Famous Quotations / Quotes
Famous Quotes about Liberty
 

 
Famous quotes, quotations, sayings, phrases, idioms, proverbs, and axioms about Liberty and the Responsibility that comes with it. 
 


The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

A classic since 1953 with over 20,000 quotes from over 3,000 authors.


Famous Last Words

Apt Observations, Pleas, Curses, Benedictions, Sour Notes, Bons Mots, and Insights from People on the Brink of Departure


Stretch Your Wings

Famous Black Quotations for the Young


American Quotations

An exhaustive collection of profound quotes from the founding fathers, presidents, statesmen, scientists, constitutions, court decisions


The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations


Last Words of Saints and Sinners

700 Final Quotes from the Famous, the Infamous, and the Inspiring Figures of History


America's God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations

Contains over 2,100 profound quotations from founding fathers, presidents, constitutions, court decisions and more


The Law

This 1850 classic is an absolute must read for anyone interested in law, justice, truth, or liberty. A most compelling and revolutionary look at The Law.


Bartlett's Familiar Quotations

A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature (17th Edition)


The Stupidest Things Ever Said by Politicians

Rise up, America -- and laugh out loud at the greatest gaffes that no spin doctor could possibly fix!


The 776 Even Stupider Things Ever Said

Another great collection of stupidity


Quotable Quotes

Wit and Wisdom for All Occasions from America's Most Popular Magazine


The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time

You don't have to be a genius to sound like one. Here's a collection of the most profound and provocative wit and wisdom in the English language in two lines or less.


2,715 One-Line Quotations for Speakers, Writers & Raconteurs

Invaluable sampler of witticisms, epigrams, sayings, bon mots, platitudes and insights chosen for their brevity and pithiness.


Phillips' Book of Great Thoughts Funny Sayings

A stupendous collection of quotes, quips, epigrams, witticisms, and humorous comments for personal enjoyment and ready reference.


Quick Quips and Quotes; 532 Things I Wish I Had Said

Quick Quips and Quotes is the Ultimate Collection of one liners.


Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes

The ultimate anthology of anecdotes, now revised with over 700 new entries.


Quotations for Public Speakers

A Historical, Literary, and Political Anthology


Liberty - The American Revolution

This compelling series traces the events leading up to the war and America's fight for freedom.


Founding Fathers

The story of how these disparate characters fomented rebellion in the colonies, formed the Continental Congress, fought the Revolutionary War, and wrote the Constitution


Libertarianism: A Primer

David Boaz, director of the Cato Institute, has written a simple introduction to Libertarianism inteneded to appeal to disgruntled Democrats and Republicans everywhere.


The Libertarian Reader

Classic and Contemporary Writings from Lao-Tzu to Milton Friedman


Thomas Paine: Collected Writings

All the classics: Common Sense / The Crisis / Rights of Man / The Age of Reason / Pamphlets, Articles, and Letters

