Freedom Quotes

Freedom is the state of being unimprisoned or unenslaved or uncoerced.

Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is “free” if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and being without undue or unjust constraints, or enslavement, and is an idea closely related to the concept of liberty. A person has the freedom to do things that will not, in theory or in practice, be prevented by other forces. Outside of the human realm, freedom generally does not have this political or psychological dimension. A rusty lock might be oiled so that the key has the freedom to turn, undergrowth may be hacked away to give a newly planted sapling freedom to grow, or a mathematician may study an equation having many degrees of freedom. In mechanical engineering, “freedom” describes the number of independent motions that are allowed to a body or system, which is generally referred to as degrees of freedom.”

♦    ♦    ♦Freedom Adler Raptor Flight Flying Animal Font

Freedom means that the spirit voluntarily limits itself to nothing other than sublime feelings and thoughts, and serves no principles other than goodness and virtue. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Many people who are actually imprisoned or in chains remain free in their conscience and so do not feel their imprisonment. Many others, however, do not taste the true meaning of freedom although they inhabit the grand spaces of palaces and gardens. – M. Fethullah Gulen

True freedom is civilized freedom. It wears the diamond chain of religion and morals, and the golden collar of sound thinking. – M. Fethullah Gulen

True freedom is the freedom of the human mind from all shackles that hinder it from making material and spiritual progress, as long as we do not fall into indifference and heedlessness. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Freedom allows people to do whatever they want, provided that they do not harm others and that they remain wholly devoted to the truth. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Freedom that does not acknowledge religious ideas and feelings, and that does not serve as the ground for virtue and morality, is like the desire to scratch oneself. Communities afflicted with this desire eventually become restless and wander off the common road of humanity. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Those who regard freedom as absolute liberty confuse human freedom with animal freedom. Animals have no moral questions asked of them, and so are free of moral constraints. Some people desire this kind of freedom and, if they can, use it to indulge the darkest desires of the flesh. Such freedom is worse than bestial. True freedom, however, the freedom of moral responsibility, shows that one is human, for it motivates and enlivens the conscience and removes impediments to the spirit. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Quotes About Freedom

What then is freedom? The power to live as one wishes. – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Freedom is the emancipation from the arbitrary rule of other men. – Mortimer Adler

Freedom is always at the beginning and not at the end. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Freedom is that instant between when someone tells you to do something and when you decide how to respond. – Jeffrey Borenstein

Freedom consists not in refusing to recognize anything above us, but in respecting something which is above us; for by respecting it, we raise ourselves to it, and, by our very acknowledgment, prove that we bear within ourselves what is higher, and are worthy to be on a level with it. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

Freedom is not the right to live as we please, but the right to find how we ought to live in order to fulfill our potential. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Freedom – to walk free and own no superior. – Walt Whitman

To find yourself, think for yourself. – Socrates

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. – Vicktor Emil Frankl

Freedom cannot be bestowed — it must be achieved. – Elbert Hubbard

The great revolution in the history of man, past, present and future, is the revolution of those determined to be free. – John F. Kennedy

Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better. – Albert Camus

The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage. – Thucydides

Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will. – Nelson Mandela

Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils. – General John Stark

True success, true happiness lies in freedom and fulfillment. – Dada Vaswani

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought. – Pope John Paul II

Freedom comes from strength and self-reliance. – Lisa Murkowski

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will. – Charlotte Bronte from Jane Eyre

The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear. – Aung San Suu Kyi

Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing. – Ayn Rand

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edge of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories. – Margaret Atwood

In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail? – Ralph Waldo Emerson

This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else. – Epictetus

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

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. – Albert Einstein

Independence is a heady draught, and if you drink it in your youth, it can have the same effect on the brain as young wine does. It does not matter that its taste is not always appealing. It is addictive and with each drink you want more. – Maya Angelou

I believe in America because we have great dreams, and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true. – Wendell Willkie

Those who won our independence… valued liberty as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. – Louis D. Brandeis

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. – Albert Camus

I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery. – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I’m a big advocate of freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of thought. – Jimmy Wales

I believe in freedom of speech, but I believe we should also have the right to comment on freedom of speech. – Stockwell Day

Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom. – George Washington Carver

I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free. – Rosa Parks

I find only freedom in the realms of eccentricity. – David Bowie

I’d like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted other people to be also free. – Rosa Parks

I would rather die in freedom on my way back home than starve to death here. – Morning Star

We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. – Edward R. Murrow

The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. – Jim Morrison

If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary. – Malcolm X

When a truth is not given complete freedom, freedom is not complete. – Vaclav Havel

I stand for freedom of expression, doing what you believe in, and going after your dreams. – Madonna Ciccone

The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission. – John F. Kennedy

Freedom has never been free. – Medgar Evers

We gain freedom when we have paid the full price. – Rabindranath Tagore

Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. – George Orwell

Art is the daughter of freedom. – Friedrich Schiller

The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant. – Maximilien Robespierre

To me, punk rock is the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are. It’s freedom. – Patti Smith

The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism. – Wole Soyinka

Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently. – Rosa Luxemburg

A place of freedom is the best place to have the most creativity. – Matt McGorry

True freedom requires the rule of law and justice, and a judicial system in which the rights of some are not secured by the denial of rights to others. – Jonathan Sacks

Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech. – Benjamin Franklin

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them. – Patrick Henry

There is no such thing as part freedom. – Nelson Mandela

Freedom is something that dies unless it’s used. – Hunter S. Thompson

To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves. – Virginia Woolf

Our freedom can be measured by the number of things we can walk away from. – Vernon Howard

Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom. – Marilyn Ferguson

Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be. – Daniel J. Boorstin

Freedom is a struggle, and we do it together. Not only together as black citizens, but black and white together. – Andrew Young

I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom. – Simone de Beauvoir

I’ve sold my soul for freedom. It’s lonely but it’s sweet. – Melissa Etheridge

Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. – Hans Christian Andersen

Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom. – Rabindranath Tagore

I want to give myself the freedom not to have to be projecting my whole life ahead. – Robert Downey, Jr.

Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement. – Nelson Mandela

Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty. – Frank Herbert

Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity. – Herbert Hoover

I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that? – Soledad O’Brien

This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them each day anew. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you. – Jean-Paul Sartre

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

True independence and freedom can only exist in doing what’s right. – Brigham Young

Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change. – Stephen Covey

Instead of trying to make your life perfect, give yourself the freedom to make it an adventure, and go ever upward. – Drew Houston

Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is. – Jim Morrison

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. – Winston Churchill

There must be freedom for all to live, to think, to worship, no book, no avenue must be closed. – James Larkin

Perfect freedom is as necessary to the health and vigor of commerce as it is to the health and vigor of citizenship. – Patrick Henry

Grace is the beauty of form under the influence of freedom. – Friedrich Schiller

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

Financial freedom is available to those who learn about it and work for it. – Robert Kiyosaki

A big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the what-ifs of life. – Suze Orman

When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society. – Pope John Paul II

You don’t have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do is to be an intelligent human being. – Malcolm X

Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it. – Malcolm X

Freedom of speech means freedom for those who you despise, and freedom to express the most despicable views. It also means that the government cannot pick and choose which expressions to authorize and which to prevent. – Alan Dershowitz

Too much freedom can lead to the soul’s decay. – Prince

There is no such thing as a little freedom. Either you are all free, or you are not free. – Walter Cronkite

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but licence. – John Milton

Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better. – Albert Camus

The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear. – Aung San Suu Kyi

No one outside ourselves can rule us inwardly. When we know this, we become free. – Buddha

A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire, or preserve his freedom. – Malcolm X

