom's just another word for one more way to get fucked.
- Freedom is man's capacity to take a hand in his own development. It is our capacity to mold ourselves.
- Rollo May, Man's Search for Himself (1953), p. 138
- Freedom means self-fulfillment. It also means putting up with other people's irritating pursuit of the same. It means being confronted by disturbing images and ideas.
- Coercion is natural; freedom is artificial. Freedoms are socially engineered spaces where parties engaged in specified pursuits enjoy protection from parties who would otherwise naturally seek to interfere in those pursuits. One person's freedom is therefore always another person's restriction: we would not have even the concept of freedom if the reality of coercion were not always present. We think of freedom as a right, and therefore the opposite of a rule, but a right is a rule. It is a prohibition against sanctions on certain types of behavior. We also think of rights as privileges retained by individuals against the rest of society, but rights are created not for the good of individuals, but for the good of society. Individual freedoms are manufactured to achieve group ends.
- I believe in only one thing and that thing is human liberty. If ever a man is to achieve anything like dignity, it can happen only if superior men are given absolute freedom to think what they want to think and say what they want to say. I am against any man and any organization which seeks to limit or deny that freedom … the superior man can be sure of freedom only if it is given to all men.
- H. L. Mencken, as quoted in Letters of H. L. Mencken (1961) edited by Guy J. Forgue, p. xiii
- Hope of attaining true freedom by purely political means has become an insane delusion ... The solution is love as the highest expression of man's spirituality and freedom.
- Thomas Merton in Disputed Questions (1960)
- None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license.
- John Milton, Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649)
- Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
- Freedom is not license but responsibility.
- Bill Moyers, "For America's Sake" speech (12 December 2006), as quoted in Moyers on Democracy (2008), p. 21
- Freedom became one of the beacon lights of my life and it has remained so ever since. Freedom with the passing of years transcended the mere freedom of my country and embraced freedom of man everywhere and from every sort of trammel—above all, it meant freedom of the human personality, freedom of the mind, freedom of the spirit. This freedom has become the passion of my life and I shall not see it compromised for bread, for security, for prosperity, for the glory of the state or for anything else.
- Life without freedom is death.
- Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, as quoted in "Tổng thống Nguyễn Văn Thiệu: 'Sống mà không có tự do là chết", Nguoi Viet.
- Original Vietnamese quote: Sống mà không có tự do là chết
- I will make an attempt to attain freedom, the youthful soul says to itself; and is it to be hindered in this by the fact that two nations happen to hate and fight one another, or that two continents are separated by an ocean, or that all around it a religion is taught which did not yet exist a couple of thousand years ago. All that is not you, it says to itself. No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, “Schopenhauer as educator,” § 3.1, R. Hollingdale, trans. (1983), pp. 128-129
- The leaders and scholars of Jesus’ time had first enslaved themselves to the law. This not only enhanced their prestige in society, it also gave them a sense of security. Man fears the responsibility of being free. It is often easier to let others make the decisions or to rely upon the letter of the law. Some men want to be slaves.
After enslaving themselves to the letter of the law, such men always go on to deny freedom to others. They will not rest until they have imposed the same oppressive burdens upon everyone (Matt 23:4,15).
- Albert Nolan, Jesus Before Christianity: The Gospel of Liberation (1976), p. 71
- Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.
- The philosophy of anarchism is included in the word "Liberty"; yet it is comprehensive enough to include all things else that are conducive to progress. No barriers whatever to human progression, to thought, or investigation are placed by anarchism; nothing is considered so true or so certain, that future discoveries may not prove it false; therefore, it has but one infallible, unchangeable motto, "Freedom." Freedom to discover any truth, freedom to develop, to live naturally and fully.
- Lucy Parsons, The Principles of Anarchism (c. 1890)
- Jehovah is the Spirit, and where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.