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Show details for [<a href="/quotes_about/desire">Desire Quotes</a>]Desire Quotes
Show details for [<a href="/quotes_about/desperation">Desperation Quotes</a>]Desperation Quotes
Hide details for [<a href="/quotes_about/despotism">Despotism Quotes</a>]Despotism Quotes
Samuel AdamsHow strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
Samuel AdamsGovernors have no Right to seek and take what they please; by this, instead of being content with the Station assigned them, that of honorable Servants of the Society, they would soon become Absolute Masters, Despots,and Tyrants. Hence, as a private Man has a Right to say what Wages he will give in his private Affairs, so has a Community to determine what they will give and grant of their Substance for the Administration of public Affairs.
Fisher AmesLiberty has never lasted long in a democracy, nor has it ever ended in anything better than despotism.
Fisher Ames[O]ur sages in the great [constitutional] convention...
intended our government should be a republic
which differs more widely from a democracy
than a democracy from a despotism.
The rigours of a despotism often... oppress only a few,
but it is the very essence and nature of a democracy,
for a faction claiming to oppress a minority, and
that minority the chief owners of the property
and truest lovers of their country.
AristotleThe three aims of the tyrant are, one, the humiliation of his subjects; he knows that a mean-spirited man will not conspire against anybody; two, the creation of mistrust among them; for a tyrant is not to be overthrown until men begin to have confidence in one another -- and this is the reason why tyrants are at war with the good; they are under the idea that their power is endangered by them, not only because they will not be ruled despotically, but also because they are too loyal to one another and to other men, and do not inform against one another or against other men -- three, the tyrant desires that all his subjects shall be incapable of action, for no one attempts what is impossible and they will not attempt to overthrow a tyranny if they are powerless.
Frederic BastiatActually, it is not strange that during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the human race was regarded as inert matter, ready to receive everything -- form, face, energy, movement, life -- from a great prince or a great legislator or a great genius. These centuries were nourished on the study of antiquity. And antiquity presents everywhere -- in Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome -- the spectacle of a few men molding mankind according to their whims, thanks to the prestige of force and of fraud. But this does not prove that this situation is desirable. It proves only that since men and society are capable of improvement, it is naturally to be expected that error, ignorance, despotism, slavery, and superstition should be greatest towards the origins of history. The writers quoted above were not in error when they found ancient institutions to be such, but they were in error when they offered them for the admiration and imitation of future generations. Uncritical and childish conformists, they took for granted the grandeur, dignity, morality, and happiness of the artificial societies of the ancient world. They did not understand that knowledge appears and grows with the passage of time; and that in proportion to this growth of knowledge, might takes the side of right, and society regains possession of itself.
Frederic BastiatIn short, is not liberty the freedom of every person to make full use of his faculties, so long as he does not harm other persons while doing so? Is not liberty the destruction of all despotism -- including, of course, legal despotism? Finally, is not liberty the restricting of the law only to its rational sphere of organizing the right of the individual to lawful self-defense; of punishing injustice?
Hilaire BellocNever could an increase of comfort or security be a sufficient good to be bought at the price of liberty.
Isaiah BerlinThe first people totalitarians destroy or silence are men of ideas and free minds.
Ambrose BierceAn election is nothing more than the advanced auction of stolen goods.
Sir William BlackstoneThat the king can do no wrong is a necessary and fundamental principle of the English constitution.
George W. BushWe must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans,
and confront the worst threats before they emerge.
George W. BushToday the Justice Department did issue a blanket alert. It was in recognition of a general threat we received. This is not the first time the Justice Department have acted like this. I hope it is the last. But given the attitude of the evildoers, it may not be.
George W. BushI don’t give a goddamn. I’m the President
and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way. ...
Stop throwing the Constitution in my face.
It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!
George W. BushSaddam Hussein's regime is a gray and gathering danger.
George W. BushI want him [Saddam Hussein]. I want -- I want justice.
There is an old poster seen out west.
As I recall, it said, Wanted Dead or Alive.
George W. BushI'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office and foreign policy matters with war on my mind.
George W. BushThere will be no going back to the era before September 11th, 2001, to false comfort in a dangerous world.
George W. BushThere are some who feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there [in Iraq]. My answer is, 'Bring 'em on.'
George W. BushEither you are with us or you are with the terrorists.
George W. BushOur enemies are a radical network of terrorists --
and every government that supports them.
Father Robert F. CaponThe world looks as if it has been left in the custody of trolls.
Nicolas-Sebasstien ChamfortOnly the history of free peoples is worth our attention; the history of men under a despotism is merely a collection of anecdotes.
William Ellery ChanningThe worst tyrants are those which establish themselves in our own breasts.
Sir Winston ChurchillYou see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. Yet in their hearts there is unspoken – unspeakable! – fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts! Words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home, all the more powerful because they are forbidden. These terrify them. A little mouse – a little tiny mouse! – of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.