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

He only earns his freedom and his life who takes them every day by storm. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. – Albert Einstein

You can be a scared slave or you can be a brave human being. – Maxime Lagacé

I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind. – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing. – Ayn Rand

To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves. – Virginia Woolf

Freedom, in any case, is only possible by constantly struggling for it. – Albert Einstein

I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! – Patrick Henry

All the Men will be sailors then, until the sea shall free them. – Leonard Cohen

True freedom is always spiritual. It has something to do with your innermost being, which cannot be chained, handcuffed, or put into a jail. – Rajneesh

Liberty: One of imagination’s most precious possessions. – Ambrose Bierce

Here is my secret: I don’t mind what happens. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life. – Bob Marley

Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves. – Friedrich Nietzsche

In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I read somewhere… how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong… but to feel strong. – Christopher McCandless

Freedom is the oxygen of the soul. – Moshe Dayan

I don’t care whether you’re a top Wall Street banker, if somebody has to tell you when to be at work, what to wear, and how to behave, you’re not a free person. – Naval Ravikant

The English did not come to America from a mere love of adventure, nor to truck with or convert the savages, nor to hold offices under the crown, as the French to a great extent did, but to live in earnest and with freedom. – Henry David Thoreau

The freedom from something is not true freedom. The freedom to do anything you want to do is also not the freedom I am talking about. My vision of freedom is to be yourself. – Rajneesh

We anarchists do not want to emancipate the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves. – Errico Malatesta

Everything can be taken from a man but… the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. – Victor Frankl

What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. – Thomas Jefferson

The desire of gold is not for gold. It is for the means of freedom and benefit. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. – Jean-Paul Sartre

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. – Albert Camus

For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail? – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free. – Thich Nhat Hanh

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and will never be. – Thomas Jefferson

It’s beautiful to be alone. To be alone does not mean to be lonely. It means the mind is not influenced and contaminated by society. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary. – Malcolm X

Who would be free themselves must strike the blow. Better even to die free than to live slaves. – Frederick Douglass

My liberty depends on you being free, too. – Barack Obama

I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free. – Rosa Parks

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security. – Benjamin Franklin

No man is good enough to govern another man without his consent. – Abraham Lincoln

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. – Abraham Lincoln

When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw. – Nelson Mandela

A part of fate is the freedom of man. Forever wells up the impulse of choosing and acting in his soul. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A discriminating irreverence is the creator and protector of human liberty. – Mark Twain

No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow. – Alice Walker

As soon as we left the ground, I knew I had to fly. – Amelia Earhart

No borders, just horizons – only freedom. – Amelia Earhart

We have no right to believe that freedom can be won without struggle. – Che Guevara

The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. – John F. Kennedy

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. – John F. Kennedy

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 the success of liberty. – John F. Kennedy

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! – Patrick Henry

You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make a good use of it. – John Adams

However weak our country may be, I hope we shall never sacrifice our liberties. – Alexander Hamilton

Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech. – Benjamin Franklin

Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech. – Benjamin Franklin

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. – Ronald Reagan

Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed — else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. – Martin Luther King Jr

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. – Martin Luther King Jr

Every subject’s duty is the Kings, but every subject’s soul is his own. – William Shakespeare

It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened. – Mark Twain

We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. – Mark Twain

It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn’t ever feel like talking loud, and it warn’t often that we laughed — only a little kind of a low chuckle. – Mark Twain

We had mighty good weather as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all — that night, nor the next, nor the next. – Mark Twain

They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom! – William Wallace

Freedom of teaching and of opinion in book or press is the foundation for the sound and natural development of any people. – Albert Einstein

I’m a big advocate of freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of thought. – Jimmy Wales

I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended. – Nelson Mandela

That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves. – Henry David Thoreau

Quotes About Freedom

Science can flourish only in an atmosphere of free speech. – Albert Einstein

I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. – Thomas Jefferson

Tame birds sing of freedom. Wild birds fly. – John Lennon

I exist as I am, that is enough. – Walt Whitman

Freedom is the power to say no. – James Clear

Freedom begins between the ears. – Edward Abbey

Only the educated are free. – Epictetus

Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Without freedom there can be no morality. – Carl Jung

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. – Voltaire

Freedom is dearer than bread or joy. – Jessie E. Sampter

You can do anything you decide to do. – Amelia Earhart

The lure of flying is the lure of beauty. – Amelia Earhart

After you get your freedom, your enemy will respect you. – Malcolm X

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you. – Jean-Paul Sartre

Don’t quack like a duck… soar like an eagle. – Kenneth Blanchard

Freedom means choosing your burden. – Hephzibah Menuhin

Let freedom never perish in your hands. – Joseph Addison

Power is duty; freedom is responsibility. – Marie Dubsky

Freedom is the outside of the inside. – Joyce Carey

When I discover who I am, I’ll be free. – Ralph Ellison

On the other side of fear lies freedom. – Unknown

Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the one thing that will set you free. – Unknown

Freedom is not for the weak. – Tony Calderone

Slavery is the next thing to hell. – Harriet Tubman

You’ll be free or die! – Harriet Tubman

This is slavery, not to speak one’s thought. – Euripides

My vision of freedom is to be yourself. – Osho

The function of freedom is to free someone else. – Toni Morrison

The day you stop racing, is the day you win the race. – Bob Marley

My feet is my only carriage. – Bob Marley

It is your attachment that creates hell. – Rajneesh

Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be? – Unknown

If you cannot be free be as free as you can. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

He moves fastest who moves alone. – Milton Friedman

Resist much, obey little. – Walt Whitman

Without virtue there can be no liberty. – Benjamin Rush

To be free is to have achieved your life. – Tennessee Williams

The best freedom is being yourself. – Jim Morrison

Liberty is the first condition of growth. – Swami Vivekananda

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. – Phil Plait

Merely to breathe freely does not mean to live. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Freedom exists only with power. – Friedrich Schiller

Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils. – General John Stark

Be – don’t try to become. – Osho

When you come to the point where you have no need to impress anybody, your freedom will begin. – Unknown

Freedom is never free. It requires risk taking. – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose and to commit ourselves to our goals and values. – Paulo Coelho

There are two freedoms – the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought. – Charles Kingsley

I value freedom above anything else. Freedom to do what I want, freedom from not doing what I don’t want to do, and freedom from my own reactions and emotions… things that may disturb my peace. – Naval Ravikant

Each man has his own vocation; his talent is his call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Real wealth is not about money. Real wealth is: -not having to go to meetings -not having to spend time with jerks -not being locked into status games -not feeling like you have to say “yes” -not worrying about others claiming your time and energy. Real wealth is about freedom. – James Clear

You always know the mark of a coward. A coward hides behind freedom. A brave person stands in front of freedom and defends it for others. – Henry Rollins

The free man is he who does not fear to go to the end of his thought. – Leon Blum

I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multi-racial democracy, built on the premise that all people are created equal, and they’re endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. – Barack Obama

You don’t have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do is to be an intelligent human being. – Malcolm X

You get your freedom by letting your enemy know that you’ll do anything to get it. Then you’ll get it. It’s the only way you’ll get it. – Malcolm X

The only way we’ll get freedom for ourselves is to identify ourselves with every oppressed people in the world. We are blood brothers to the people of Brazil, Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba – yes Cuba too. – Malcolm X

Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. – Rumi

Liberty is the possibility of doubting, of making a mistake, of searching and experimenting, of saying no to any authority — literary, artistic, philosophical, religious, social, and even political. – Ignazio Silone

Our duty is to encourage every one in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth. – Swami Vivekananda

