Quotes on Freedom

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. Elmer Davis Quote Details

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The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom and defended it as they ought. Samuel Adams Quote Details

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Driven from every other corner of the Earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience direct their courses to this happy country as their last asylum. Samuel Adams Quote Details

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We are so concerned to flatter the majority that we lose sight of how very often it is necessary, in order to preserve freedom for the minority, let alone for the individual, to face that majority down. William Buckley Jr. Quote Details

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Freedom is not a luxury that we can indulge in when at last we have security and prosperity and enlightenment; it is, rather, antecedent to all of these, for without it we can have neither security nor prosperity nor enlightenment. Henry Commager Quote Details

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We cannot choose freedom established on a hierarchy of degrees of freedom, on a caste system of equality like military rank. We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. William Faulkner Quote Details

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A society that puts equality - in the sense of equality of outcome - ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. Milton Friedman Quote Details

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There have existed, in every age and every country, two distinct orders of men - the lovers of freedom and the devoted advocates of power. Robert Hayne Quote Details

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Free speech does not live many hours after free industry and free commerce die. Herbert Hoover Quote Details

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The defense of freedom is finally grounded in an appreciation of its value. No government, no foreign policy, is more important to the defense of freedom than are the writers, teachers, communication specialists, researchers - whose responsibility it is to document, illustrate, and explain the human consequence of freedom and unfreedom. Jeane Kirkpatrick Quote Details

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Since the general civilization of mankind, 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 Quote Details

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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. William Somerset Maugham Quote Details

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The worst tyrants are those which establish themselves in our own breasts. William Channing Quote Details

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Once we roared like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security! The solution for America's problem is not in terms of big government, but it is in big men over whom nobody stands in control but God. Norman Vincent Peale Quote Details

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You can't be for big government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy. Ronald Wilson Reagan Quote Details

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The years ahead will be great ones for our country, for the cause of freedom and the spread of civilization. The West will not contain communism, it will transcend communism. We will not bother to denounce it. We'll dismiss it as a sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written. Ronald Wilson Reagan Quote Details

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I had a copy of the Soviet Constitution and I read it with great interest. And I saw all kinds of terms in there that sound just exactly like our own: "freedom of assembly" and "freedom of speech" and so forth. Of course, they don't allow them to have those things, but they're in there in the constitution. But I began to wonder about the other constitutions - everyone has one - and our own, and why so much emphasis on ours. And then I found out, and the answer was very simple - that's why you don't notice it at first. But it is so great that it tells the entire difference. All those other constitutions are documents that say, "We, the government, allow the people the following rights," and our Constitution says "We, the People, allow the government the following privileges and rights."

We give our permission to government to do the things that it does. And that's the whole story of the difference - why we're unique in the world and why no matter what our troubles may be, we're going to overcome.
Ronald Wilson Reagan Quote Details

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None of the four wars in my lifetime came about because we were too strong. It is weakness that invites adventurous adversaries to make mistaken judgments. America is the most peaceful, least warlike nation in modern history. We are not the cause of all the ills of the world. We're a patient and generous people. But for the sake of our freedom and that of others, we cannot permit our reserve to be confused with a lack of resolve. Ronald Wilson Reagan Quote Details

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The other day, someone told me the difference between a democracy and a "people's democracy." It's the same as the difference between a jacket and a straitjacket. Ronald Wilson Reagan Quote Details

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Families cannot prosper and keep America strong if government becomes a Goliath that preys upon their wealth, usurps their rights, and crushes their spirit. Ronald Wilson Reagan Quote Details

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We defend freedom here or it is gone. There is no place for us to run, only to make a stand. And if we fail, I think we face telling our children, and our children's children, what it was we found more precious than freedom. Because I am sure that someday - if we fail in this - there will be a generation that will ask. Ronald Wilson Reagan Quote Details

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As government expands, liberty contracts. Ronald Wilson Reagan Quote Details

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Free enterprise has done more to reduce poverty than all the government programs dreamed up by Democrats. Ronald Wilson Reagan Quote Details

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Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty. John Fitzgerald Kennedy Quote Details

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The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise. John Stuart Mill Quote Details

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People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. Soren Kierkegaard Quote Details

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When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other. Eric Hoffer Quote Details

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin Quote Details

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Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it. Malcolm X Quote Details

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Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another. Madonna Quote Details

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What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do. Bob Dylan Quote Details

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There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way. Christopher Morley Quote Details

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God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to guard and defend it. Daniel Webster Quote Details