Sir Winston ChurchillThe power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.
Alan CorenkDemocracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they've told you what you think it is you want to hear.
Charles de GaulleIn order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.
Estienne de la BoétieHowever, there is satisfaction in examining what they get out of all this torment, what advantage they derive from all the trouble of their wretched existence. Actually the people never blame the tyrant for the evils they suffer, but they do place responsibility on those who influence him; peoples, nations, all compete with one another, even the peasants, even the tillers of the soil, in mentioning the names of the favorites, in analyzing their vices, and heaping upon them a thousand insults, a thousand obscenities, a thousand maledictions. All their prayers, all their vows are directed against these persons; they hold them accountable for all their misfortunes, their pestilences, their famines; and if at times they show them outward respect, at those very moments they are fuming in their hearts and hold them in greater horror than wild beasts. This is the glory and honor heaped upon influential favorites for their services by people who, if they could tear apart their living bodies, would still clamor for more, only half satiated by the agony they might behold. For even when the favorites are dead those who live after are never too lazy to blacken the names of these people-eaters with the ink of a thousand pens, tear their reputations into bits in a thousand books, and drag, so to speak, their bones past posterity, forever punishing them after their death for their wicked lives.
Antoine De Saint-ExuperyTrue, it is evil that a single man should crush the herd, but see not there the worse form of slavery, which is when the herd crushes out the man.
Charles-Louis de SecondatIn republican governments, men are all equal; equal they are also in despotic governments: in the former, because they are everything; in the latter, because they are nothing.
Alexis de Tocqueville[Some people] have a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom. I believe that it is easier to establish an absolute and despotic government amongst a people in which the conditions of society are equal, than amongst any other; and I think that, if such a government were once established amongst such a people, it would not only oppress men, but would eventually strip each of them of several of the highest qualities of humanity. Despotism, therefore, appears to me peculiarly to be dreaded in democratic times.
Declaration of IndependenceBut, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
Justice William O. DouglasThose in power need checks and restraints lest they come to identify the common good for their own tastes and desires, and their continuation in office as essential to the preservation of the nation.
William O. DouglasA people who extend civil liberties only to preferred groups start down the path either to dictatorship of the right or the left.
Frederick DouglassLet us render the tyrant no aid; let us not hold the light by which he can trace the footprints of our flying brother.
Dr. Jack Down[W]e continue to evolve a cute little concept of a changing legal accommodation named the “Living Constitution Theory” which is only a perversion stating, “To heck with what our Constitution says; we in power will twist it to suit our ideas anytime and every time we so choose.”
W. E. B. Du BoisIt is the growing custom to narrow control, concentrate power, disregard and disfranchise the public; and assuming that certain powers by divine right of money-raising or by sheer assumption, have the power to do as they think best without consulting the wisdom of mankind.
Alexandre DumasRogues are preferable to imbeciles because they sometimes take a rest.
Felix FrankfurterA court which yields to the popular will thereby licenses itself to practice despotism, for there can be no assurance that it will not on another occasion indulge its own will.
Frederick the GreatI begin by taking.
I shall find scholars later
to demonstrate my perfect right.
Freeman’s JournalThe freemen of America will remember, that it is very easy to change a free government into an arbitrary, despotic, or military one: but it is very difficult, almost impossible to reverse the matter -- very difficult to regain freedom once lost.
Rick GaberThe United States was supposed to have a limited government because the founders knew government power attracts demagogues and despots as surely as horse manure attracts horseflies.
Khalil GibranIf it’s a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.
Joseph Paul GoebbelsThe war made possible for us the solution of a whole series of problems that could never have been solved in normal times.
Stephen P. HalbrookSuch questions have never been discussed in scholarly publications because the Nazi laws, policies, and practices have never been adequately documented. The record establishes that a well-meaning liberal republic would enact a gun control act that would later be highly useful to a dictatorship.
Friedrich August von HayekEven more significant of the inherent weakness of the collectivist theories is the extraordinary paradox that from the assertion that society is in some sense more than merely the aggregate of all individuals their adherents regularly pass by a sort of intellectual somersault to the thesis that in order that the coherence of this larger entity be safeguarded it must be subjected to conscious control, that is, to the control of what in the last resort must be an individual mind. It thus comes about that in practice it is regularly the theoretical collectivist who extols individual reason and demands that all forces of society be made subject to the direction of a single mastermind, while it is the individualist who recognizes the limitations of the powers of individual reason and consequently advocates freedom as a means for the fullest development of the powers of the interindividual process.
Friedrich August von HayekPerhaps 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 August von HayekBy giving the government unlimited powers, the most arbitrary rule can be made legal; and in this way a democracy may set up the most complete despotism imaginable.