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. – Henry David Thoreau

Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. – Napoleon Bonaparte

In the last analysis, our only freedom is the freedom to discipline ourselves. – Bernard Baruch

The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free. – Baruch Spinoza

Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries? – Amelia Earhart

Strong. You can do anything. You can go anywhere. – Christopher McCandless

Part 1. Don’t think in terms of comfort; think in terms of freedom. Don’t think in terms of safety, think in terms of being more alive. And the only way to be more alive is to live dangerously, is to risk, is to go on an adventure. – Rajneesh
Part 2. And the greatest adventure is not going to the moon – the greatest adventure is going to your own innermost core. – Rajneesh

We are a nation of politicians, concerned about the outmost defenses only of freedom. It is our children’s children who may perchance be really free. – Henry David Thoreau

The man who takes the liberty to live is superior to all the laws, by virtue of his relation to the lawmaker. – Henry David Thoreau

A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom. – Bob Dylan

When one door is closed. Don’t you know what many more are open. – Bob Marley

Freedom of press is limited to those who own one. – H. L. Mencken

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it. – Henry David Thoreau

I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself. – Oscar Wilde

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. – Hubert H. Humphrey

What do you suppose will satisfy the soul, except to walk free and own no superior? – Walt Whitman

Freedom is independence of the compulsory will of another. – Immanuel Kant

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. – Frederick Douglass

Most people want security in this world, not liberty. – H.L. Mencken

You have freedom when you’re easy in your harness. – Robert Frost

Nothing matters and that’s a good thing as it sets you free. – Naval Ravikant

Never trust the words of a man who is not free. – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Freedom is not enough. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself. – Virginia Woolf

Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another. – Toni Morrison

The fact, in short, is that freedom, to be meaningful in an organized society must consist of an amalgam of hierarchy of freedoms and restraints. – Samuel Hendel

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. – Thomas Paine

The law will never make a man free; it is men who have got to make the law free. – Henry David Thoreau

Men talk of freedom! How many are free to think? Free from fear, from perturbation, from prejudice? Nine hundred and ninety-nine in a thousand are perfect slaves. – Henry David Thoreau

Free will carried many a soul to hell, but never a soul to heaven. – Charles Spurgeon

May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right. – Peter Marshall

The whole world seems to live under the banner: “Freedom is wonderful – but only for me”. – Isaac Asimov

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. – Edmund Burke

The man who has no inner life is a slave to his surroundings. – Henri-Frederic Amiel

If you put a chain around the neck of a slave, the other end fastens itself around your own. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The best government is that which teaches us to govern ourselves. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Whatever liberates our spirit, without also giving us mastery over ourselves, is destructive. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Everywhere the human soul stands between a hemisphere of light and another of darkness on the confines of two everlasting hostile empires. – Thomas Carlyle

Human history begins with man’s act of disobedience which is at the very same time the beginning of his freedom and development of his reason. – Erich Fromm

If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going. – Harriet Tubman

I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other. – Harriet Tubman

Liberty doesn’t work as well in practice as it does in speeches. – Will Rogers

Here is my advice as we begin the century that will lead to 2081. First, guard the freedom of ideas at all costs. Be alert that dictators have always played on the natural human tendency to blame others and to oversimplify. And don’t regard yourself as a guardian of freedom unless you respect and preserve the rights of people you disagree with to free, public, unhampered expression. – Gerard K. O’Neill

We are free, truly free, when we don’t need to rent our arms to anybody in order to be able to lift a piece of bread to our mouths. – Ricardo Flores Magon

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable. – James A. Garfield

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. – Gloria Steinem

A free race cannot be born of slave mothers. – Margaret Sanger

Nobody’s free until everybody’s free. – Fannie Lou Hamer

We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without. – Immanuel Kant

Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense, consists in the ability to choose. – Simone Weil

Absolute freedom mocks at justice. Absolute justice denies freedom. – Albert Camus

This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them each day anew. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck. – Frederick Douglass

Most will give up an acre of freedom for a closet of security. – Dr. Idel Dreimer

Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else. – Epictetus

We feel free when we escape — even if it be but from the frying pan into the fire. – Eric Hoffer

For a man to act himself, he must be perfectly free; otherwise he is in danger of losing all sense of responsibility or of self- respect. – Henry David Thoreau

The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions. – Adlai Stevenson

A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both. – Milton Friedman

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them. – Frederick Douglass

How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech. – Soren Kierkegaard

He who is allowed to do as he likes will soon run his head into a brick wall out of sheer frustration. – Robert Musil

Confidence is knowing who you are and not changing it a bit because of someone’s version of reality is not your reality. – Shannon L. Alder

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Who speaks of liberty while the human mind is in chains? – Francis Wright

Knowledge is an addiction, as drink; knowledge does not bring understanding. Knowledge can be taught, but not wisdom; there must be freedom from knowledge for the coming of wisdom. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

To seek fulfillment is to invite frustration. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Freedom is not caprice but room to enlarge. – C. A. Bartol

True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline. – Mortimer J. Adler

Real freedom is having nothing. I was freer when I didn’t have a cent. – Mike Tyson

Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom. – George Washington Carver

One of the purposes of life is to let go of all that baggage you’re dragging around and be free again. – Neil Strauss

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will. – Charlotte Bronte

Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns. – Tara Brach

The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage. – Thucydides

Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults your soul. – Walt Whitman

Being free brings a lightness, a carefree surrender to all that is happening around you, and, above all, an acceptance of reality. – Deepak Chopra

Your freedom is a supreme value. Nothing is higher than that. But your freedom is possible only if you are not encaged in your habits, unconscious patterns of living. Change your gestalt from unconsciousness to consciousness. – Rajneesh

Desire is our imprisonment. The man who wants nothing, who is absolutely contented as he is, is free of all bondage. He has attained to ultimate freedom, nirvana – and that is the goal of life. – Rajneesh

I don’t mind what happens. That is the essence of inner freedom. It is a timeless spiritual truth: release attachment to outcomes, deep inside yourself, you’ll feel good no matter what. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

If you are lucky and work very hard, you may someday get to experience freedom from the known. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves. – Lord Byron

Words like “freedom,” “options,” and “choice” evoke a power of possibility far beyond the reality of the benefits they entail. – Robert Greene

Freedom from things is dependent on the outside. Freedom to do something is also dependent on the outside. Freedom to be ultimately pure has not to be dependent on anything outside you. – Osho

In the end, they wanted security more than they wanted freedom. – Edward Gibbon

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. – Alice Walker

I grew up like a neglected weed – ignorant of liberty, having no experience of it. – Harriet Tubman

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace. – Buddha

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds. – Bob Marley

The first condition of progress is the removal of censorship. – George Bernard Shaw

Every burned book enlightens the world. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Free people can speak freely. If you fear to speak, you aren’t free. – The Stoic Emperor

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. – S.G. Tallentyre

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. – George Orwell

Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance. – Lyndon B. Johnson

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. – Noam Chomsky

I did not wish to live in a country where the individual does not enjoy equality before the law and freedom to say and teach what he likes. – Albert Einstein

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

Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice. – Henry Louis Gates Jr.