- You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Since God could have created a freedom in which there could be no evil (i.e., a state when men were happy and free and certain not to sin), it follows that He wished evil to exist. But evil offends Him. A commonplace case of masochism.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1938-05-13
- Those in whom anger or desire or any other passion, or again any insidious vice holds sway, are entirely enslaved, while all whose life is regulated by law are free. And right reason is an infallible law engraved not by this mortal or that and, therefore, perishable as he, nor on parchment slabs, and, therefore, soulless as they, but by immortal nature on the immortal mind, never to perish.
- Philo, Every Good Man is Free, 45
- Diogenes the cynic, seeing one of the so-called freedmen pluming himself, while many heartily congratulated him, marveled at the absence of reason and discernment. “A man might as well,” he said, “proclaim that one of his servants became a grammarian, a geometrician, or musician, when he has no idea whatever of the art.” For as the proclamation cannot make them men of knowledge, so neither can it make them free.
- Philo, Every Good Man is Free, 157
- Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
- Although I consider our political world to be the best of which we have any historical knowledge, we should beware of attributing this fact to democracy or to freedom. Freedom is not a supplier who delivers goods to our door. Democracy does not ensure that anything is accomplished — certainly not an economic miracle. It is wrong and dangerous to extol freedom by telling people that they will certainly be all right once they are free. How someone fares in life is largely a matter of luck or grace, and to a comparatively small degree perhaps also of competence, diligence, and other virtues. The most we can say of democracy or freedom is that they give our personal abilities a little more influence on our well-being.
- Karl Popper in "On Freedom" (1958)
- It is wrong to think that belief in freedom always leads to victory; we must always be prepared for it to lead to defeat. If we choose freedom, then we must be prepared to perish along with it. Poland fought for freedom as no other country did. The Czech nation was prepared to fight for its freedom in 1938; it was not lack of courage that sealed its fate. The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 — the work of young people with nothing to lose but their chains — triumphed and then ended in failure. … Democracy and freedom do not guarantee the millennium. No, we do not choose political freedom because it promises us this or that. We choose it because it makes possible the only dignified form of human coexistence, the only form in which we can be fully responsible for ourselves. Whether we realize its possibilities depends on all kinds of things — and above all on ourselves.
- Karl Popper in On Freedom, (1958)
- We must plan for freedom, and not only for security, if for no other reason than only freedom can make security more secure.
- The great comprehensive truths, written on every page of our history, are these: Human happiness has no perfect security but freedom; freedom none but virtue; virtue none but knowledge; and neither freedom nor virtue has any vigor or immortal hope,except in the principles of the Christian faith, and in the sanctions of the Christian religion.
- Josiah Quincy, as quoted in Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 378
- Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
- Ronald Reagan, in an address to the annual meeting of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (30 March 1961)
- Man's right to know, to learn, to inquire, to make bona fide errors, to investigate human emotions must, by all means, be safe, if the word FREEDOM should ever be more than an empty political slogan.
- Only freedom can inspire men to great things and bring about social and political transformations. The art of ruling men has never been the art of educating men and inspiring them to a new shaping of their lives. Dreary compulsion has at its command only lifeless drill, which smothers any vital initiative at its birth and can bring forth only subjects, not free men. Freedom is the very essence of life, the impelling force in all intellectual and social development, the creator of every new outlook for the future of mankind., Ch. 1 "Anarchism: Its Aims and Purposes"
- Rudolf Rocker, Anarcho-Syndicalism (1938)
- "Anxiety," Kierkegaard said, "is the dizziness of freedom." This freedom of which men speak, for which they fight, seems to some people a perilous thing. It has to be earned at the bitter cost and then — it has to be live with. For freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.
- Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living (1960). p. 152
- Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.
- I worship freedom; I abhor restraint, trouble, dependence. As long as the money in my purse lasts, it assures my independence; it relieves me of the trouble of finding expedients to replenish it, a necessity which has always inspired me with dread; but the fear of seeing it exhausted makes me hoard it carefully. The money which a man possesses is the instrument of freedom; that which we eagerly pursue is the instrument of slavery. Therefore I hold fast to that which I have, and desire nothing.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Confessions (Wordsworth: 1996), p. 35
- A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free. Constraint is always present in society, like a companion of whom there is no riddance; and in proportion to the greatness of a man’s individuality, it will be hard for him to bear the sacrifices which all intercourse with others demands.