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Posterity - you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. John Quincy Adams Quote Details

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Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear. Harry Truman Quote Details

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We have found that when men and women are left free to find the places for which they are best fitted, some few of them will indeed attain less exalted stations than under a regime of privilege; but the vast multitude will rise to a higher level, to wider horizons, to worthier attainments. Calvin Coolidge Quote Details

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The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power. Daniel Webster Quote Details

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In any given society, the authority of man over man runs in inverse proportion to the intellectual development of that society. Pierre Proudhon Quote Details

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He is free who knows how to keep in his own hands the power to decide, at each step, the course of his life, and who lives in a society which does not block the exercise of that power. Salvador de Madariaga Quote Details

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I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others. Thomas Jefferson Quote Details

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The history of liberty is the history of the limitations on the power of government. Woodrow Wilson Quote Details

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Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it. Abraham Lincoln Quote Details

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There is a price tag on human liberty. That price is the willingness to assume the responsibilities of being free men. Payment of this price is a personal matter with each of us. It is not something we can get others to pay for us. To let others carry the responsibilities of freedom and the work and worry that accompany them - while we share only in the benefits - may be a very human impulse, but it is likely to be fatal. Eugene Holman Quote Details

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A right, such as a right to free speech, imposes no obligation on another, except that of non-interference. The so-called right to health care, food or housing, whether a person can afford it or not, is something entirely different; it does impose an obligation on another. If one person has a right to something he didn't produce, simultaneously and of necessity it means that some other person does not have right to something he did produce. That's because, since there's no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, in order for government to give one American a dollar, it must, through intimidation, threats and coercion, confiscate that dollar from some other American. Walter E. Williams Quote Details

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I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. Thomas Jefferson Quote Details

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Prosperity comes from leaving people free in a legal system that respects their persons and property so they can pursue their dreams while taking responsibility for their actions. John Stossel Quote Details

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Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Patrick Henry Quote Details

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Give me liberty or give me death! Patrick Henry Quote Details

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Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. Thomas Paine Quote Details

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America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and moral fact - the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality. Adlai Stevenson Quote Details

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The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Samuel Adams Quote Details

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Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must understand the fatigue of supporting it. Thomas Paine Quote Details

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Real freedom is not freedom from, but freedom for. Robert Youngs Quote Details

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Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. George Bernard Shaw Quote Details

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The problem with freedom is that it is a two-sided coin. On one side is the liberty to make decisions; on the other is responsibility. Charley Reese Quote Details

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Government is necessary, but the only rights we can delegate to government are the ones we possess. For example, we all have a natural right to defend ourselves against predators. Since we possess that right, we can delegate authority to government to defend us. By contrast, we don't have a natural right to take the property of one person to give to another; therefore, we cannot legitimately delegate such authority to government. Walter E. Williams Quote Details

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Government officials, if given power to control us, soon become zealots. Walter E. Williams Quote Details

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A Bill of Rights that means what the majority wants it to mean is worthless. Antonin Scalia Quote Details

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A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular. Adlai Stevenson Quote Details

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A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. John Stuart Mill Quote Details

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Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. Benjamin Franklin Quote Details

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Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master. Gaius Crispus Quote Details

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God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Thomas Jefferson Quote Details

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Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. Daniel Webster Quote Details

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If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects something it cannot be. Thomas Jefferson Quote Details

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Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and, therefore, religious and spiritual influences; education, knowledge, well-being. Lord Acton Quote Details

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Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions and will receive praise or blame for them. F. A. Hayek Quote Details

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Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. William Pitt Quote Details

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

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The meaning of economic freedom is this: that the individual is in a position to choose the way in which he wants to integrate himself into the totality of society. Ludwig von Mises Quote Details

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Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth. George Washington Quote Details

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The true test of one's commitment to liberty and private property rights doesn't come when we permit people to be free to do those voluntary things with which we agree. The true test comes when we permit people to be free to do those voluntary things with which we disagree. Walter E. Williams Quote Details

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Statist society promises you happiness in exchange for the better part of your freedom. Civil society merely guarantees your freedom. Happiness is up to you. Theodore Forstmann Quote Details

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The truth is that no nation can be constantly prepared to undertake a full-scale war at any moment and still hope to maintain any of the other purposes in which people are interested and for which nations are founded.

In the first place, it requires a complete surrender of liberty and the turning over to the central government of power to control in detail the lives of the people and all of their activities.