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular. – Adlai Stevenson

We have to uphold a free press and freedom of speech – because, in the end, lies and misinformation are no match for the truth. – Barack Obama

I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. – Barack Obama

Some people only speak of freedom of speech while they’re out of power. Once they’re in power, they’re ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. – Barack Obama

The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book. – Walt Whitman

It is easy to believe in freedom of speech for those with whom we agree. – Leo McKern

Freedom of speech is unnecessary if the people to whom it is granted do not think for themselves. – Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Government has no right to hurt a hair on the head of an atheist for his opinions. Let him have a care of his practices. – John Adams

To view the opposition as dangerous is to misunderstand the basic concepts of democracy. To oppress the opposition is to assault the very foundation of democracy. – Aung San Suu Kyi

Because if you don’t stand up for the stuff you don’t like, when they come for the stuff you do like, you’ve already lost. – Neil Gaiman

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties. – John Milton

Those who make conversations impossible, make escalation inevitable. – Stefan Molyneux

It is not so much freedom of speech but the right to truth that great men protect. – Criss Jami

Sometimes a people lose their right to remain silent when pressured to remain silent. – Criss Jami

You can cage the singer but not the song. – Harry Belafonte

We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard. – Voltaire

The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen. – Tom Smothers

Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. – Potter Stewart

I am thankful for all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech. – Nancie J. Carmody

A free press can be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom a press will never be anything but bad. – Albert Camus

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame. – Oscar Wilde

Assassination is the extreme form of censorship. – George Bernard Shaw

The test of democracy is freedom of criticism. – David Ben-Gurion

To choose a good book, look in an inquisitor’s prohibited list. – John Aikin

Imagine a world in which we are all enlightened by objective truths rather than offended by them. – Neil deGrasse Tyson

There is a fine line between censorship and good taste and moral responsibility. – Steven Spielberg

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. – Voltaire

Through discipline comes freedom. – Aristotle

Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet. – Alice Walker

As far as your self-control goes, as far goes your freedom. – Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it. – Malcolm X

The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have. – Robert Greene

Decision is a risk rooted in the courage of being free. – Paul Tillich

Blame neither man, nor God, nor anyone in the world. When you find yourselves suffering, blame yourselves, and try to do better. – Swami Vivekananda

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

The war for freedom will never really be won because the price of freedom is constant vigilance over ourselves and over our Government. – Eleanor Roosevelt

He that cannot obey, cannot command. – Benjamin Franklin

The price of freedom is loneliness. To be happy is to be tied. – C.S. Lewis

We must be willing to pay a price for freedom. – H. L. Mencken

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. – Wendell Phillips

Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty. – Frank Herbert

Discipline is wisdom and vice versa. – M. Scott Peck

We gain freedom when we have paid the full price. – Rabindranath Tagore

One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself. – Leonardo da Vinci

He who has overcome his fears will truly be free. – Aristotle

Man must be disciplined, for he is by nature raw and wild. – Immanuel Kant

Rule your mind or it will rule you. – Horace

Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently. – Rosa Luxemburg

Like a hustler, you must find your freedom through the fluidity of your thoughts and your constant inventiveness. – Robert Greene

That side of our existence whose direction is towards the infinite seeks not wealth, but freedom and joy. – Rabindranath Tagore

The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom you have in your heart. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Complete freedom debilitates art but reveals much about character. – Darby Bannard

Transfer from external validation to internal self-validation. Freedom means knowing who you are. – Miles Patrick Yohnke

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. – Arthur Schopenhauer

Freedom is to be free of attachments, and the main attachment is to the ‘I’-self. – Mooji

Nonresistance, nonjudgment, and nonattachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living. – Eckhart Tolle

Once your mind becomes absolutely still, your intelligence transcends human limitations. – Jaggi Vasudev

Once there is a distance between you and your thought process, a new freedom is born. With this freedom, a new perception arises. – Sadhguru

All meditations are nothing but efforts to bring you to the present. When you live in the present moment, with no past hanging around you, with no future projection, you are free from life and death, you are free from body and mind. You are free – simply free – you are freedom. – Rajneesh

The most fundamental message of Gautama the Buddha is not God, is not soul… it is freedom: freedom absolute, total, unconditional. He does not want to give you an ideology, because every ideology creates its own slavery. – Rajneesh

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. – 1 Peter 2:16

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. – Corinthians 3:17

If you think that you are bound, you remain bound; you make your own bondage. If you know that you are free, you are free this moment. This is knowledge, knowledge of freedom. – Swami Vivekananda

Since most of us are secretly oppressed by our lack of freedom, we are drawn to those who are more fluid and flaunt their difference. – Robert Greene

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

Breath by breath, let go of fear, expectation, anger, regret, cravings, frustration, fatigue. Let go of the need for approval. Let go of old judgments and opinions. Die to all that, and fly free. Soar in the freedom of desirelessness. – Lama Surya Das

Let go. Let be. See through everything and be free, complete, luminous, at home — at ease. – Lama Surya Das

You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom. – Malcolm X

To remember non-attachment is to remember what freedom is all about. If we get attached, even to a beautiful state of being, we are caught, and ultimately we will suffer. We work to observe anything that comes our way, experience it while it is here, and be able to let go of it. – Sharon Salzberg

Buddhism teaches that joy and happiness arise from letting go. Please sit down and take an inventory of your life. There are things you’ve been hanging on to that really are not useful and deprive you of your freedom. Find the courage to let them go. – Thich Nhat Hanh

You are born as freedom. It is just that you have been conditioned to forget it. Layers upon layers of conditionings have made you a puppet. The strings are in somebody else’s hands. – Osho

That non-attachment gives us the freedom to be exactly who we are. – Tara Brach

The best road to progress is freedom’s road. – John F. Kennedy

The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree. – Thomas Campbell

We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. – Barack Obama

Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. – Woodrow Wilson

Quotes About Freedom

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. – Theodore Roosevelt

America’s greatest contribution to the world is its concept of democracy, its concept of freedom, freedom of action, freedom of speech, and freedom of thought. – Benazir Bhutto

I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America. – Kirk Cameron

The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom. – John Locke

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. – Abraham Lincoln

America is said to be the arena on which the battle of freedom is to be fought; but surely it cannot be freedom in a merely political sense that is meant. Even if we grant that the American has freed himself from a political tyrant, he is still the slave of an economical and moral tyrant. – Henry David Thoreau

The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. – Samuel Adams

Slaves, though held by the laws of men, are free by the laws of God. – John Jay

No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent. – John Jay

If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. – George Washington

Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. – James Madison

If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. – James Madison

A man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them. – James Madison

A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people. – James Madison

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

We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit. – Ronald Reagan

Better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees. – Jean Paul Sartre

The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. […] Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. – Charlie Chaplin

If you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game. – Toni Morrison

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin,

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. – Abraham Lincoln

When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty. – John Basil Barnhill

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. – George Orwell

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular. – Adlai Stevenson

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. – Nelson Mandela

Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech. – Benjamin Franklin

Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. – Woodrow Wilson

Experience 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 the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding. – Justice Louis Brandeis

I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts. – Ronald Reagan

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. – H.L. Mencken

The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number is self-protection … 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 sufficient warrant. – John Stuart Mill

Those who nourish the hope that it will be possible to keep central government free of the corrupting tendencies of power and to staff it with a freedom-loving elite, overestimate the virtues of both the electorate and the elected, and underestimate the normative power of structural processes even over well-intended functionaries. – Robert Nef

Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. – Hubert H. Humphrey

I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation. – Margaret Thatcher

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. – Winston Churchill

Economic freedom is … an indispensable means toward the achievement of political freedom. – Milton Friedman

The Reagan years showed us that expanding economic freedom should be the North Star – the guiding light – of U.S. policy, because it is the best way to achieve sustained and broad-based prosperity for all. – Jon Kyl

When plunder has become a way of life for a group of people living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it, and a moral code that glorifies it. – Frédéric Bastiat