- Arthur Schopenhauer, Counsels and Maxims, T. B. Saunders, trans., § 9
- When the mind's free,
The body's delicate.
- In a free society, freedom will frequently be used badly. Freedom, by definition, includes the freedom to do good or evil, to act nobly or basely. But if freedom brings out the worst in people, it also brings out the best.
- Dinesh D'Souza, "10 things to celebrate: Why I'm an anti-anti-American" (29 June 2003), SFGate
- Liberty is more precious than money or office; and we should be vigilant lest we purchase wealth or place at the price of inner freedom.
- John Lancaster Spalding, Aphorisms and Reflections (1901), p. 77
- Der Wille zur Macht in rein demokratischer Verkleidung hat sein Meisterstück damit vollendet, daß dem Freiheitsgefühl der Objekte mit der vollkommensten Knechtung, die es je gegeben hat, sogar noch geschmeichelt wird.
- The will-to-power operating under a pure democratic disguise has finished off its masterpiece so well that the object's sense of freedom is actually flattered by the most thorough-going enslavement that has ever existed.
- Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West (1918, 1923), Vol. II, Alfred A. Knopf, 1928, p. 461
- Men believe themselves to be free, simply because they are conscious of their actions, and unconscious of the causes whereby those actions are determined.
- Spinoza, Ethics, Part 3, Prop. 2, Note (Dover 1955 p. 134)
- Without security, civilization is cramped and dwarfed. Without security, there can be no freedom. Nor shall I say too much, when I declare that security, guarded of course by its offspring, freedom, is the true end and aim of government.
- Freedom for the pike is death for the minnows.
- R. H. Tawney, Equality (London: 1938), Chapter 5, Section 2, p. 208
- A poet must be able to claim … freedom to follow the vision of poetry, the imaginative vision of poetry.
- R. S. Thomas, in "R. S. Thomas : Priest and Poet" (BBC TV, 2 April 1972)
- Perhaps I am more than usually jealous with respect to my freedom. I feel that my connection with and obligation to society are still very slight and transient. Those slight labors which afford me a livelihood, and by which it is allowed that I am to some extent serviceable to my contemporaries, are as yet commonly a pleasure to me, and I am not often reminded that they are a necessity. So far I am successful. But I foresee that if my wants should be much increased, the labor required to supply them would become a drudgery. If I should sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for. I trust that I shall never thus sell my birthright for a mess of pottage. I wish to suggest that a man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.
- Henry David Thoreau, “Life without Principle,” 1.12
- To be free of time is to be free of the psychological need of past for your identity and future for your fulfillment.
- Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
- Pro libertate
- If man were not free, then he could not conceive of causality at all, and could not form any concept of it. Insight into lawfulness is already freedom from it.
- Otto Weininger, Collected Aphorisms
- Give a man a free hand and he'll try to put it all over you.
- Mae West, as "Frisco Doll" in Klondike Annie
- There is no governor anywhere; you are all absolutely free. There is no restraint that cannot be escaped. We are all absolutely free. If everybody could go into dhyana at will, nobody could be controlled — by fear of prison, by fear of whips or electroshock, by fear of death, even. All existing society is based on keeping those fears alive, to control the masses. Ten people who know would be more dangerous than a million armed anarchists.
- If you're not ready to die for it, take the word "freedom" out of your vocabulary.
- Malcolm X, Chicago Defender (28 November 1962)
- If this is a country of freedom, let it be a country of freedom; and if it's not a country of freedom, change it.
- People are fed up with the dillydallying, pussyfooting, compromising approach that we've been using toward getting our freedom. We want freedom now, but we're not going to get it saying 'We Shall Overcome'. We've got to fight until we overcome.
- Stop singing and start swinging. You can't sing up on freedom, but you can swing up on some freedom. Cassius Clay can sing, but singing didn't help him to become the heavyweight champion of the world; swinging helped him become the heavyweight champion.
