"The right to discuss freely and openly, by speech, by the pen, by the press, all political questions, and to examine the animadvert upon all political institutions is a right so clear and certain, so interwoven with our other liberties, so necessary, in fact, to their existence, that without it we must fall into despotism and anarchy."
William Cullen Bryant
(1794-1878) American romantic poet, journalist, editor of the New York Evening Post
New York Evening Post, 18 November 1837
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Reader comments about this quote:
Nice quote. I would take the word political out though (in both instances). This quote is also good for religious questions and institutions for example.
 -- Anna     
  • 1
    The statement on its face is more than accurate. It is the narrowness or limiting parameters of the statement as to the reason I gave it 4 stars vs 5. Causations for falling into despotism or anarchy are more broad than just the freedom of speech.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 2
    Time for all of us Americans to open our minds to diverse thought.

     -- bruski, naples FL     
    Perfect, except for siding anarchy and despotism. Those two are true opposites to each other. Like or not the idea of anarchy (or despotism), you don't get there by suppressing speech. In fact, anarchy is the lack of suppressing anything in a society. You may think that anarchy be the constant fight between everyone, or a chaos, but that's completely different from a despot ruling over everyone.
     -- Felipe, Brazil     
    With GWB, the press fell in line so as to not appear unpatriotic. With Obama, no criticism was ever made for fear of being called racist. Criticism of Hillary was considered sexist. A politically correct press is the hallmark of totalitarianism. In typical communist fashion, the leaders live in luxury (like the Obama's) while making the populace 'sacrifice' for the common good. The press is merely to keep the masses in line.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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