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. – Ronald Reagan

I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom. – Bob Dylan

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will. – Charlotte Brontë

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 A. Heinlein

Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free. – Thich Nhat Hanh

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. – Noam Chomsky

The personality susceptible to the dream of limitless freedom is a personality also prone, should the dream ever sour, to misanthropy and rage. – Jonathan Franzen

I have never thought, for my part, that man’s freedom consists in his being able to do whatever he wills, but that he should not, by any human power, be forced to do what is against his will. – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”Abraham Lincoln

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. – Søren Kierkegaard

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind. – Virginia Woolf

We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. – William Faulkner

Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. – Abraham Lincoln

He who has overcome his fears will truly be free. – Aristotle

This is my doctrine: Give every other human being every right you claim for yourself. – Robert G. Ingersoll

People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take. – Emma Goldman

Every man having been born free and master of himself, no one else may under any pretext whatever subject him without his consent. To assert that the son of a slave is born a slave is to assert that he is not born a man. – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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

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. – Arthur Schopenhauer

Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control. – Epictetus

The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. – David Foster Wallace

True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline. – Mortimer J. Adler

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin

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

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. – Mahatma Gandhi

No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it”Paulo Coelho

Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. – Sigmund Freud

Quotes About Freedom

Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty. – Albert Einstein

I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit. – Theodore Roosevelt

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

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man presents his views without penalty there must be the spirit of tolerance in the entire population. – Albert Einstein

A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. – John Adams

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. – John F. Kennedy

All sentient beings should have at least one right—the right not to be treated as property. – Gary L. Francione

Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave. – Frederick Douglass

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties. – John Milton

If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. – George Washington

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. – John Stuart Mill

Today as always, men fall into two groups: slaves and free men. Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar. – Friedrich Nietzsche

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage. – Carrie Jones

The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. – Jim Morrison

Freedom lies in being bold. – Robert Frost

Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give life a meaning. – Jean-Paul Sartre

We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, for though others may free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is our only ruler; sovereign. – Marcus Garvey

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both at once. – Robert A. Heinlein

A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. – Jim Morrison

Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another. – Toni Morrison

Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path. – Carl Sagan

When I discover who I am, I’ll be free. – Ralph Ellison

Excess of liberty, whether it lies in state or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery. – Plato

We have to free half of the human race, the women, so that they can help to free the other half. – Emmeline Pankhurst

Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love – but sometimes it was so hard to love. – Yann Martel

If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life. – Bob Marley

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it. – Thomas Paine

Free societies are societies in motion, and with motion comes tension, dissent, friction. Free people strike sparks, and those sparks are the best evidence of freedom’s existence. – Salman Rushdie

The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty. – James Madison

Mankind only exiles the one whose large spirit rebels against injustice and tyranny. He who does not prefer exile to servility is not free in the true and necessary sense of freedom. – Kahlil Gibran

I prefer liberty with danger than peace with slavery. – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. – Kahlil Gibran

Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go […] and the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices. – Stephen King

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. – Abraham Lincoln

The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and to his fellowmen. – Robert Ingersoll

The true miracle lies in our eagerness to allow, appreciate, and honor the uniqueness, and freedom of each sentient being to sing the song of their heart. – Amit Ray

Freedom is something you assume, then you wait for someone to try to take it away. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free…”Utah Phillips

Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind. – John Milton

Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote. – Marvin Simkin

A man’s spirit is free, but his pride binds him with chains of suffocation in a prison of his own insecurities. – Jeremy Aldana

Liberty without learning is always in peril and learning without liberty is always in vain. – John F. Kennedy

It takes getting everything you ever wanted, and then losing it to know what true freedom is. – Lana Del Rey

Man cannot be freed by the same injustice that enslaved it. – Pierce Brown

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. – Thomas Jefferson

Books are like imprisoned souls till someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them. – Samuel Butler

It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly. – Bertrand Russell

Posterity! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. – John Adams

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. – Jim Morrison

You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him. – Booker T. Washington

Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man. – Bertrand Russell

There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. – Don Miguel Ruiz

Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?”Kurt Vonnegut

When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw. – Nelson Mandela

Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous. – Marie Rutkoski

I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. – Ronald Reagan

Forgetfulness is a form of freedom. – Kahlil Gibran

He who is brave is free. – Seneca

The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas – even if they are sincerely held beliefs – is one of the fundamental freedoms of society. – Rowan Atkinson

Even a second of freedom is worth more than a lifetime of bondage. – James Frey

Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities. – G.K. Chesterton

You say: I am not free. But I have raised and lowered my arm. Everyone understands that this illogical answer is an irrefutable proof of freedom. – Leo Tolstoy

To be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing; to give dominion of yourself to another is a wicked thing. – Toni Morrison

It is impossible to enslave, mentally or socially, a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom. – Horace Greeley

We feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom. – Slavoj Žižek

It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters. – Edmund Burke

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. – John Philpot Curran

Until every soul is freely permitted to investigate every book, and creed, and dogma for itself, the world cannot be free. – Robert G. Ingersoll

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. – Martin Luther King Jr.

I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom. – Noam Chomsky

The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free. – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom. – Søren Kierkegaard

Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last. – Martin Luther King Jr.

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. – Samuel Adams

I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. – Audre Lorde

Freedom is what we do with what is done to us. – Jean-Paul Sartre

Whoever will be free must make himself free. Freedom is no fairy gift to fall into a man’s lap. What is freedom? To have the will to be responsible for one’s self. – Max Stirner

Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be. – James Baldwin

Freedom is being you without anyone’s permission. – Anonymous

I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. – Thomas Jefferson

Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness. – Anonymous

Education is the key to unlock the golden door to freedom. – George Washington Carver

Freedom is never given; it is won. – A. Philip Randolph

A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom. – Bob Dylan

Freedom is found when we let go of who we’re supposed to be and embrace who we really are. – Anonymous

What then is freedom? The power to live as one wishes. – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Those who do not move, do not notice their chains. – Rosa Luxemburg

Live your dreams, and be free. – ATGW

Let go of your story so the universe can write a new one for you. – Marianne Williamson

Freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them each day anew. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Follow your dreams. or you’ll spend the rest of your life working for someone who did. – Anonymous

Be free. – ATGW

He who gives his freedom for safety gets none of them. – Thomas Jefferson

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. – Voltaire

On the other side of fear lies freedom. – Anonymous

There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. – Anonymous

Authentic freedom is actually the freedom of knowing who you are, why you are here, your purpose in life and where you are going when you leave here. – Wayne Dyer

Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free. – Anonymous

Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be? – Anonymous

Quotes About Freedom

  • 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)
  • Berdyaev makes an important distinction between two senses of the world freedom, between freedom as a means and freedom as an end. By the first we mean freedom to direct one’s own life, to choose between good and evil as one understands them; by the second the freedom which consists in liberation from one’s lower nature for the service of what is highest and best. As Berdyaev puts it, we mean by one and the same word “either that initial and irrational liberty which is prior to good and evil and determines their choice, or else that intelligent freedom which is our final liberty in truth and goodness.”
    • E. L. Allen, Freedom in God: A Guide to the Thought of Nicholas Berdyaev (1950)
  • 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.
    • Variant: I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies.
    • Aristotle, Quoted in Florilegium by Joannes Stobaeus
  • 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.
    • Mikhail Bakunin, “The Red Association” (1870)
  • 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.
    • Mikhail Bakunin, “La Commune de Paris et la notion de l’état” (The Commune of Paris and the notion of the state) as quoted in Noam Chomsky: Notes on Anarchism (1970)
  • 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.
    • Mikhail Bakunin, as quoted in Anarchism: From Theory to Practice, Daniel Guérin, New York: NY, Monthly Review Press (1970) p. 31
  • 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.
    • Ralph Austin Bard, United States Assistant Secretary of the Navy, speech to the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America, New York City, September 24, 1942. Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VII, pp. 21-23
  • Once you have caught a glimpse of freedom or experienced a bit of self-determination, you can’t go back to old routines that were established under a racist, capitalist regime.
    • Frances M. Beal, “Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female” (1969)
  • FREEDOM, n. Exemption from the stress of authority in a beggarly half dozen of restraint’s infinite multitude of methods. A political condition that every nation supposes itself to enjoy in virtual monopoly. Liberty. The distinction between freedom and liberty is not accurately known; naturalists have never been able to find a living specimen of either.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic’s Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil’s Dictionary (1911).
  • 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, 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, United States of Banana (2011)
  • “Freedom” was the watchword. “Free enterprise,” they meant, the men whose monopolies controlled the United States of America, the only interested parties in the business of being number one. It was in the name of freedom that surviving Nazis were employed by the U.S. government, and Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were burned at the stake of the state.
    • Elaine Brown, A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story (1992)
  • Partial freedom seems to me the most invidious form of slavery.
    • Edmund Burke, as quoted in “Is the Party Over?” (2017), by Daniel Ritchie, National Affairs
  • Freedom is not the possession of one race. We know with equal certainty that freedom is not the possession of one nation.
    • George W. Bush, Hope and Conscience Will Not Be Silenced (8 July 2003), speech at Goree Island, Senegal
  • Freedom honors and unleashes human creativity — and creativity determines the strength and wealth of nations.
    • George W. Bush, Address to the National Endowment for Democracy at the United States Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C. (6 November 2003)
  • 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.
    • George W. Bush, Address to the National Endowment for Democracy at the United States Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C. (6 November 2003)
  • We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.
    • George W. Bush, State of the Union address (31 January 2006), Washington, D.C.
  • 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.
    • George W. Bush, farewell speech to the nation (15 January 2009)
  • Freedom is a powerful force, but it does not advance on the wheels of historical inevitability.
    • George W. Bush, as quoted in “Bush Says U.S. Must Give Support to Democratic Revolutions” (15 May 2012), by Kate Andersen Brower, Bloomberg
  • Freedom is a universal human desire… and a force for peace and prosperity in the world… We hear you and we support your cause.
    • George W. Bush, “The Struggle for Human Rights and Human Freedom” (June 2013)
  • Hereditary bondsmen! Know ye not
    Who would be free themselves must strike the blow?

    • Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto II (1812), Stanza 76
  • Yet, Freedom! yet thy banner, torn, but flying,
    Streams like the thunder-storm against the wind.

    • Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto IV (1818), Stanza 98
  • 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.

    • William Ellery Channing, Spiritual Freedom (1830)
  • 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)
  • Capitalism is basically a system where everything is for sale, and the more money you have, the more you can get. And, in particular, that’s true of freedom. Freedom is one of the commodities that is for sale, and if you are affluent, you can have a lot of it. It shows up in all sorts of ways. It shows up if you get in trouble with the law, let’s say, or in any aspect of life… because that guarantees your freedom.
    • “Anarchism : Noam Chomsky interviewed by David Dobereiner, John Hess, Doug Richardson & Tom Woodhull” in: C. P. Otero (ed.), Language and Politics, Black Rose, 1988, pp. 166-196, (January 1974)
  • 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
  • A man is free when he sees clearly the fulfillment of his being and is thus capable of making the envisioned self a reality.
    • James Cone, Black Theology and Black Power (1969), p. 39
  • As long as man is a slave to another power, he is not free to serve God with mature responsibility. He is not free to become what he is—human.
    • James Cone, Black Theology and Black Power (1969), p. 39
  • Excepting those who see only a boisterous celebration, this macabre work [El entierro de la sardina] makes people uncomfortable. Malraux comments that the figures are not men and women in fancy dress, they are butterflies hatched for one brief moment from a larvel world, the revelation of freedom. Goya’s picture therefore symbolizes not a dream fulfilled so much as a desire to be free.
    You might think ironsmiths, bricklayers, stable hands, knife grinders, peasants, chambermaids, and others with little to lose would protest the heavy hand of El Deseado. Wrong. Spaniards trapped at birth at the bottom of the heap were fiercely conservative. As Klingender explains, the more these people suffered, “the more fanatical did they become in their loyalty to Church and crown, which they associated with their memories of a better life in the past.” They saw in Ferdinand the restoration of Spanish values.

    • Evan S. Connell, Francisco Goya (2005) p. 194.
  • 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)
  • While there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
    • Eugene V. Debs, Federal Court statement (1918)
  • 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)
  • Rendre l’homme infâme, et le laisser libre, est une absurdité qui peuple nos forêts d’assassins.
    • To brand man with infamy, and let him free, is an absurdity that peoples our forests with assassins.
      • Denis Diderot, as quoted in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
  • 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)
  • There is no concrete possibility at all of disengagement from social, political, and economic determinations. The only freedom man has is to recognize these and to recognize that he is determined by them. The first act of freedom is a recognition of necessity, not theoretically, but with a personal reference, and an attempt to put this recognition to work by trying to assess necessity, to discover its meaning and significance. To face up to the necessity that is seen at work in oneself, to perceive that I myself obey necessity, and to consider the implications of this—this act of recognition is an act of freedom.
    • Jacques Ellul, The Ethics of Freedom (1974), p. 44
  • 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.
    • Friedrich Engels, Anti-Dühring (1878)
  • 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
  • Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.
    • Benjamin Franklin in “On Freedom of Speech and the Press”, Pennsylvania Gazette (17 November 1737).
  • Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.
    • Benjamin Franklin Letter to the Abbés Chalut and Arnaud (17 April 1787).
  • 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.
    • Milton Friedman, From Created Equal, an episode of the PBS Free to Choose television series (1980, vol. 5 transcript)
  • 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
  • Truth is the ground and condition of freedom.
    • Robert P. George, Twitter post (1 January 2018)
  • 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.
    • To evolve we must be free, and we cannot have freedom if we are not rebels, because no tyrant whatsoever has respected passive people.
    • Práxedis Guerrero, Passivity and Rebellion (29 de Agosto 1909), Punto Rojo, N° 3, El Paso, Texas, translated by Javier Sethness-Castro. 
  • 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)
  • I am free! I have burst through my heavy chain,
    The life of young eagles is mine again!
    I may cleave with my bark the glad sounding sea,
    I may rove where the wind roves—my path is free!
    . . . . . . . .
    Free!—thou art bound, till thy race is run,
    By the might of all on the soul of one!
    On thy heart, on thy lip, must the fetter be—
    Dreamer, fond dreamer! oh! who is free?