- 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 (31 December 1964)
- 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, (1965), p. 111
- You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.
- Malcolm X, Malcolm X Speaks, (1965), p. 148
- We don't appreciate what we have until it's gone. Freedom is like that. It's like air. When you have it, you don't notice it.
- Boris Yeltsin, as quoted in The 100 Greatest Heroes (2003) p. 60 by Harry Paul Jeffers
- True freedom is not a freedom of choice made from a safe distance, like choosing between a strawberry cake or a chocolate cake; true freedom overlaps with necessity, one makes a truly free choice when one's choice puts at stake one's very existence — one does it because one simply "cannot do it otherwise."
- Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
Mother earth will swallow you
Lay your body down
- I'M FREE! — I'm free,
And freedom tastes of reality,
I'm free — I'm free,
An' I'm waiting for you to follow me.
- Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me
- Believe in all the good things you keep inside
There is no freedom in life without freedom of mind.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 294-96.
- Freedom all solace to man gives:
He lives at ease that freely lives.
- John Barbour, The Bruce, Book I. 225
- Whose service is perfect freedom.
- Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Peace
- …for righteous monarchs,
Justly to judge, with their own eyes should see;
To rule o'er freemen, should themselves be free.
- Henry Brooke, Earl of Essex, Act I
- Here the free spirit of mankind, at length,
Throws its last fetters off; and who shall place
A limit to the giant's unchained strength,
Or curb his swiftness in the forward race?
- William Cullen Bryant, The Ages, XXXIII
- Sound the loud timbrel o'er Egypt's dark sea!
Jehovah hath triumphed—his people are free.
- Lord Byron, Sacred Songs, Sound the loud Timbrel
- Hope for a season bade the world farewell,
And Freedom shrieked as Kosciusko fell!
* * * * * *
O'er Prague's proud arch the fires of ruin glow.
- Thomas Campbell, Pleasures of Hope, line 381
- England may as well dam up the waters of the Nile with bulrushes as to fetter the step of Freedom, more proud and firm in this youthful land than where she treads the sequestered glens of Scotland, or couches herself among the magnificent mountains of Switzerland.
- Lydia Maria Child, Supposititious Speech of James Otis, The Rebels, Chapter IV
- Nulla enim minantis auctoritas apud liberos est.
- To freemen, threats are impotent.
- Cicero, Epistles, XI. 3
- O what a loud and fearful shriek was there!
Ah me! they view'd beneath an hireling's sword
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sonnet
- No, Freedom has a thousand charms to show
That slaves, howe'er contented, never know.
- William Cowper, Table Talk, line 260
- I want free life, and I want fresh air;
And I sigh for the canter after the cattle,
The crack of the whip like shots in battle,
The medley of horns, and hoofs, and heads
That wars, and wrangles, and scatters and spreads;
The green beneath and the blue above,
And dash, and danger, and life and love.
- Frank Desprez, Lasca
- 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, Conquest of Granada, Act I, scene 1
- My angel,—his name is Freedom,—
Choose him to be your king;
He shall cut pathways east and west,
And fend you with his wing.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Boston Hymn
- We grant no dukedoms to the few,
We hold like rights and shall;
Equal on Sunday in the pew,
On Monday in the mall.
For what avail the plough or sail,
Or land, or life, if freedom fail?
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Boston, Stanza 5
- I gave my life for freedom—This I know;
For those who bade me fight had told me so.
- W. N. Ewer, Five Souls
- Bred in the lap of Republican Freedom.
- Godwin, Enquirer, II, XII. 402
- Yes! to this thought I hold with firm persistence;
The last result of wisdom stamps it true;
He only earns his freedom and existence
Who daily conquers them anew.
- Frei athmen macht das Leben nicht allein.
- Merely to breathe freely does not mean to live.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Iphigenia auf Tauris, I. 2. 54
- Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod,
They have left unstained, what there they found,—
Freedom to worship God.
