About liberty

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 3, 2002

As we celebrate our nation’s birth today and all that it represents, it’s appropriate that we ponder our liberty. Some famous quotations on the subject are listed below:

&uot;They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. &uot;

– Benjamin Franklin

Email newsletter signup

&uot;Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.&uot;

– Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, approved by the National Assembly of France, Aug. 26, 1789

&uot;In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.&uot;

– Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)

&uot;Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.&uot;

– P.J. O’Rourke

&uot;One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.&uot;

– Plato

&uot;It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.&uot;

– John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Right of Election, 1790. (Speeches. Dublin, 1808.)

&uot;God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.&uot;

– Daniel Webster

&uot;Oh, my countrymen! What will our children say, when they read the history of these times? Should they find we tamely gave away without one noble struggle, the most invaluable of earthly blessings? As they drag the galling chain, will they not execrate us? If we have any respect for things sacred; any regard to the dearest treasures on earth; if we have one tender sentiment for posterity; if we would not be despised by the whole world – let us in the most open, solemn manner, and with determined fortitude, swear we will die, if we cannot live free men!&uot;

– Josiah Quincy Jr., 1788, published in the Boston Gazette.

&uot;The whole of the Bill of Rights is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals. It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.&uot;

– Albert Gallatin of the New York Historical Society, Oct. 7, 1789

&uot;Aware of the tendency of power to degenerate into abuse, the worthies of our country have secured its independence by the establishment of a Constitution and form of government for our nation, calculated to prevent as well as to correct abuse.&uot;

– Thomas Jefferson to Washington Tammany Society, 1809.