    • Felicia Hemans, The Broken Chain , The Keepsake, 1829 (1828).
  • 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.
    • Eric Hoffer, Working and Thinking on the Waterfront : A Journal: June 1958-May 1959 (1969), Journal entry (28 March 1959)
  • 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.
    • Elbert Hubbard, in his essay on Booker T. Washington in Little Journeys For 1908, p. 21; Franklin D. Roosevelt later used this line on the occasion of the 74th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation: “In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved”.
  • Come all you true friends of the nation, attend to humanity’s call! Oh aid of the slaves’ liberation and roll on the liberty ball. We’ll finish the temple of freedom, and make it capacious within. That all who seek shelter may find it, whatever the hue of their skin. Success to the old fashioned doctrine, that men are created all free, and down with the power of the despot, wherever his stronghold may be. They’ll find what, by felling and mauling, our rail-maker statesman can do. For the people are everywhere calling, for Lincoln and Liberty too.
    • Jesse Hutchinson, “Lincoln and Liberty Too” (a campaign song supporting Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 U.S. presidential election).
  • The most effective way of gaining our freedom is not through violence.
    • Indian National Congress, “Independence Day Resolution,” January 20, 1930. Cited in The British Empire, ed. Jane Sampson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, (P.245-246)
  • If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
    • Jesus of Nazareth as quoted in John 8:31 (NIV)
    • Variant translation: Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
    • Jesus in John 8:31 (KJV)
  • 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.
    • Ji Seong-ho, interview
  • 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.
    • Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Fides et Ratio, 14 September 1998
  • One cannot restrain a dancing cow.
    • Arthur M. Jolly, in the play The Lady Demands Satisfaction, (2018)
  • 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.
    • Carl Jung, Paracelsus the Physician (1942)
  • 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.
    • Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Ethics by Immanuel Kant, trans. J.W. Semple, ed. with Iintroduction by Rev. Henry Calderwood (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886) (3rd edition). Chapter: GENERAL DIVISION OF JURISPRUDENCE.
  • Free, yes, but freedom well understood.
    • Silvia Elvira Martorell Kaswalder, Revista Primera Plana, 17 de agosto de 1965.
  • 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.
    • John F. Kennedy in his Address to the United Nations General Assembly (1961)
  • 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.
    • John F. Kennedy in his Address at the University of Washington’s 100th Anniversary Program (16 November 1961)
  • For to save mankind’s future freedom, we must face up to any risk that is necessary.
    • John F. Kennedy in his Address at the University of Washington’s 100th Anniversary Program (16 November 1961)
  • While we shall negotiate freely, we shall not negotiate freedom.
    • John F. Kennedy’s Address at the University of Washington’s 100th Anniversary Program (16 November 1961)
  • 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.
    • John F. Kennedy in his Radio and television address about the Cuban missile crisis (22 October 1962)
  • While we shall never weary in the defense of freedom, neither shall we ever abandon the pursuit of peace.
    • John F. Kennedy’s “Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union.,” January 14, 1963. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley
  • Only an educated and informed people will be a free people.
    • John F. Kennedy’s Remarks in Nashville at the 90th Anniversary Convocation of Vanderbilt University (18 May 1963)
  • This Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.
    • John F. Kennedy’s Civil Rights Address from the Oval Office on June 11, 1963
  • Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.
    • John F. Kennedy’s Ich bin ein Berliner (26 June 1963)
  • Ghana has something to say to us. It says to us first, that the oppressor never voluntarily gives freedom to the oppressed. You have to work for it. … Freedom is never given to anybody. For the oppressor has you in domination because he plans to keep you there, and he never voluntarily gives it up. And that is where the strong resistance comes. Privileged classes never give up their privileges without strong resistance.
    • Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Birth of a New Nation,” Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, April 7, 1957
  • Freedom only comes through persistent revolt, through persistent agitation, through persistently rising up against the system of evil.
    • Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Birth of a New Nation,” Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, April 7, 1957
  • 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.
    • Martin Luther King, Jr., about the phrase in War and Peace: “I cannot conceive of a man not being free unless he is dead.” Adress at the Fiftieth Anual NAACP Convention, 17 July 1959, New York
  • 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.
    • Alan Kors, as quoted in “College”, Bullshit! (2005), HBO
  • Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose
    Nothing ain’t worth nothing but it’s free

    • Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, “Me and Bobby McGee” (1969); phrased as “Freedom is another word for having nothing else to lose” by Clint Eastwood in “Go ahead God Make My day”, Interview by Martin Palmer for Live magazine, The Mail on Sunday (UK) newspaper (January 16 2011)
  • At times we see and struggle with our chain,
    And dream that somewhat we are freed, in vain;
    The mighty fetters close on us again.

    • Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Necessity, from Three Extracts from the Diary of a Week, The New Monthly Magazine, 1837.
  • 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
  • This is a world of compensation; and he would be no slave must consent to have no slaves. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.
    • Abraham Lincoln Letter to Henry L. Pierce (1859) Published in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (1953). Vol. 3, p. 374-376
  • 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
  • Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.
    • Nelson Mandela, refusing to bargain for freedom after 21 years in prison, as quoted in TIME (25 February 1985)
  • Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.
    • Nelson Mandela, The Struggle Is My Life (1990), p. 217.
  • There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.
    • Nelson Mandela, in Long Walk to Freedom (1995), page 31.
  • 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.

    • Nelson Mandela, in Long Walk to Freedom (1995), p. 404.
  • I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.
    • Nelson Mandela, in Long Walk to Freedom (1995), p. 404.
  • While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.
    • Nelson Mandela, Speech for the “Make Poverty History” campaign. Trafalgar Square, London (3 February 2005).
  • Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.
    • Nelson Mandela on leadership, Chief Albert Luthuli Centenary celebrations, Kwadukuza, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa (25 April 1998). Source: From Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorised Book of Quotations © 2010 by Nelson R. Mandela and The Nelson Mandela Foundation
  • Freedom is a more complex and delicate thing than force. It is not as simple to live under as force is.
    • Thomas Mann, attributed in “Quotations”. QFinance, the ultimate resource. London: Bloomsbury. 2009. p. 1821. ISBN 9781849300001.
  • La libertad es como la mañana. Hay quienes esperan dormidos a que llegue, pero hay quienes desvelan y caminan la noche para alcanzarla.
    • Freedom is like the morning. There are those who wait for it asleep, and there are others that stay awake and walk through the night to reach it.
    • Subcomandante Marcos, La revuelta de la memoria (1999), p. 165, Centro de Información y Análisis de Chiapas. [2]
  • 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.
    • W. Somerset Maugham,Of Human Bondage (1915) Ch. 23
  • Freedom’s just another word for one more way to get fucked.
    • Scott MacDonald, as “Officer Gerard” in Dexter (TV series) (2006)
  • 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
  • No one can define or measure justice, democracy, security, freedom, truth, or love. […] But if no one speaks up for them, if systems aren’t designed to produce them, if we don’t speak about them and point toward their presence or absence, they will cease to exist.
    • Donella Meadows, Thinking in Systems: A Primer, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008, page 176 (ISBN 9781603580557).
  • 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.
    • Wendy McElroy, XXX: A Woman’s Right to Pornography (1995), Chapter 4
  • 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.
    • Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club (2001), Chapter 15 “Freedoms”, opening paragraph. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, p. 409
  • 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.
    • John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667; 1674), Book III, line 99
  • America represents herself as a Christian nation. … They profess to be a friend and defenders of all peace-loving and freedom-loving people. The only people we really see that they want to be friends of are themselves and their kind. They are really sincere when they say that they are freedom-loving people. Above all, the White man the world over wants to be free to rule and dominate the aboriginal people.
    • Elijah Muhammad, Message to the Blackman (1965)
  • 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.
    • Jayaprakash Narayan, (during the height of the Emergency in India when Indira Gandhi proclaimed that ‘food is more important than freedom’), quoted in L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008) [3], also in Outlook India
  • 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
  • The fallacy is to believe that under a dictatorial government you can be free inside. Quite a number of people console themselves with this thought, now that totalitarianism in one form or another is visibly on the up-grade in every part of the world. Out in the street the loudspeakers bellow, the flags flutter from the rooftops, the police with their tommy-guns prowl to and fro, the face of the Leader, four feet wide, glares from every hoarding; but up in the attics the secret enemies of the regime can record their thoughts in perfect freedom—that is the idea, more or less.
    • George Orwell, As I Please,” Tribune (28 April 1944)
  • Freedom is slavery
    • George Orwell, a slogan of the dystopian state in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
  • Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.
    • Thomas Paine, as quoted in The Crisis No. IV (12 September 1777).
  • 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)
  • Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but having the right to do what we ought.
    • John Paul II, Apostolic Journey to the United States of America, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Sunday, 8 October 1995, Vatican Media.
  • Jehovah is the Spirit, and where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.
    • Paul of Tarsus, 2 Corinthians 3: 17
  • 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.”
    • Paul of Tarsus, Epistle to the Galatians 5:13-14 NIV
  • 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 Living1938-05-13
  • 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
  • Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.
    • Pericles, as quoted in Homage to Greece (1943)
  • I could tell you a long story (and you know it as well as I do) about what is to be gained by beating the enemy back. What I would prefer is that you should fix your eyes every day on the greatness of Athens as she realty is, and should fall in love with her. When you realize her greatness, then reflect that what made her great was men with a spirit of adventure, men who knew their duty, men who were ashamed to fall below a certain standard. If they ever failed in an enterprise, they made up their minds that at any rate the city should not find their courage lacking to her, and they gave to her the best contribution that they could. They gave her their lives, to her and to all of us, and for their own selves they won praises that never grow old, the most splendid of sepulchers — not the sepulchre in which their bodies are laid, but where their glory remains eternal in men’s minds, always there on the right occasion to stir others to speech or to action. For famous men have the whole earth as their memorial: it is not only the inscriptions on their graves in their own country that mark them out; no, in foreign lands also, not in any visible form but in people’s hearts, their memory abides and grows. It is for you to try to be like them. Make up your minds that happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.
    • Pericles, Quotes of Pericles, as recorded by Thucydides, in the History of the Peloponnesian War, Book 2, chapter 44: Funeral oration, as translated at “In Defense of Democracy”
      • Verse 4 is sometimes freely translated as The secret to happiness is freedom. And the secret to freedom is courage.
  • 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.
    • William Pitt the Younger, Speech in the House of Commons (18 November, 1783). Compare: “And with necessity, / The tyrant’s plea, / excus’d his devilish deeds”, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book iv, line 393
  • Is freedom dearer than life?
    or does it become easier to live
    when life becomes difficult?