- Felicia Hemans, Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers
- Quisnam igitur liber? Sapiens, sibi qui imperiosus;
Quem neque pauperies, neque mors, neque vincula terrent
Responsare cupidinibus, contemnere honores
Fortis; et in se ipso totus, teres atque rotundus.
- Who then is free? the wise man who is lord over himself;
Whom neither poverty nor death, nor chains alarm; strong to withstand his passions and despise honors, and who is completely finished and rounded off in himself.
- Horace, Satires, Book II, VII. 83
- Who then is free? the wise man who is lord over himself;
- In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me;
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
- Julia Ward Howe, Battle Hymn of the Republic
- One should never put on one's best trousers to go out to fight for freedom.
- Henrik Ibsen, Enemy of the People
- All we have of freedom—all we use or know—
This our fathers bought for us, long and long ago.
- Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue
- The Confederacy stands for slavery and the Union for freedom.
- …That this nation, under God shall have a new birth of freedom.
- Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
- I intend no modification of my oft-expressed wish that all men everywhere could be free.
- Abraham Lincoln, letter to Horace Greeley. Aug. 22, 1862. See Raymond's History of Lincoln's Administration
- Freedom needs all her poets; it is they
Who give her aspirations wings,
And to the wiser law of music sway
Her wild imaginings.
- James Russell Lowell, Memorial Verses, To the Memory of Hood, Stanza 4
- Freiheit ist immer Freiheit der Andersdenkenden
- Freedom is always the freedom of dissenters.
- Rosa Luxemburg, Sources: Die russische Revolution. Eine kritische Würdigung, Berlin 1920 p. 109 and in Rosa Luxemburg - Gesammelte Werke Vol. 4, p. 359, Footnote 3, Dietz Verlag Berlin (Ost), 1983
- Variant: "Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently."
- Without general elections, without freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, without the free battle of opinions, life in every public institution withers away, becomes a caricature of itself, and bureaucracy rises as the only deciding factor.
- Rosa Luxemburg, Reported in Paul Froelich, Die Russiche Revolution (1940)
- Quicquid multis peccatur, inultum est.
- All go free when multitudes offend.
- Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, V. 260
- They can only set free men free…
And there is no need of that:
Free men set themselves free.
- James Oppenheim, The Slave
- An quisquam est alius liber, nisi ducere vitam
Cui licet, ut voluit?
- Is any man free except the one who can pass his life as he pleases?
- Persius, Satires, V. 83
- Oh! let me live my own, and die so too!
(To live and die is all I have to do:)
Maintain a poet's dignity and ease,
And see what friends, and read what books I please.
- Alexander Pope, Prologue to Satires, line 261
- Blandishments will not fascinate us, nor will threats of a "halter" intimidate. For, under God, we are determined that wheresoever, whensoever, or howsoever we shall be called to make our exit, we will die free men.
- Josiah Quincey, Observations on the Boston Port Bill (1774)
- Free soil, free men, free speech, Fremont.
- Republican Rallying Cry (1856)
- O, nur eine freie Seele wird nicht alt.
- Oh, only a free soul will never grow old!
- Jean Paul Richter, Titan, Zykel 140
- Freiheit ist nur in dem Reich der Träume
Und das Schöne blüht nur im Gesang.
- Freedom is only in the land of dreams, and the beautiful only blooms in song.
- Friedrich Schiller, The Beginning of the New Century, Stanza 9
- Der Mensch ist frei geschaffen, ist frei
Und würd' er in Ketten geboren.
- Man is created free, and is free, even though born in chains.
- Friedrich Schiller, Die Worte des Glaubens, Stanza 2
- Nemo liber est, qui corpori servit.
- No man is free who is a slave to the flesh.
- Seneca the Younger, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, XCII
- The last link is broken
That bound me to thee,
And the words thou hast spoken
Have render'd me free.
- Fanny Steers, Song
- Rara temporum felicitate, ubi sentire quæ velis, et quæ sentias dicere licet.
- Such being the happiness of the times, that you may think as you wish, and speak as you think.
