Tag Archives: liberty

Ronald Reagan – Whatever else history may say about me

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

Ronald Reagan   (1911-2004)

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Patrick Henry – Give me liberty or give me death!

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

Patrick Henry  
Speech at St. John’s Church

Louis Brandeis – New rights and common law

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

Louis Brandeis   (1856-1941)
The Right to Privacy

John Adams – The most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge

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

John Adams   (1735-1826)
A Dissertation on the Canon and Federal Law

Voltaire Arouet – Virtue supposes liberty

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

Voltaire Arouet   (1694-1778)

Emma Lazarus – The New Colossus

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

From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus  

Louis Brandeis – Invasion of liberty by evil-minded rulers

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

Louis Brandeis   (1856-1941)