    • Suman Pokhrel, Among freed Bonded-Labourers
  • 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.
    • Karl Popper in The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945), Vol. 2, Ch. 21 “An Evaluation of the Prophecy”
  • 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.
    • Wilhelm Reich, Response to the FDA’s Complaint for Injunction (22 February 1954)
  • Freedom does not apply only to the single practical intention of the individual act, but also to one’s fundamental option in life which exerts its influence on the single individual act.
    • Herman Reiners, Grundintention und sittliches Tun (Freiburg: Herder, 1966), p. 43
    • Translated by Maurice Eminyan in L. J. German (ed.), Controversies over the Separation of Jodie & Mary the Maltese Siamese Twins (Valletta: Progress Press, 2006), p. 50. Eminyan explains “fundamental option in life” as “deeper personal attitude to what is right and just” (p. 50).
  • 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.
    • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, Book I, Chapter 1
  • 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
  • The people owe all the political rights and privileges which we enjoy today in greater or lesser measure, not to the good will of their governments, but to their own strength.
    • Rudolf Rucker, Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practise
  • 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.

    • William Shakespeare, King Lear (1608), Act III, scene 4, line 11
  • When George Washington was fighting for freedom in the Revolutionary War, he was fighting for the freedom of “whites only.” Rich whites, at that. After the so-called Revolution, you couldn’t vote unless you were a white man and you owned a plot of land. The Revolutionary War was led by some rich white boys who got tired of paying heavy taxes to the king. It didn’t have anything at all to do with freedom, justice, and equality for all.
    • Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography, p. 33 (1988)
  • Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.
    • Assata Shakur, Assata: In Her Own Words
  • 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.
    • Charles Sumner in his The Crime Against Kansas speech (May 19-20, 1856)
  • You exist if and only if you are free to do things without a visible objective, with no justification and, above all, outside the dictatorship of someone else’s narrative.
    • Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (2010) Matters Ontological, p. 17.
  • Freedom for the pike is death for the minnows.
    • R. H. Tawney, Equality (London: 1938), Chapter 5, Section 2, p. 208
as cited by Isaiah Berlin in “Political Liberty and Pluralism: Two Concepts of Liberty,” The Proper Study Of Mankind: An Anthology of Essays, p. 196

also often quoted as “Freedom for the pike is death to the minnow.”
  • 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
  • I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.
    • Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Volume I (1835), Chapter XV
  • In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.
    • Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Volume I (1835), Chapter XV
  • America was founded on liberty and independence – not government coercion, domination and control. We were born free, and will stay free, as long as I am your President!
    • Donald Trump, twitter, 5:05 AM · Oct 17, 2019
  • I freed thousands of slaves. I could have freed thousands more, if they had known they were slaves.

Attributed to Harriet Tubman in Dorothy Winbush Riley, My Soul Looks Back ‘Less I Forget p. 148 (1993).

  • Pro libertate
    • “For freedom” or “For liberty”
    • Motto of the clan Wallace (also reputed to be the last words of William Wallace)
  • Dico Tibi Verum, Libertas Optima Rerum: Nunquam Servili Sub Nexu Vivito, Fili
    • My Son, Freedom is best, I tell thee true, of all things to be won. Then never live within the Bond of Slavery.
      • William Wallace, as quoted in William Wallace, Guardian of Scotland (1948) by Sir James Fergusson, p. 4
  • In any country, regardless of what its laws say, wherever people act upon the idea that the disadvantage of one man is the good of another, there slavery exists. Wherever, in any country the whole people feel that the happiness of all is dependent upon the happiness of the weakest, there freedom exists.
    • Booker T. Washington, Address on Abraham Lincoln before the Republican Club of New York City, February 12, 1909, in Booker T. Washington Papers, Volume 10: 1909-1911, p. 35
  • 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
  • [I]f they do not have virtue enough to support the most Glorious Cause ever human beings were engaged in, they don’t deserve the blessings of freedom.
    • William Whipple, as quoted in “William Whipple” (11 December 2011), The Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence
  • 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.
    • Robert Anton Wilson, in Schrödinger’s Cat Trilogy : The Trick Top Hat (1979)
  • 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.
    • Malcolm X, Speech in Cleveland, Ohio (3 April 1964)
  • 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.
    • Malcolm X, Speech at Cory Methodist Church, Cleveland, Ohio (3 April 1964)
  • 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.
    • Malcolm X, Speech at the Congress for Racial Equality, in Detroit, Michigan (12 April 1964)
  • 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.”
    • Slavoj Žižek, “The True Hollywood Left” (2007)
  • Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.
    • Kris Kristofferson, “Me and Bobby McGee”
  • Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
    Mother earth will swallow you
    Lay your body down

    • Stephen Stills in “Find The Cost Of Freedom” on 4 Way Street (1970) by Crosby
  • 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.

    • Pete Townshend, in “I’m Free” on Tommy by The Who
  • 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

    • Joss Whedon, “The Ballad of Serenity” theme to Firefly, performed by Sonny Rhodes
  • Believe in all the good things you keep inside
    There is no freedom in life without freedom of mind.

    • Jeremy Enigk, in “Sinatra” by The Fire Theft
  • 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 PrayerCollect 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 SongsSound 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 OtisThe 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
    Fallen Kosciusco.

    • 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.

    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, Act V, scene 6
  • 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
  • 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.
    • Abraham Lincoln, private conversation (January 1862)
  • …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 VersesTo 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
  • 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
  • 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.

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