- Tacitus, Annales, I. 1
- Of old sat Freedom on the heights
The thunders breaking at her feet:
Above her shook the starry lights;
She heard the torrents meet.
- Alfred Tennyson, Of old sat Freedom
- Red of the Dawn
Is it turning a fainter red? so be it, but when shall we lay
The ghost of the Brute that is walking and hammering us yet and be free?
- Alfred Tennyson, The Dawn
- The nations lift their right hands up and swear
Their oath of freedom.
- John Greenleaf Whittier, Garibaldi
- Freedom exists only where the people take care of the government.
- Woodrow Wilson, at the Workingman's Dinner, N. Y. (Sept. 4, 1912)
- Our object now, as then, is to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic power, and to set up among the really free and self-governed peoples of the world such a concert of purpose and of action as will henceforth insure the observance of those principles.
- Woodrow Wilson, address to Congress. (War with Germany being declared.) April 2, 1917
- Only free peoples can hold their purpose and their honor steady to a common end, and prefer the interests of mankind to any narrow interest of their own.
- Woodrow Wilson, address to Congress. (War with Germany being declared.) April 2, 1917
- How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold?
Because the lovely little flower is free
Down to its root, and in that freedom, bold.
- William Wordsworth, A Poet! He hath put his Heart to School
- We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held.
- William Wordsworth, Sonnets to National Independence and Liberty, Part XVI
Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)
- Modern life means democracy, democracy means freeing intelligence for independent effectiveness—the emancipation of mind as an individual organ to do its own work. We naturally associate democracy, to be sure, with freedom of action, but freedom of action without freed capacity of thought behind it is only chaos.
- John Dewey, "Democracy in Education," John Dewey, The Middle Works, 1899–1924, ed. Jo Ann Boydston, vol. 3, p. 229 (1977). First published in The Elementary School Teacher, December 1903
- But we know that freedom cannot be served by the devices of the tyrant. As it is an ancient truth that freedom cannot be legislated into existence, so it is no less obvious that freedom cannot be censored into existence. And any who act as if freedom's defenses are to be found in suppression and suspicion and fear confess a doctrine that is alien to America.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, letter on intellectual freedom to Dr. Robert B. Downs, president of the American Library Association, June 24, 1953. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953, p. 456
- For what avail the plough or sail,
Or land or life, if freedom fail?
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Boston," stanza 15, The Complete Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol. 2, p. 897 (1929). These words were also inscribed on a plaque in the stairwell of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty
- You can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?
- Khalil Gibran, "On Laws," final sentence, The Prophet, p. 46 (1968)
- What the people wanted was a government which would provide a comfortable life for them, and with this as the foremost object ideas of freedom and self-reliance and service to the community were obscured to the point of disappearing. Athens was more and more looked on as a co-operative business possessed of great wealth in which all citizens had a right to share…. Athens had reached the point of rejecting independence, and the freedom she now wanted was freedom from responsibility. There could be only one result…. If men insisted on being free from the burden of a life that was self-dependent and also responsible for the common good, they would cease to be free at all. Responsibility was the price every man must pay for freedom. It was to be had on no other terms.
- Edith Hamilton, The Echo of Greece, chapter 2, p. 47 (1957)
- The greatest Glory of a free-born People,Is to transmit that Freedom to their Children.
- William Harvard, "Regulus, a Tragedy," act IV, scene iv. Francis Longe, Collection of Plays, vol. 35, no. 2, p. 59 (1744). Regulus is speaking
- When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.
- Charles Evans Hughes, address at Faneuil Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1925. Hughes Papers, Library of Congress
- A man's worst difficulties begin when he is able to do as he likes.
- Thomas Henry Huxley, address on university education, delivered at the formal opening of The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, September 12, 1876. Science and Education (vol. 3 of Collected Essays), p. 236 (1898, reprinted 1968)
- This is a world of compensation; and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.