While in time of war people are willing to surrender those liberties in order to protect the ultimate liberty of the entire country, they do so on the theory that it is a limited surrender and one which they hope will soon be over, perhaps within a few months, certainly within a few years. But an indefinite surrender of liberty such as would be required by an all-out war program in time of peace might mean the final and complete destruction of those liberties which it is the very purpose of the preparation to protect.
Robert Taft Quote Details

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Simply put, freedom is the absence of government coercion. Our Founding Fathers understood this, and created the least coercive government in the history of the world. The Constitution established a very limited, decentralized government to provide national defense and little else. States, not the federal government, were charged with protecting individuals against criminal force and fraud. For the first time, a government was created solely to protect the rights, liberties, and property of its citizens. Any government coercion beyond that necessary to secure those rights was forbidden, both through the Bill of Rights and the doctrine of strictly enumerated powers. This reflected the founders' belief that democratic government could be as tyrannical as any King.

Few Americans understand that all government action is inherently coercive. If nothing else, government action requires taxes. If taxes were freely paid, they wouldn't be called taxes, they'd be called donations. If we intend to use the word freedom in an honest way, we should have the simple integrity to give it real meaning: Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom for this group or that, ask yourself whether he is advocating more government action or less.
Ron Paul Quote Details

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The maintenance of a free society is a very difficult and complicated thing. And it requires a self denying ordinance of the most extreme kind. It requires a willingness to put up with temporary evils on the basis of the subtle and sophisticated understanding that if you step in to try to do something about them, you not only may make them worse, but you will spread your tentacles and get bad results elsewhere. Milton Friedman Quote Details

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People don't have rights to jobs and they don't have rights to medical care or rights to education. What you have is a right to your life. That's what you have. We're told that's not compassionate. But if you look at all of history you'll find out that the most uncompassionate system of all is socialism and welfarism. Ron Paul Quote Details

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And I honor the man who is willing to sink

Half his present repute for the freedom to think,

And, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak,

Will risk t' other half for the freedom to speak.
James Russell Lowell Quote Details

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Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. Viktor Frankl Quote Details

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To be free one needs constant and unrelenting vigilance over one's weaknesses. A vigilance which requires a moral energy most of us are incapable of manufacturing. We relax back into the moulds of habit. They are secure, they bind us and keep us contained at the expense of freedom. To break the moulds, to be heedless of the seductions of security is an impossible struggle, but one of the few that count. To be free is to learn, to test yourself constantly, to gamble. Robyn Davidson Quote Details

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Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast. Viktor Frankl Quote Details

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Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W's you control in your life: what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it. Timothy Ferriss Quote Details

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The most important element of a free society, where individual rights are held in the highest esteem, is the rejection of the initiation of violence. Ron Paul Quote Details

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The day that this country [America] ceases to be free for irreligion, it will cease to be free for religion. Justice Robert Jackson Quote Details

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Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature. Benjamin Franklin Quote Details

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No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders. Samuel Adams Quote Details

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Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries. Ayn Rand Quote Details

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Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. James Madison Quote Details

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It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men. Samuel Adams Quote Details

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God has implanted in mankind also all that is necessary to enable it to accomplish its destinies. There is a providential social physiology, as well as a providential human physiology. The social organs are constituted so as to enable them to develop harmoniously in the grand air of liberty. Away, then, with quacks and organizers! Away with their rings, and their chains, and their hooks, and their pincers! Away with their artificial methods! Away with their social laboratories, their governmental whims, their centralization, their tariffs, their universities, their State religions, their inflationary or monopolizing banks, their limitations, their restrictions, their moralizations, and their equalization by taxation! And now, after having vainly inflicted upon the social body so many systems, let them end where they ought to have begun - reject all systems, and try liberty - liberty, which is an act of faith in God and His work. Frederic Bastiat Quote Details

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How did it happen? How did our national government grow from a servant with sharply limited powers into a master with virtually unlimited power? In part, we were swindled. There are occasions when we have elevated men and political parties to power that promised to restore limited government and then proceeded, after their election, to expand the activities of government. But let us be honest with ourselves. Broken promises are not the major causes of our trouble. Kept promises are. All too often we have put men in office who have suggested spending a little more on this, a little more on that, who have proposed a new welfare program, who have thought of another variety of 'security.' We have taken the bait, preferring to put off to another day the recapture of freedom and the restoration of our constitutional system. We have gone the way of many a democratic society that has lost its freedom by persuading itself that if 'the people' rule, all is well. Barry Goldwater Quote Details