Paul HayesThe authority of local government was similarly attacked. The not inconsiderable power of the Länder disappeared as a result of the decree of 28 February [1933] and the manipulated elections which followed. Control of the police passed into the hands of the NSDAP. ... Local elections were abolished and Reich Administrators ... were appointed to rule in place of the locally elected heads of government. On 30 January 1934 all local assemblies were abolished, and states were made totally subservient to central rule.
Robert A. HeinleinThe two highest achievements of the human mind are the twin concepts of "loyalty" and "duty". Whenever these twin concepts fall into disrepute, get out of there fast! You may possibly save yourself, but it is too late to save that society. It is doomed.
George D. HerronThe possession of power over others is inherently destructive both to the possessor of the power and to those over whom it is exercised.
Adolf HitlerTerrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death.
Adolf HitlerThe National Socialist Party will prevent in the future, by force if necessary, all meetings and lectures which are likely to exercise a depressing influence on the German state.
Adolf HitlerIt is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of the nation, that the position of the individual is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole.
Thomas HodgskinMen had better be without education than be educated by their rulers; for their education is but the mere breaking in of the steer to the yoke; the mere discipline of the hunting dog, which, by dint of severity, is made to forego the strongest impulse of his nature, and instead of devouring his prey, to hasten with it to the feet of his master.
Eric HofferA ruling intelligentsia, whether in Europe, Asia or Africa, treats the masses as raw material to be experimented on, processed, and wasted at will.
Eric HofferTo the frustrated, freedom from responsibility is more attractive than freedom from restraint. They are eager to barter their independence for relief from the burdens of willing, deciding and being responsible for inevitable failure. They willingly abdicate the directing of their lives to those who want to plan, command and shoulder all responsibility.
Eric HofferAbsolute power turns its possessors not into a God but an anti-God. For God turned clay into men, while the absolute despot turns men into clay.
Eric HofferEvery device employed to bolster individual freedom must have as its chief purpose the impairment of the absoluteness of power. The indications are that such an impairment is brought about not by strengthening the individual and pitting him against the possessors of power, but by distributing and diversifying power and pitting one category or unit of power against the other. Where power is one, the defeated individual, however strong and resourceful, can have no refuge and no recourse.
Edgar Watson HoweThe freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic government.
Elbert HubbardThe man who craves disciples and wants followers is always more or less of a charlatan. The man of genuine worth and insight wants to be himself; and he wants others to be themselves, also.
Aldous HuxleyThe end cannot justify the means for the simple and obvious reason that the means employed determine the nature of the ends produced.
Robert G. IngersollIf there is a God who will damn his children forever, I would rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous tyrant. I make my choice now. I despise that doctrine. It has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. It has polluted the hearts of children, and poisoned the imaginations of men. It has been a constant pain, a perpetual terror to every good man and woman and child. It has filled the good with horror and with fear; but it has had no effect upon the infamous and base. It has wrung the hearts of the tender, it has furrowed the cheeks of the good. This doctrine never should be preached again. What right have you, sir, Mr. clergyman, you, minister of the gospel to stand at the portals of the tomb, at the vestibule of eternity, and fill the future with horror and with fear? I do not believe this doctrine, neither do you. If you did, you could not sleep one moment. Any man who believes it, and has within his breast a decent, throbbing heart, will go insane. A man who believes that doctrine and does not go insane has the heart of a snake and the conscience of a hyena.
Thomas Jefferson[N]othing in the Constitution has given [the judiciary] a right to decide for the Executive, more than to the executive to decide for them. Both magistracies are equally independent in the sphere of action assigned to them… the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional, and what are not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature & Executive also, in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch.
Thomas Jefferson[T]o consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions ... would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.
Thomas JeffersonForce (is) the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism.
Thomas JeffersonThe two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.
Thomas JeffersonGod forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Thomas JeffersonThe judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric. They are construing our constitution from a coordination of a general and special government to a general and supreme one alone. This will lay all things at their feet... We shall see if they are bold enough to take the daring stride their five lawyers have lately taken. If they do, then... I will say, that 'against this every man should raise his voice,' and more, should uplift his arm.
Thomas JeffersonI place economy among the first and most important virtues and public debt as the greatest dangers to be feared ... We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude ... The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the disposition of public money. We are endeavoring to reduce the government to the practice of rigid economy to avoid burdening the people ...
Thomas JeffersonThe concentrating [of powers] in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government. It will be no alleviation that these powers will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one.


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