- Abraham Lincoln, letter to H. L. Pierce and others, April 6, 1859. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Roy P. Basler, vol. 3, p. 375 (1953)
- The maxims are, first, that the individual is not accountable to society for his actions, in so far as these concern the interests of no person but himself. Advice, instruction, persuasion, and avoidance by other people if thought necessary by them for their own good, are the only measures by which society can justifiably express its dislike or disapprobation of his conduct. Secondly, that for such actions as are prejudicial to the interests of others, the individual is accountable, and may be subjected either to social or to legal punishment, if society is of opinion that the one or the other is requisite for its protection.
- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859); republished in David Spitz, ed. (1975), chapter 5, p. 87
- The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.
- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859); republished in David Spitz, ed. (1975), chapter 1, p. 14
- The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence, is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859); republished in David Spitz, ed. (1975), chapter 1, p. 11
- There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence: and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism.
- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859); republished in David Spitz, ed. (1975), chapter 1, p. 6
- If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own. If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free. If in other lands the eternal truths of the past are threatened by intolerance we must provide a safe place for their perpetuation.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, address to the National Education Association, New York City, June 30, 1938. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1938, p. 418 (1941)
- In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, State of the Union message to the Congress, January 6, 1941. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1940, p. 672 (1941). A plaque in the stairwell of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty is inscribed: "Liberty is the air America breathes…. In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential freedoms … freedom of speech and expression … freedom of worship … freedom from want … freedom from fear."
- What would you have me do?
Search out some powerful patronage, and be
Like crawling ivy clinging to a tree?
No thank you. Dedicate, like all the others,
Verses to plutocrats, while caution smothers
Whatever might offend my lord and master?
No thank you. Kneel until my knee-caps fester,
Bend my back until I crack my spine,
And scratch another's back if he'll scratch mine?
No thank you. Dining out to curry favour,
Meeting the influential till I slaver,
Suiting my style to what the critics want
With slavish copy of the latest cant?
No thanks! Ready to jump through any hoop
To be the great man of a little group?
Be blown off course, with madrigals for sails,
By the old women sighing through their veils?
Labouring to write a line of such good breeding
Its only fault is—that it's not worth reading?
To ingratiate myself, abject with fear,
And fawn and flatter to avoid a sneer?
No thanks, no thanks, no thanks! But … just to sing,
Dream, laugh, and take my tilt of wing,
To cock a snook whenever I shall choose,
To fight for "yes" and "no", come win or lose,
To travel without thought of fame or fortune
Wherever I care to go to under the moon!
Never to write a line that hasn't come
Directly from my heart: and so, with some
Modesty, to tell myself: "My boy,
Be satisfied with a flower, a fruit, the joy
Of a single leaf, so long as it was grown
In your own garden. Then, if success is won
By any chance, you have nothing to render to
hollow Caesar: the merit belongs to you."
In short, I won't be a parasite; I'll be
My own intention, stand alone and free,
And suit my voice to what my own eyes see!
- Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, act II, trans. Christopher Fry (1975), p. 56–57. Originally published in 1897. This is Cyrano's declaration of independence
- Eastward I go only by force; but westward I go free.
- Henry David Thoreau, "Walking," Excursions, p. 266 (1894). The essay on walking was first published after Thoreau's death, in Atlantic Monthly, June 1862
- I must walk toward Oregon, and not toward Europe. And that way the nation is moving, and I may say that mankind progress from east to west…. We go eastward to realize history and study the works of art and literature, retracing the steps of the race; we go westward as into the future, with a spirit of enterprise and adventure.
- Henry David Thoreau, "Walking," Excursions, p. 267 (1894)
- To be what no one ever was,
To be what everyone has been:
Freedom is the mean of those
Extremes that fence all effort in.
- Mark Van Doren, "Freedom," Morning Worship and Other Poems (1960), p. 124
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
- Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
- The moment you accept God's ordering, that moment your work ceases to be a task, and becomes your calling; you pass from bondage to freedom, from the shadow-land of life into life itself.
- Henry Clay Trumbull, p. 378.
- Free society
- Freedom movement
- Freedom of assembly
- Freedom of religion
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of the press
- Free trade
- Free will