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A free government with arbitrary means to administer it is a contradiction; a free government without adequate provisions for personal security is an absurdity; a free government, with an uncontrolled power of military conscription, is a solecism, at once the most ridiculous and abominable that ever entered the head of man. Daniel Webster Quote Details

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The citizen is sovereign only when he can retain and enjoy the fruits of his labor. If the government has first claim on his property he must learn to genuflect before it. When the right of property is abrogated, all the other rights of the individual are undermined, and to speak of the sovereign citizen who has no absolute right of property is to talk nonsense. It is like saying that the slave is free because he is allowed to do anything he wants to do (even vote, if you wish) except to own what he produces. Frank Chodorov Quote Details

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Ours is not a fated existence, for nowhere is our destiny etched in stone. In the final analysis, the last line of defense in support of freedom and the Constitution consists of the people themselves. If the people want to be free, if they want to lift themselves out from underneath a state apparatus that threatens their liberties, squanders their resources on needless wars, destroys the value of their dollar, and spews forth endless propaganda about how indispensable it is and how lost we would all be without it, there is no force that can stop them. Ron Paul Quote Details

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Shame on the men who can court exemption from present trouble and expense at the price of their own posterity's liberty! Samuel Adams Quote Details

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If you're not ready to die for it, put the word 'freedom' out of your vocabulary. Malcolm X Quote Details

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Left-wing politicians take away your liberty in the name of children and of fighting poverty, while right-wing politicians do it in the name of family values and fighting drugs. Either way, government gets bigger and you become less free. Harry Brown Quote Details

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A mixed economy is a mixture of freedom and controls — with no principles, rules, or theories to define either. Since the introduction of controls necessitates and leads to further controls, it is an unstable, explosive mixture which, ultimately, has to repeal the controls or collapse into dictatorship. A mixed economy has no principles to define its policies, its goals, its laws — no principles to limit the power of its government. The only principle of a mixed economy — which, necessarily, has to remain unnamed and unacknowledged — is that no one's interests are safe, everyone's interests are on a public auction block, and anything goes for anyone who can get away with it. Such a system — or, more precisely, anti-system - breaks up a country into an ever-growing number of enemy camps, into economic groups fighting one another for self preservation in an indeterminate mixture of defense and offense, as the nature of such a jungle demands. Ayn Rand Quote Details

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Seek freedom and become captive of your desires; seek discipline and find your liberty. Frank Herbert Quote Details

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Liberty will not descend to a people, a people must raise themselves to liberty; it is a blessing that must be earned before it can be enjoyed. Charles Colton Quote Details

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Whether in chains or in laurels, Liberty knows nothing but victories. Wendell Phillips Quote Details

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In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs. Walter Lippmann Quote Details

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Liberty is not merely a privilege to be conferred; it is a habit to be acquired. David Lloyd George Quote Details

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The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. H. L. Mencken Quote Details

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But first we have to reject the life of pleasures; they make us soft and womanish; they are insistent in their demands, and what is more, require us to make insistent demands on fortune. And then we need to look down on wealth, which is the wage of slavery. Gold and silver and everything else that clutters our prosperous homes should be discarded. Freedom cannot be won without sacrifice. If you set a high value on her, everything else must be valued at little. Seneca Quote Details

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A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that ... it gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. Milton Friedman Quote Details

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In a sense there have always been but two political philosophies: liberty and power. Either people should be free to live their lives as they see fit, as long as they respect the equal rights of others, or some people should be able to use force to make other people act in ways they wouldn't choose. David Boaz Quote Details

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If 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; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. Samuel Adams Quote Details

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Freedom is not empowerment. Empowerment is what the Serbs have in Bosnia. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. It's not entitlement. An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? It's not an endlessly expanding list of rights -- the "right" to education, the "right" to food and housing. That's not freedom, that's dependency. Those aren't rights, those are the rations of slavery -- hay and a barn for human cattle. There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences. P. J. O'Rourke Quote Details

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The State never intentionally confronts a man's sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. Henry David Thoreau Quote Details

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However widespread the desire to be free, that is wholly different from a desire to live in a society where others are free. Thomas Sowell Quote Details

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The relative freedom which we enjoy depends of public opinion. The law is no protection. Governments make laws, but whether they are carried out, and how the police behave, depends on the general temper in the country. If large numbers of people are interested in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it; if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them. George Orwell Quote Details

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I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. Robert Heinlein Quote Details

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Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. Benjamin Franklin Quote Details

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